Ashley Spence (AKA Sachiko Yumi) has been cosplaying since 2007 where she attended the London MCM Expo as Gunner Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2). Ashley has a great amount of skill when it comes to making costumes, having made detailed dresses such as Zelda (Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) as well as beautifully crafted armour with her Lightning cosplay (Final Fantasy XIII).
Q: Hi Ashley, Thanks for agreeing to participate in this interview. Firstly, could you let me know what cosplay means to you?
Ashley: It allows me to dress up and be someone I’m not. Essentially bring a character to life all the while doing something I enjoy and love.
Q: What was it that made you want to start cosplaying?
Ashley: Browsing YouTube when I was younger I came across some skits of cosplayers ‘acting’ like the characters or doing segments from the game/anime/movie. Kids always love to dress up so I immediately looked it up and found it was called cosplay. I ended up buying a few costumes from the internet until I decided take my hand at trying to make my own. I discovered a passion for it and 26 costumes down the line I’m still going.
Q: Do you prefer making your costumes to buying them?
Ashley: Most definitely, I’ve only bought one costume and that was alright but you can never whack making your own.
Ashley: I prefer the wig styling and prop making. Prop making is really interesting and you learn so many new skills out by doing so. Wig styling… well I love messing around with hair so it’s fun to be creative and even better when taking on a big wig project.
Q: What have been the hardest challenges you have come across and explain how you overcame them?
Ashley: Wig’s that have to be tied up into ponytails or armour. I got over the wig situation by looking into wigs a bit more, realising that to make a wig go up into a ponytail the weaves had to go up as well and not down like they originally do. So I did that, unpicking the wig and sewing it back up the way it needed to be. Results were as good as I had hoped and it was kind of rewarding to know a new technique.
Armour, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Tackling armour was hard to get the hang of at first, being it had to fit your body and getting something straight to bend to the shape you want isn’t as easy as it looks. But by practicing I got there in the end, now I have the hang of it (to some extent).
Q: What advice do you have for those wanting to start making cosplays?
Ashley: Advice I’d give to those who are wanting to start cosplay is to not take it too seriously. If you can’t get something right or you’re not sure on how to do something, then that will always come with practice and also to use the internet for ANY questions you have on materials or tutorials. Overall cosplay is a hobby you can excel in but also have fun while doing so.
Q: How do you learn the skills needed to make cosplay?
Ashley: A lot of it is due to the internet, trial and error and asking about things I’m unsure about. But most is due to personal experience. Even though this is the case, I did study Fashion and Textiles for a year which did help me a tad when working with material.
Q: Would you like to progress a career in costume making or do you see it as just a hobby?
Ashley: I would love to pursue a career in costume making or some other aspect involving cosplay, but for now it still remains a hobby!
Q: Are you attending MCM Expo in October? And if so, what are your cosplay plans for it?
Ashley: I sure am attending MCM Expo in October! My plans were originally; Friday – Porrim Maryam from Homestuck, Saturday – Liara T’soni from Mass Effect 3 and Sunday – Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
Q: Do you have a dream cosplay? And if so, what is it?
Ashley: My dream cosplay would most likely by Liara from Mass Effect, although they come and go. Yuna used to be my first, then it was Lightning and now Liara. I guess I’ve never really had a set dream cosplay.
Thank you Ashley for giving us the chance to interview you and we’ll see you at the next London MCM Expo in October.