Annjela Saet hit the ground running with cosplay. Within a year of her debut on the scene she’d already been featured on MTV.com and won first place in a costume contest. AiPT! caught up with the stunningly beautiful and incredibly talented cosplayer to talk about her passion for the art, how she got started, what helps motivate her and her arch nemesis, green candy!

AiPT!: Let’s start out by finding out where you’re from and how you spend your time when you aren’t cosplaying.

AS: I’m from the Southern California area, but I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada. I moved to the area as someone who was very new to cosplay. I started cosplay maybe around a year or so ago. Ever since then things have really taken off on Instagram and things like that.

I graduated from college with a major in entertainment design, I was very much an art student and spent a lot of time drawing. Since graduating I’ve been working as a makeup artist.

AiPT!: Tell me about the experience where you were first exposed to cosplay. What lead to you wanting to try it for yourself?

AS: I love telling this story! In high school I had two best friends and we’d dress up together every year for the Halloween contest. We’d go all out with groups costumes; Ash, Brock and Misty or Snap, Crackle and Pop. So senior year came around and my friends didn’t want to do it anymore. I was super into it and wanted to go out with a bang and my friends just didn’t want to do it. So I said, “Fine I’ll do it myself!”. At the time I was super obsessed with Avatar, specifically Korra. So I did some googling and I came across aicosu, who are an amazing cosplay couple, Sheila and Sylar. In the picture I found of them, they were dressed as Avatar Korra and Tahno. When I saw her I said to myself “Oh my god. I want to be that!” So I’d messaged Sheila on Tumblr and through talking to her she kinda segued me into what cosplay is.

After that I made my first cosplay and it was Avatar Korra. I had a photographer friend so I did a photoshoot for it and posted it online. Soon after that it was published on MTV.com and I couldn’t believe it. My first photoshoot ever and I made cosplay of the month. I was on such a high from that and I immediately wanted to do another cosplay. Since then I’ve never stopped.

AiPT!: Everyone that cosplays are always looking for ways to save money, find the best tools to craft with and tips and tricks for creating new and exciting cosplays. If you could share one piece of knowledge on this subject that you feel would benefit other cosplayers the most, what would it be?

AS: I’d have to say for anyone that’s starting off in cosplay, the most important thing to remember is everything most cosplayers learn comes from online. Cosplay is accessible for anyone who wants to get started. If you want to be Goku all you need to do is google “How to cosplay as Goku” and you’ll find countless resources online. I’ve learned everything I know from YouTube, asking questions on DeviantART and asking questions on cosplay.com. When you interact with the cosplay community you’ll find that they’re incredibly resourceful, open and happy to share everything they’ve learned.

A big mentor for me when I was first getting started was Kamui cosplay. I would ask her everything and I learned so much from her tutorials. It’s important to remember that when you first get started with cosplay, you aren’t alone. Everyone in the community is your best friend.

AiPT!: Out of all the characters you’ve cosplayed as, which one do you align with the most from a personality standpoint?

AS: That’s such a hard question because I feel like I relate in some way to every character I’ve cosplayed as. There’s a different side of myself that speaks to all these characters. At the time that I cosplayed as Korra I felt like I really embodied her because I was trying something new and I wanted to be confident and strong. Princess Daisy I felt a little bit sassy and that’s definitely a part of myself. Darksiders Morrigan was a sensual side of myself–I love feeling sexy and that’s what that character spoke to. I don’t think I’ve ever done a cosplay where I don’t relate to the character somehow.

The only way I can go through the long hours of crafting something is if I love it. Cosplay is a very passionate hobby that’s about not just loving the character but accomplishing something for yourself. You have to love it or you won’t finish it. That’s part of why I love it so much, seeing how excited and passionate people are about what they’re doing.

AiPT!: Would you call yourself a big gamer? Comic book fan? Anime fan? Tell us about your biggest geek passion and why it’s important to you.

AS: I would say I started off as a video game person. I didn’t get into comics until recently. I didn’t get into anime until high school. I started off playing with the NES and N64.

AiPT!: Favorite video game of all time?

AS: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

AiPT!: People come out of their shell at cons and you see a lot of things you won’t see anywhere else. What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had at a con?

AS: The first thing that came to mind wasn’t even really that weird, mainly because I was so in awe. So it wasn’t the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a con but it was the most amazing thing. A cosplayer was dressed as Fiddlesticks from League of Legends and the first thing that came to mind when I saw them was “Oh my god that’s utterly amazing”. They were up on these giant stilts, had nailed the personality, the costume and it was just so incredible.

AiPT!: If time and money weren’t a concern, what would be your ultimate cosplay?

AS: I love this question! I would be dressed as a priest in tier 5 armor from World of Warcraft. Some day I’ll wear it to Blizzcon and my life will be complete after that [laughs].

AiPT!: Is there a quote or piece of life advice that’s stuck with you over the years?

AS: The first one that comes to mind is by one of my favorite motivational speakers named Matthew Hussey; he’s kind of like a life coach. He once had a quote, I don’t know if it originated from him, but that’s where I heard it: “It takes real passion to finish something, while it only takes a novelty to start something”. This is something I relate heavily to because it’s easy to start a cosplay, but it takes real dedication and character to finish it. My cosplays don’t have to be perfect, if I finish them then that’s enough of an accomplishment.

AiPT!: I’m honest enough with myself to recognize that I’m a total weirdo. It turns out there nearly everyone is! What’s one quirk or habit you have that falls into the weird category that people may not know about?

AS: [laughs] I never eat green candy. If I’m eating a bag of Skittles I’ll never eat the green ones. Sour Patch Kids? Nope, never eat the green ones.

AiPT!: The green Sour Patch Kids are the best ones!

AS: No! Green candy is evil. Gross! Watermelon and apple candy is disgusting. Never eat green candy. Never. Nope. That’s my weirdness.

AiPT!: What’re you most looking forward to in 2017?

AS: I feel like it already happened. We’re already half way through the year. The thing I was most anticipating was Anime Expo, which is basically the biggest convention for the west coast next to San Diego Comic Con. I would hope that at some point this year I could go to a con that’s out of states or out of country.

Here’s where you can find Anngela online:

Instagram: @annjelife
Facebook: facebook.com/annjelifecosplay
DeviantART: Annjelife.deviantart.com