Cosplay isn’t always a full-time job. Some do it for fun: Engineers, Teachers, Studio employees, the list goes on. I’m happy to have found this cosplayer and am intrigued by her day job: Irene, the Cosplay Counselor.
Please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name’s Irene and I’m a credentialed school counselor who loves to play dress up. During the day I work at a comprehensive high school in Southern California guiding students with their college and career endeavors. On the side I share all the same tips and advice through YouTube along with my cosplay adventures.
What are some random things that people should know about you?
I trained with the Beijing Dance Academy and was the youngest in my cohort of Chinese dance teachers to earn the teacher’s certification. I also have a voracious appetite, but don’t drink coffee – the sustenance of life for many teachers, but not my cup of tea. *wink*
How far do you go into researching a character you would like to cosplay? Like, is an image and basic background enough, or do you prefer that you’ve watched/read about the character in context of the story?
I generally cosplay characters who I feel a special connection to and there’s something magical about characters in the 90’s.
Growing up both my parents worked, so as a latch-key kid I would watch cartoons afterschool to keep me out of trouble. These “babysitters” included the Justice League, the Sailor Scouts, Pokemon trainers etc. and I always admired their confidence, and bravery in standing up for what’s right. Suffice to say, they were my role models and I wanted to be just like them when I grew up – so it seemed natural for me to cosplay as my favorite heroes.
Recently, I started branching out to villains, princesses, and genderbending characters whose stories I relate to in some fashion. To me if you love the character you should bring him/her to life ☺
What does “cosplay” mean to you and what is your favorite part of it?
Cosplay is a creative outlet to be someone else and I absolutely love that this is an automatic connector in making friends. When you dress-up and see someone else in your “universe” you already have common ground. I’ve gotten to meet so many incredible people from all walks of life and sometimes even the companies (including media giants DC Comics and Marvel) who made these characters take notice too! I’ve been featured on TV, attended red carpet events, and done photo shoots with celebrities! Suffice to say cosplay has given me some incredible perks!
Are there any other cosplayers that you really admire?
My goodness! There are so many! I love my Sailor Moon group (IG Handles): @erikagamisews (Moon), @sailorjull (Venus), @lunaticcosplay (Jupiter), @whitereflection (Mercury). Each girl has impeccable craftsman-ship and truly embodies their Sailor Senshi. We were going to debut together at AX 2020, but the magical girls will come together when it’s safe to do so.
I also love my My Hero Academia Group (IG Handles): @actcostumes (Uraraka), @kishidou (Shoto), @acc_photo_art (Koda), @shotsfiredbyjimmyolsen (Denki), @avo.cos (Jiro), @tenya.cos (Iida), @ariem._.cosplay (Deku), and @chaton_rouge_cosplay (Bakugo) – their cosplays are so on point and more importantly, I think their heart in bringing joy to other really shines through. We did some plus-ultra collaborations to celebrate the Class of 2020 and I hope you’ll all check it out!