It's not always that we have a chance to talk with a western anime and cosplay fan, and hence we contacted Maridah, a cosplayer from the United States which became well known due to her high quality Saber (Fate series) cosplay which was featured in Otacool 2. Much to our delight she agreed to this interview. And thus we are quite honoured to have her featured on our site.

More after the break

Anime Shrine: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Maridah: Hi, I'm Maridah. I'm a US cosplayer who lives in California, United States. I got into anime in 1999 and started cosplaying in 2001. In addition to making costumes, I like to collect anime figures, BJDs, Dollfie Dreams and other anime merchandise as well as blog about my collections and hobbies.

AS: Can you tell us how you first got started into cosplaying and what was your first ever costume?
M: I got the cosplay bug when planning for my first anime convention. I wanted to dress up for the event, so I made some costumes from myself and my friends to wear. My first cosplay was of Relena from Gundam Wing.

AS: How many characters have you cosplayed throughout your venture into this hobby?
M: I 've lost count. It's been so many. Easily over 30 characters~

AS: In your other interviews that you do your own costume. Where do you usually buy the materials for the costumes and how many have you made, for yourself and others included?
M: I like to buy my fabric from warehouse stores. They have better prices and selections. I've made too many costumes to keep count, and I've probably made twice as many costumes for friends over the years than for myself, so it has to be a big number by now.

Saber Armor from the Fate/Stay Night visual Novel

AS: In all the various costumes that you have created, which one do you like the most and which one would you say was the hardest for you to create?
M: My Saber Armor was probably the hardest and the one that I have the most sentimental attachment to. I taught myself how to work with a lot of new materials and tools as I was making it, so the sheer amount of trial and error that went into it makes it the hardest.

AS: All in all, how long would it take you to make a costume, and how much would it usually cost? In lieu of that, how much collectively do all your costumes cost?
M: It depends on the costume. Some take a day or two, others have taken a month or more. Same with cost. It's variable. I've spent $6 on one costume's fabric, and $200 on another. It depends on how complicated the cosplay is.

AS: What are your hobbies when you are not cosplaying?
M: I collect dolls- BJDs and Dollfie Dreams and enjoy sewing things for them. I also collect anime merchandise like figures and play video games occasionally. My less nerdy hobbies involve drawing, watercolor, and reading. I'm trying a little bit of gardening as well, now.

Like looking at the real thing

AS: You are known quite far and wide as THE most lifelike Saber cosplayer out there. Do you think this is because in terms of generic viagra character, Saber herself was not Japanese and it’s easier to cosplay a non Japanese character? In addition, why do you think it’s hard for non Asian cosplayers to cosplay Asian anime character convincingly?
M: I don't think it's any easier. So much of what makes a character's likeness is in attention to details- Having a good wig, contacts, the right makeup, a well tailored costume, and correct accessories. Posing right and having the right expression make a huge difference too. You have to transform yourself to a degree to mimic a character, and you can succeed or fail at that, irregardless of ethnicity.
When it comes to Anime, ethnicity is something stated about a character. It's still a drawing, and usually aside from eye color and hair color, all characters look just about the same as any other in a show, regardless of what ethnicity they are supposed to be. We are all mimicking drawings, so thinking of ethnicity as a handicap or boon is really sort of silly. I've seen good and bad cosplay come out of every region of the world. Attention to details is the biggest factor.

AS: For someone that is already 27, you don’t look it. Tell us do you have any secrets on, well still looking like a teenager?
M: No, there isn't much to it. It's not something I try for, so there really isn't any secret I can share. For many years I hated looking young because it's caused problems for me in my daily life, but it works for cosplay.

AS: How many anime events usually you attends in the US?
M: 2 to 3 a year.

Katsuragi Misato from Shin Seiki Evangelion

AS: Will you come to Malaysia for anime conventions/events if you are invited?
M: Absolutely! I'd love to go!

AS: Lastly any messages for your fans in Malaysia?
M: Thanks so much for the support and interest in my cosplay! It's very encouraging and I hope I can continue to create cosplay that people will enjoy. Cheers to Malaysia! I hope to visit one day!

Well there you have it folks, our interview with Maridah. You can visit her website here as well as here facebook fanpage here.

All of the pictures were taken from her website, altho we wish that she could come here so we could take some of her pictures ourselves. Thanks Maridah!