Interview with Venus Lim
This is Venus Lim signing in. I was born and raised in one of the tropical countries, Malaysia. Currently reside in Singapore as a healthcare provider. A lover of felines, my mother and I keep 15 cats mainly rescued from car accidents, drowning and abuse. Despite popping up regularly at events, I am actually a rather introverted person and a bit shy when it comes to crowds. Being a believer of ‘Knowledge is Power’ and ‘Education Changes Life’, I spent most of my teenage years eating books. I had little social life back then hence the dull personality at times ><
I’ve been a fan of cosplay since I was in high school. However, I only started cosplaying back in 2009, motivated by a kick in the back from a fellow cosplayer. It started off as a hobby and now, it has became a passion. I hand sewn my first costume and I intend to keep it that way In 3 years time, I’ve done 27 projects excluding five original characters (Lynas, Vengeance Doll, Assassin, Dutchess and Red Lady) and a not-so-successful crossplay (Grell Sutcliff).
I am currently running a book club online: https://www.facebook.com/groups/229437523753694/ and organizing a year end cosplay event for the third time: https://www.facebook.com/events/341332339269654/ Other than that, I am pretty much preoccupied with my work and costume making.
Cosplay aside, I enjoy singing and ballet which I must admit I couldn’t do either. Hence, I spend most of my free time doodling and making handcraft stuff (bookmarks, keychain, tiny pouch, greeting cards, accessories et cetera…) I play the guitar a tad bit but after all these years of leaving my guitar in the store room to be manifested by dust, I wondered how well I will do now.
Some of my cosplay achievement in chronology, given my memory doesn’t fail me:
Enma Ai (Jigoku Shoujo) featured in MyTeruTeruBozu magazine (cover girl). Yuko Ichihara (XXXHolic) champion in Nips Crazy Challenge. Sumire Kanzaki (Sakura Wars) runner up in Anicom. Organized Christmas Cosplay Ball 2010.
Ashura (RG Veda) featured in Faces magazine. Ashura (RG Veda) champion in Hari Belia Cosplay Event. Cosplay judge for GAMP 2011. Milia Rage (Guilty Gear X) runner up in HELP Games. Quistis Trepe (FF8) Champion for Anicom. Isis (Ouke no Monshou) Malaysia rep for AFA. Delphine (DOD) champion for Comic Fiesta 2011. Featured cosplayer in MAGSEVEN media interview. Organized Christmas Cosplay Ball 2011: Four Season.
Princess Kakyuu featured as daily deviation in Deviantart.com. Cosplay Judge for Perak Youth Jam.
Venus, it is a pleasure to meet you. You call yourself Venus Lim. Are you named after Sailor Venus by any chance? Were you a big fan of anime when you were young?
You being the first few to have inferred it correctly. Sailormoon was my first anime (Doraemon and Shin Chan aside) back in 1998. I was very much absorbed with Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and later part, adopted the name Venus. I was a fervent follower and adorer of Sailor Venus back then. She inspired me to start drawing manga.
Why were you hesitant to start cosplaying and what did your friend say to you to convince you to try?
I wasn’t hesitant but rather, unsure of how to go about it. I didn’t know where to get the costumes and wigs. Sewing never crossed my mind till later in 2009 when I realize the costumes being sold online are too expensive. Besides, I didn’t have anyone who shared the same interest back then. I wasn’t motivated to do it alone. In 2009, met a few friends in varsity who speak of cosplay. I was then introduced to Comic Fiesta Forum where meet cosplayers and get more info/resources. I will always regard the forum as my…Genesis
What is cosplaying like in Malaysia?
Cosplay has been growing fast for the past two to three years. The amount of new cosplayers bloomed is amazing. The number of events involving cosplay has increased vastly as well. Nevertheless, there are individuals or non-cosplay organizers who attempt to exploit this ‘current interest’. The public generally accepts the culture well although there are some extremists who still regard this hobby negatively. The current trend is Vocaloids. Though few, but the prop-makers here are admirable generally, we have cosplayers from every states but the central of the activity is mainly distributed to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.
One of your more impressive cosplays is your Yuuko Ichihara which I understand won you a trip. Can you tell us a little about making the costume and the competition?
The costume I used for preliminary round is the Witch Dimension version. That is my very first costume, completely hand sewn. It was one of my first few competition which I didn’t know what to expect. I composed a simple BGM, sound effect, voice over and went in the assistant of Mokona, a soft toy >< for the final, I chose the elaborate Victorian Riding version of hers. It is hand sewn as well, completed within a week. This round, I get the assistant from two of my closest cosplay friends, Yukito and Marianne. We met up several times for practice and they were really supportive, putting up with my crazy ideas and expectations. Glad to say it went well and the judges enjoyed our skit
One of your more recent cosplays is Umi Ryuuzaki from Magic Knight Rayearth. What were some of the difficulties in making this costume?
Umi Ryuuzaki’s Celestial Version is a semi armor sort of costume. It was my first attempt on such project as my previous costumes are mainly cloth based. It was difficult for me to draft out the entire costume as that version has little reference pictures. I was in dilemma choosing the materials too since I have no experience in this. Nevertheless, I managed it after several trials and errors. I would say the most tricky part is making the gems from resin. It was painfully tedious and messy for me!
What are some of your favorite cosplays you have done?
Hmm…favourite cosplay has to be Li Mei Ling from Card Captor Sakura and Noelle Borr from Trinity Blood. It was really fun to play those characters but my favourite costume has to be Siela’s (Chaos Legion) and Delphine (Dream of Dolls). I love the sets of Isis and Carol from Ouke no Monshou too. I love every piece of the accessories I made although few notice or appreciate small props as such.
You hand make your own costumes. How did you learn your sewing skills?
I would say trial and errors. I had my basic sewing lesson back in high school (making mittens/pillow case). Recalling those teachings and supplemented with sewing books, I managed some. It was only after several lessons with my cousin sister Sera (make-up artist, designer and tailor), I began to pick up the essential parts of patterning, sewing and usage of materials.
Who are some of the cosplayers you admire most?
I generally admire cosplayers who make their own costumes and props and those who managed to bring out the character they cosplay so well.
What would you say to people who are just starting out cosplaying?
Can you tell us about some of your future projects?
Currently I’m working on Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny. I planned to attempt Edea from Final Fantasy VIII and Freya from Chobits. Then again, it is quite impossible judging from my hectic working schedule ><
I understand you have done a lot of judging at events. What criteria do you use when rating cosplayers?
Costume (authenticity), props (durability), performance (creativity + entertainment value).
Tell us about the event you are organizing, the Cosplay Ball.
It started in 2010 as a small gathering among cosplay friends to celebrate Christmas. About 40 showed up and words spread the following year. More people asked about it and we decided to make it an open event. Marianne, Yukito and I organized another 2011. This year, we will be hosting one for 120 people in a hotel ballroom. It’s a buffet style dinner with door gifts, flea market, games and activities with prizes. It’s a non profit event without any form of sponsorship at the moment. You can follow us on our official blog: CosplayBall Blog or the Facebook page: CosplayBall 2012
Where can we find out more about you?
A special thanks to those whom I’ve worked with closely throughout my cosplay jouney – cosplayers and photographers alike. Hugs!