Gather round, cosplay fans. This is an interview you won’t want to miss – our first feature interview with a male cosplayer. In the largely female-dominated field of cosplay, we were very excited to get time with the astoundingly talented Nipah! We dig into his love for the art, hobbies and advice for those new to cosplay.AiPT!: When you aren’t at Overwatch headquarters, where can we find you?

Nipah: I am originally from Orlando, Florida, though at the moment I live in Texas.

AiPT!: How are you spending your time when you aren’t cosplaying?

Nipah: I actually run a commission store for wigs and occasionally props, so cosplay is still a part of what I do even when I am not working on my own cosplays. Though when I want to take a break from it entirely, I usually am playing video games, Overwatch is the one I play mostly nowadays.

AiPT!: Tell us about the moment you knew you wanted to try cosplay.

Nipah: When I first started cosplaying, I wasn’t all too sure what it was to be honest! I learned about it thanks to a friend who told me in order to get into a convention you had to wear a cosplay, if you didn’t they wouldn’t allow you to enter. So, thanks to her I made my first cosplay, Dark Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. After making that, it was all downhill from there and I stumbled into the cosplay crazed person I am today.AiPT!: How long have you been cosplaying?

Nipah: I have been cosplaying since 2010, so for a little over seven years now.

AiPT!: Growing up, was nerd culture something you’ve always found yourself drawn to?

Nipah: Oh yeah, definitely. My uncle would watch Dragon Ball Z all the time and that was my first introduction to anime. From there, I picked up some DC comics and got really submersed into that fandom/universe as well. Cosplay then became a way for me to fully express my love for all things in this vast spectrum of nerd culture.

AiPT!: When someone says the word “cosplay,” what does that mean to you?

Nipah: Cosplay is one of the greatest art forms, in my opinion. From crafting, designing, to the moment you are walking around in the finished product, you are walking art. It helps you escape the nuances of everyday life and lets you become your character. It is an amazing thing that has transformed my life in so many ways.

AiPT!: On average, how much time would you say you invest into each cosplay?

Nipah: It all depends on what the cosplay is, honestly. If it is just a simple full fabric work, I can usually get it done in a few days. If it is highly detailed with armor and embroidery and crazy wigs, then that’ll take me a few months. I try to space out my time when working on cosplays as to not get too overloaded with work.

AiPT!: Is sacrificing your own comfort something that occurs during your creation process?

Nipah: Oh yeah, all the time. I have made quite a few cosplays that were impossible to sit in or just were hard to move in, in general, but I am a stickler for trying to get it as accurate as I can, so I gladly sacrifice my own comfort for the sake of this insane hobby.

AiPT!: What was your most ambitious cosplay?

Nipah: Most likely Bird Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. I had no idea how to go about it and I had a couple weeks to finish him, it was crazy. I made my own harness, made wings for the first time, made a body suit of feathers and fur. I am very happy though for the challenge it presented and it helped me grow as a crafter.AiPT!: Are you in the camp of cosplayers who not only wear the cosplay but also play the character?

Nipah: I am not the type to get into character while cosplaying, I just see it as less welcoming, rather than just being myself to people. I want them to know me, not the character cause most likely they already know the character pretty well. Only time I would get into character is for photos or the occasional video.

AiPT!: Very few men are known as being famous in the cosplay scene, while comparatively it’s the complete opposite with women. Do you think it’s harder for men to be recognized for being great cosplayers?

Nipah: For a while, cosplay was a female-dominated hobby and while the amount of men are increasing this is still kind of the case. It is widely accepted for female cosplayers to cosplay male characters so they have a wider pool of people to cosplay as well. Not saying men can’t cosplay girl characters, just that the amount willing to are immensely smaller compared vise versa. A lot of male cosplayers years back also used to only do armor work or props, not a lot of them sewed so that also limited their choices on characters. Though as cosplay has grown, so have the people who cosplay and many guys are sewing, doing makeup and doing everything the girls have been doing for years. It can be harder, yes, though we are quickly catching up.

AiPT!: What advice would have you for someone that has no experience with crafts, sewing or costume making whatsoever?

Nipah: Tutorials are everywhere nowadays. You can find a video on how to do anything needed for cosplay or even a simple write-up on how to. The knowledge to accomplish what you want to do is out there, it is up to you to obtain it. Every cosplayer you see started off where you are now, not knowing how to do anything, so get started now, make mistakes, learn from them and grow as a cosplayer! If this is something you want to do, don’t let anyone stop you from trying.AiPT!: What’re you looking forward to in 2017?

Nipah: I look forward to advancing further in my craft, I want to do my armor work and bigger projects. Work on some original designs and just expand my horizon on all things cosplay. I’ve got a list of projects to do and my goal is to bring them all to life.

Find Nipah online here:

@nipahcos – instagram

@nipahDUBS – twitter

facebook.com/nipahdubs

nipahdubs@gmail.com