Destiny Child Cosplay Interviews: Stella Chuu, Reagan Kathryn, Lara Lunardi and Jessie Blaufus

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Related: Western Gamers Meet the Destiny Child Universe at ESC 2018

Related: Where craft and fantasy collide - the Destiny Child Cosplay Contest! 

 

At ESC 2018 at UCI campus, Inven Global partnered with LINE Games to create the Destiny Child Cosplay Contest. With $5,000 on the line, 8 professional cosplayers chose their favorite character and, detail by detail, brought them to life.

We sat down and spoke with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and fan award winners of the contest. They are as follows:


1st place - Stella Chuu
2nd place - Reagan Kathryn
3rd place - Lara Lunardi
Fan award - Jessie Blaufus


 

▲ Lara Lunardi


I’m here with Lara Lunardi, a professional cosplayer who just placed third in the Inven Global Destiny Child cosplay contest during ESC 2018. Lara, can you tell me a little bit about how you’re feeling right now?

I’m feeling great! I’m so appreciative of the prize.

 

When you say you’re feeling great, is that because it was a lot of hard work and it finally paid off? Or you worked really hard today and the work is over? 

It’s definitely more of the hard work on the costume because it was multiple days of work. I worked on this costume for about ten days. I started off with just a bodysuit and kept building from there. Here I worked hard too, but it was only two days. You can’t really compare it.

 

"these designs are just so cute and every single one of these characters have very distinct designs and they’re all interesting to explore."

 

Something I’ve heard a lot while talking to the other cosplayers and fans at the booth is that the character design of the game is really unique. People really fall in love with the characters. Each one seems very very different. Can you tell us the story or process of choosing your character?

I remember we had a roster that we could pick from and there were designs that were my favorite. When I saw Dana, I really wanted to cosplay her. I actually ended up going with another character at first, but my heart was on Dana from the first glance because her outfit is so detailed and intricate. My costumes usually go more to the side of superheroes or Sci-Fi and they’re never fantasy designs. I really wanted something like that in my portfolio and her outfit is just gorgeous.

 

Speaking of a gorgeous outfit, one of the more defining aspects of the game design is the aesthetic. These characters are larger than life; they’re goddesses and gods. At the same time, some of them are very powerful and very tough. If you look through the full list, some of them are grotesque. There are zombified villains as well. How do you feel the Destiny Child aesthetic lends itself to a cosplay?

I think it works really well. When I was in school, I studied game development. The art side was what I was interested in the most. So, it’s definitely what I go to. If I see a game and the designs are not going to translate well in a costume for myself, I won’t do it. But these designs are just so cute and every single one of these characters have very distinct designs and they’re all interesting to explore.

 

Have you had a chance to see the gameplay or check out the game itself? Are you familiar with the “gacha” category?

Yes, I am.

 

What kind of people would you recommend this game to?

I would recommend this game to people who are interested in fate, gacha games, card games, turn-based combat, and really cute girls. It’s just fun.

 

Do you have any last words you want to say to your fans or people reading this?

I would like to thank you for supporting me and thank you for watching our content.


▲ Jessie Blaufus

 

I’m here with Jessie Blaufus. Congratulations on winning our special prize, it was the fan favorite award. Can you tell me a little bit about how you’re feeling?

It took me a second to realize that you said my name. I was like “Oh, me! That was me!” I’m really surprised; I didn’t think I would win anything. It’s really awesome. I’m just really happy, excited and surprised.

 

Tell me a little bit about what you were thinking when you chose this character. Can you tell us what you liked about the character and what stuck out?

What stuck out most to me about the character was her prop and her crown. I loved the pastel color scheme and I also liked the cute-but-deadly aesthetic. Her crown had spikes and she had a scythe. I loved how it clashed with how cute she was.

 

"I feel like there’s a lot of details that are put into each character. Each character has a theme and the designs stick really well with each theme of the character."

 

Are you familiar with these types of mobile games? Do you know gacha games, where you collect all of the characters?

Yes; I spend too much money on them.

 

Really? Can you tell us a bit on what draws you to these types of games? What draws you to the Destiny Child characters?

Honestly, the character design draws me to them the most. The stories are fun and the combat are usually good too. It’s really the character designs and stories that draw me to these games the most.

 

So when this game is released in English, do you think you are going to download it? Is it something you’re interested in?

Oh definitely. I want all the waifus.

 

Let’s talk about waifus and husbandos. Let’s get serious for a bit. Which do you think is more important when trying to form your personal team?

Waifus.

 

Can you elaborate on that? What is their strength and value compared to husbandos?

They’re cuter.

 

So you choose your team based on the aesthetic? Not so much the strategy?

Strategy does matter but you can’t really do anything when you look good. If one sword had 5 attack and another sword had 3 attack but it’s pink, you pick the pink sword every time. That’s how I go into RPGs.

 

Destiny Child is a game that has been attracting a lot of praise from the cosplayers today and the fans were here. They really love the Destiny Child characters. Why do you think that is?

I feel like there’s a lot of details that are put into each character. Each character has a theme and the designs stick really well with each theme of the character. You can also see the personality portrayed in their outfits and their weapons. In the simplest way, they’re all designed well.

 

I’m looking at your crown and I just want to know how long it took for you to make. What’s your favorite part about it?

It took be about eight to ten hours. I like the bird, but my favorite part is the curves of the crown. I thought it would look really bad but when I put it together, it didn’t look that bad. I was happy with how it turned out.

 

Do you have any last words you want to say to your fans reading this or new fans who have watched this?

Definitely check out Destiny Child. If you’re a cosplayer,  definitely check it out. There are so many awesome characters to play with and cosplay.


▲ Reagan Kathryn

 

I’m here with Reagan Kathryn, the second place winner of our Destiny Child cosplay contest at ESC 2018. Reagan, how are you feeling right now after taking second place?

I’m completely overwhelmed. I didn’t expect it at all. I’m still in shock.

 

Can you talk me through your mindset? Why didn’t you expect it? Your cosplay was incredible.

Thank you! I worked really hard on it. But after working with the other cosplayers for two days, seeing the hard work, listening to what they did and interacting with them, you end up comparing yourself. They did such a good job and being picked makes me feel really good. It’s exciting.

 

"There are so many different types of characters and everyone can relate to one."

 

More about your second-place winning cosplay, congrats on having $1000! Tell me about why you chose this character and why do you think you succeeded in cosplaying her?

I chose Bathory for a lot of reasons. First, I saw her and her design stood out the most to me. I was going back and forth between her and the little angel girl but I loved [Bathory’s] skirt. It’s a tiered black skirt that’s opened in the front. I’ve never made anything like it before and I heard from a lot of people that it’s hard to make, but I wanted to try to do it. I thought it would be a pretty thing to wear. It’s big, it’s complicated and I really wanted to do it.

Also, I thought [Bathory’s character] was clever because she’s a female serial killer who used to bathe in people’s blood. The fact that [LINE Games] incorporated history into their game and the fact that the character can use blood to seal people was really clever. They paid attention to history and pulled from that.

 

I heard you’re quite the fan of these style of games. You really like them.

I’m a huge fan of these games. I’m so excited for this to come out in December. I already have a ping in my calendar so I can play it. I’m a little bit too much of a fan of these type of games. I love all the characters. I’m already planning my next cosplay from this game because I kept seeing her poster.

 

I’ve heard that’s been a pretty common sentiment that a lot of cosplayers love the characters and they’re really inspired to cosplay it. Why do you think cosplayers are so inspired when they see Destiny Child characters?

The creators of Destiny Child who did the character did such a wonderful job. They’re so unique looking and their costumes are all interesting and there’s a bunch of different types of characters. They had my character who had a huge ballgown, a huge umbrella and a corset, but there are other characters who look really cute with schoolgirl skirts and knee-high socks. There are so many different types of characters and everyone can relate to one.

What type of people would you recommend to this type of game who maybe have never played a gacha game, or are interested after seeing your cosplay and characters from the contest?

The thing I love most about mobile games is that if you have a cell phone, you can play it. I especially love them for people who are busy like me because I don’t have to be at my house, my computer or TV. I play it on the go, I play it when I’m waiting for things. I’ll be in line for the DMV, or I’ll be at the post office, anywhere. You can always squeeze in a little bit. The games typically go pretty quickly so it’s good for people who have a lot to do.

It’s also good for people who don’t have a lot to do. There’s a broad spectrum of people who can play it and I think that if you have a little extra time and you don’t want to scroll through your boring Facebook feed a million times, check out the game.

 

I heard that this took a long time to make. How long did it take?

It took me about five days working about eight hours a day, so a little over 40 hours. It was a lot of work but I really liked it. I wanted it to be really good so I tried a lot. The skirt was so much math that I should go back and thank my high school geometry teacher and tell them that that I’m sorry I didn’t believe them when they said math was used in the real world.

 

Honestly, the hard work paid off. It was definitely one of the most visually impressive costumes. What was your favorite part of the costume?

It has the be the skirt. It’s a tiered ballgown with an open front. The tiers couldn’t be all the way around so I had to engineer it so the front part open. It’s like four things in one.

 

Do you have any last words you want to say to your fans or some of your new fans seeing these photos and seeing this content?

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this. I’m so excited and I hope you like my costume.


▲Stella Chu


I’m here with Stella Chuu,  the first place winner of our ESC 2018 InvenGlobal Destiny Child cosplay contest. Congratulations! How does it feel to win?

I honestly didn’t think I was going to win. I chose the costume based on how I think it would look in real life and how cool it would look, and also how it would look with the cool composite with the guns around me. I knew there were other costumes that would have probably won. There’s a giant armor girl that I wanted to do. If someone had done her, there’s no way I would have won. I looked at everyone else’s costumes and they were all on point. Everyone has really good costumes here -- I honestly thought maybe third of second place, I didn’t think I would get first.

 

"it gives me a little boost of confidence knowing that I have someone to draw power from"

 

When you were on stage during the actual cosplay contest, you really exuded the character. You even bullied me a bit. It seems like something you’re natural at. Can you talk about maybe a part of your personality that went into choosing the character? Or maybe you were inspired by looking like the character. Which do you think was more powerful?

For me, cosplay has been a way to connect with people. I grew up a nerd, I started the anime club in high school and college and I’ve always been part of a fringe group of people. Now that it’s starting to become more mainstream, I’m starting to realize how much more extraverted and how much more I have to talk to people every day. Over time, cosplay has been my way to really connect with people and share the same things that we like. Becoming the character really helps because I no longer have to think about me in the sense of this is the history of me and everyone has to meet me as me.

I’m sure that everyone goes through this but when someone meets me when I’m dressed up in cosplay, we both have this character we can relate to. We know what to expect out of the character. It’s not necessarily that I’m role playing or acting or being a circus performer, but it gives me a little boost of confidence knowing that I have someone to draw power from. I know that most cosplayers go through the same thing – we all say that we relate to these characters and that gives us strength while we’re cosplaying. It’s not easy to cosplay. You’re walking outside in a costume that’s barely holding itself together, you made it for the first time, and it’s really scary. By meeting other people who know the character or having an assumption of the character kind of helps to break the ice and make it easier for people to communicate.

 

I’m looking at your shoes and all the details of your costume. Where did you start with your costume? I know there was a lot to tackle.

With a police uniform, you usually think they’re going to be using twill or a very officer-y kind of uniform. I looked at the costume and asked myself, “I want to choose this character but how can I make her above and beyond?” If I chose a bland fabric, it’s not going to do much to make it look cool. So I had this fabric laying around that looks like water. I told myself that I had to make a costume out of this fabric or else there was no way I was going to stand out. I think that’s the centerpiece of this costume – the way that the fabric flows and the way it looks. Otherwise, I kind of threw it all together. I had maybe a week to make it because I was also traveling in between working on this costume.

 

Part of what we’ve been hearing a lot is that the Destiny Child characters really seem to lend themselves to cosplay. The cosplayers get excited when they see these characters and they have a hard time choosing one. Why do you think that is? Why do the Destiny Child characters ooze that style that makes you want to be them?

I would say that it’s a kind of thing about all of Asia. Their character designs really go towards hyper fantasy and not really thinking about tactical or realism. The whole point is to escape into this world that doesn’t exist. We don’t have to think about how physics work or how wigs work. Vice versa, western video games and pop culture has gone towards hyper realism. People would definitely wear these real bulletproof vests and the colors wouldn’t be bright – they would be camo. I prefer Eastern designs absolutely.

I love the way Destiny Child goes into these beautifully bright colors, things are floating, there are giant weapons, everyone’s proportions are different as well. I really like their attack on body positivity. I don’t even think that was their point but I really love that there are different kinds of characters.


 Who are the types of gamers you think would like games like Destiny Child?

Definitely, all the people who are playing Fate/ Grand Order, Valkyrie Connect, Girls’ Frontline, Food Fantasy, Azur Lane as well. There’s a lot of these localized gacha games now and the audience is super strong with it. All of my friends play at least two gacha games. I was very obsessed with Valkyrie Connect for two years and put in a lot of money into it. I know someoneone I introduced – this is totally my fault – who has spent at least four thousand dollars on Valkyrie Connect.

 

That’s always part of the appeal of these games. You want to collect them all. Why do you think it’s so compelling? Why do you think people love these characters so much and they want them and want to own them and grow them? Where does that come from?

These character designs are so pretty. If you get a good artist on your game to draw these gorgeous characters, it doesn’t have to be female or male – just any kind of characters. It could be a game about cats. People go crazy over them. Get good character design and you can convince anyone to buy into it. All of my friends spend at least a minimum of $100 on their gacha games in their lifetime. And of course, the maximum was four thousand.

 

What would you like to say to your fans that may be reading this and any new fans that saw you from this article?

Thank you so much for supporting me because without them I wouldn’t be able to do stuff like this. I am part of this new wave in America of professional cosplayers and it’s kind of crazy where this is going. Having my fans’ support is the only way I can survive doing this so a big thank you to them.

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