Interview with Ferasha Cosplay

Interview with Ferasha Cosplay

Althemy team had a great pleasure to talk with Ferasha, a multi-talented cosplayer, festival organizer and Japanese culture promoter, from Belgrade. This charismatic girl managed to build and maintain a cosplay society in Serbia, that havent existed before. Her energy is vast, just like her intellect and education. Talking to her was very inspiring for the Althemy team, who made her Face of Althemy, for the month of August.

Following is the transcript of the video interview with Ferasha:

Interview with Ferasha Cosplay by Alex Jagi - Althemy

Hi, guys! Here we are with lovely Ferasha Isidora, the vice president of Sakurabana, the Serbian society for promotion of Japanese pop culture and anime. She is also one of the main organizers of Japanizam, the annual festival that takes place in Belgrade. Where did this fascination with Japanese culture come from?

It started through pop culture, when I discovered manga and anime, which were radically different than all the Hollywood clichs, that were like the media we used to consume. Than it turned into a love for the country and curiosity to discover what kind of a culture came up with all those weird ideas, that we can see in manga and anime. And then, when we started building Sakurabana, when we started working with the younger generation of audiences, it turned into a passion for the community, into the idea that we are here to develop something for the younger guys, who are interested in alternative pop culture and who have difficulties to find what theyre like, in the mainstream media and in the wide culture of Serbia. So, this is how it all started.

Have you ever been to Japan?

Unfortunately not, I had some plans that fell through, but hopefully we will manage to organize something in the near future.

You are one of the main promoters of the cosplay societies here in Serbia. But you started cosplaying actually in the line of duty, in order to inspire other people, who were not yet cosplaying, to make costumes, start with the whole scene. In the meantime, you fell in love with it. Why?

It is a great challenge to do a proper cosplay, because I think a lot of people do not focus on the word play, and the very notion of cosplay. They think its mostly about the costume. However, for me, cosplay is very close to theatre, to this emergening the character, to actually get into somebody elses skin, to do the body language properly, to have the posture, to look at the world through someone elses eyes. And this passion for acting, which I harbored from my childhood, really emerged through cosplay and it amuses me to go through this process of transformation of becoming the character. So, its not just about the costume for me its about the characters themselves and how I adapt myself to be someone else.

But the question is: are you really being somebody else? You love to play villains! Is this a personal preference or a personal challenge?

Well, a part from having a resting bitch face, which is, by the way, very good for my skin (giggles), I do have a preference for villains, because I find them very often more charismatic, more fun, better dressed and more complex. Because, as I said, I like getting into the personality of the character that I cosplay, so knowing all the good sides and the bad sides of the character, all the, you know, hidden agendas, dreams, frustrations, what made them into a villain, is something that helps me to bring the character to life, and I think that villains are often much more complex, especially in the media that I like to watch and to consume, then the heroes or the protagonists. So, this is why I find myself in the villains, and, by the way, villains are much more glamorous.

Talking about glamorous villains, youve just cosplayed one of thewell, one of my favorite, and I think most gamers love this character very much a very brave choice: Saphiro, from Final Fantasy VII. This is a strange choice for a woman. What were he challenges in the making this?

The biggest challenge was how to do the body modifications, because obviously Im quite a girly girl (giggles). An even though Saphiro has this perfect, typically Japanese bishounen face of a beautiful man, he has a very manly body. So, the costume included having big shoulder pads to look wider, having specially tailored coat to make my waist larger and my hips smaller, having 22cm platforms, so that I can add to my height. And combining all of that into manly body language, manly postures, so it was a huge challenge! Not to mention breast binding, which, when you have that open coat, sometimes is not that amusing, but, you know we have to suffer through things for our hobbie (giggles). I really loved getting into his skin, because, to be honest I had a huge crush on Saphiro when I was a teenager. Going through that transformation was turning myself into somebody that I find attractive as a man. It may sound a bit narcissistic and Im sure that the old Freud would have a fieldtrip with the entire concept, but it was a huge challenge to become the object of my own desire, if you see what I mean with this very complex costume, that I pull off.

You are now becoming the Face of Althemy for the month of August. We really hope we can help you promote, not just yourself, but also the entire cosplay community of Serbia to the international waters. What is your take on this?

Well, Im counting on you in that regard, because we would definitely like to establish stronger contacts with the international community. We have things to show here, we have the heart, we have the courage, we have the open mind, we have the good will, passion and stubbornness to do something out of nothing, because what we accomplished with Japanizam, what we accomplished with Sakurabana is, I think, really amazing, because in a country that is slightly behind the pop culture global trends, like Serbia, to have 7000 people on Japanizam, is a big deal. So, I hope that we will be heard of, I hope that people will discover what were trying to do here and I can definitely promise that if more people from the international scene are interested to come here and to check out themselves whats happening in Serbia, we will be more than happy to host them and to give them a warm welcome.

Vannkira Journal author