I met Federica 'virtually' through facebook thanks to a common friend who also loves cosplay. I was lucky to be able to attend this year's edition of Etna Comics during which Federica di Nardo was a guest judge for the Cosplay Competition that lasted for 5 hours! This year Federica was invited over to the Malta Comic Con to be one of the judges of our Cosplay Competition too apart from giving a talk about her Cosplay Experience and meeting her fans.
How did you become involved in cosplay in the first place? What did you family and friends say?
Well it's almost 6 years since I've started to Cosplay ... thanks to this fantastic and creative hobby I've met many amazing people, I've visisted many places, going from a part to another one of Italy, I've felt incredible happines that today , when I think about the beginning of this "career", makes me feel nostalgic... and it started like a game! I went to a Convention with a friend and we fell in love with the Cosplay World ... at first my parents thought it was something very strange... but then they understood how much efforts I wanted to put into Cosplay... and today they're my best supporters... they follow me in cosplay conventions, especially my father... His dream to have a daughter who can use a drill and some wood boards came true with cosplay... he loves to help me with my accessories :P
I know you get asked this question a lot but... what does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is my way to express Art. I consider it my most important passion, and I can't miss a convention or a cosplay related event...
To me cosplay is fun, cosplay is laughing, to stay awake in the night to make preparations and complete the costumes... It gives to me many satisfactions... I met many people who share my same passions, I became proud of something I created with my own hands, I learnt many things about materials and fabrics and, last but not least, I won many awards for my costumes!
How do you go about choosing your next cosplay costume? Do you choose according to the costume appearance or the character?
Usually I like to challenge myself in difficult and detailed costumes, So I tend to choose ultra-complicated things... but I pay much attention to the appearance of the character, because I want to fit perfectly the costume and I also want to "feel" the character I'm interpreting.
How important is make up for a cosplay?
It's super Important! A good make up is essential to enhance your look and to make you more beautiful! I enjoy very much preparing make up, I like to mix the colors and to try to imagine how I can manage to be more similar to the character... it's a fun challenge!
Are you a self-thought seamstress? How long does it take you to 'create' a cosplay costume?
Yeah, I'm self-thought. Well, the secret is...try, try, try... and try! After many mistakes then you will surely learn something :P
Which is your favourite cosplay costume thus far and why? Which is your least favourite?
Every Costume is special, because every character I choose it's a character I love.. but if I have to pick one, then I think I'll definitely say Silmeria, from Valkyrie Profile: it was my first try with an armour and I really didn't know where to start, so it was a long and hard work for this super challenging costume... I can still remember how many times I had to redo some parts from the start... but it was fun and in the end I was sooo satisfied with how it turned out! My least favourite costumes are the first ones I made back when I started Cosplay... after six years of Cosplay I would make them in a very different way.
Do you do cosplay commissions? Do you sell some of your past costumes?
No, because I don't have the time... I'm very busy between Cosplay, university and Private life, so I wouldn't be able to do Cosplay Commissions.. and I do not intend to sell my past costumes, because I'm very attached to my precious treasures.
Some people struggle when they have to choose a cosplay costume. What do you suggest are the steps needed for someone to choose a cosplay costume? What should they consider?
First of all you have to consider your ability in sewing and in prop making... better to make something simple but perfect . Then I think it's very important to look like the character.. so the physical resemblance makes a good Cosplay... and last but not least a good make up can really make the difference.
Cosplay props require a wide range of materials to make. Which is your favourite material to work with and why?
I love to work with Forex , a thermoplastic material. It's very manageable and the surface is very smooth, so when you paint it you have a really good effect and moreover you can use various types of glue, and fold it in the way you prefer.
Cosplay costumes require a lot of up-keeping, especially the wigs. Any suggestions on how to keep our wigs untangled?
I keep my wigs in a huge box, each one of them it's in her paper box with her hairnet...and after using wigs I usually brush them slowly and with care. For the longer wigs I bought a hair-spray on the Internet... a useful tip to protect your wigs.
Which costumes are you planning for the future? Which costumes you would never imagine wearing?
For the moment I'm focusing on University.. but In March I will show up with a new project, a character from Sakizou's artworks, beautiful and very detailed costumes.. I can't wait to start creating! Don't know, I do not tend to exclude anything :P
How long does it take you to prepare for a cosplay competition (as in dressing up etc...)?
It depends on the costume I'm wearing, but usually I need at least 1 hour: dressing up, putting on my makeup, fixing my wig, fixing and checking my accessories... and then ordering the thing in my luggage. It's a tiring work, but I'm a perfectionist and I can't stand to be messy.
You've won various awards as well as been on a judging panel for lots of cosplay competitions. When you judge a cosplayer, especially with a skit, how much does 'effort' weigh at end of the judging process?
Well you know... it's not possible to value "effort" in a objective way, so I tend to judge what I see, paying attention to the costume but also to the skit and to the interpretation, which are very important parts. Usually I prefer a simpler but perfect costume instead of something very difficult and huge but not so well made.
What do you think are the qualities that make up a 'good cosplayer'?
Ability with Cosmaking, ability with Make up, ability to perform on the stage and to act in front of the camera... and the ability to be able to Cosplay different kinds of characters.
Do you have a favourite cosplayer?
I do not have a favourite Cosplayer, but I admire works I see during conventions.. I'm a very curious person, so it happens to me to ask for questions about the making of a single part, or maybe about the materials that person has used to create a certain weapon..yeah, I tend to ask a lot, and to observe a lot.
Do you prefer solo cosplay or group cosplay? Why?
I love both, but they are two different things. I like the solo because the attention is focused up on you.. you are the only "main hero" and it's very challenging for yourself. But I cosplayed in a few groups like Valkyrie Profile and Street Fighter!
Groups are numerous and soo funny, especially if there are friends and people who you respect as person and as cosplayers!
Do you think you will still be a cosplayer 10 years from now?
Who Can tell :P
What are you expecting from the Malta Comic con 2012?
I'm sure it will be a great experience... Fabulous ! :P And I'm very glad because Malta Comic Con will give me the chance to travel and share my passion and my experiences with a lot of new friends... Can't wait! So...see you at Malta :)