Medha Srivastava, the first Indian female cosplayer to win an international award in cosplay talks about her passion and what inspired her to get in the artsy world on cosplay, in a candid interview with AnimationXpress. Srivastava is the winner of Fan Favourite Award Indian Championship of Cosplay at Comic Con India 2020, ESL Mumbai 2019 and Dota World Cosplay Championship best technique cosplay. What inspired you to enter this industry? To be honest, I didn’t even know that something like cosplay as a profession even exists. My career has naturally evolved into this profession now.Though as a child, I was always intrigued towards performing arts and fancy dress. And I guess that has really been a major factor for pursuing this profession of art. Srivastava is a professional illustrator and a game artist with a degree in animation and film making. Being surrounded with a gaming and concept art environment and having an educational background of art and design, Cosplay was a natural attraction for her. I remember cosplaying for the first time in Bangalore Comic Con 2016 along with my colleagues and the experience was amazing.That was the first time when I was exposed to the world of cosplay. Cosplay is an amalgamation of everything which I wished for. It has creation, performance, dramatisation and above all the artistic satisfaction. How do you manage the finances involved in creating these humongous costumes? Being a freelancer, I always make sure that I take up multiple projects so that I can invest my money appropriately in the cosplay I am aiming for. Creating a costume with intricacy, details and size does require a good budget, though you can always manage your money according to the materials. You can always plan your materials and the usage smartly and methodically. Also,sometimes a good cosplay is always a good investment since we are called for different events and promotional activities which are quite rewarding. Cosplay has come up with several and massive competitions too and one can always take up multiple competitions which monetarily helps a lot. My Legion Commander cosplay was made with the purpose of competing in ESL One competition, but with god’s grace it was a huge hit and I could take it to several events. What was your reaction on receiving the Fan Favourite title? I was really excited and humbled to win the Fan Favourite. We make cosplay because we love wearing them, showing our creations to the people, interacting with the fans who are cosplay and game enthusiasts and when you are given the Fan’s favorite title, it really boosts your spirit and you are definitely more excited to work more on future projects and inspire people. I was really touched to receive such amazing support , love and votes from people all around who thought my cosplay was one of the best. What is your favourite cosplay till date? Why? My favourite cosplay till date is Kier from Court of the dead. When I looked at Kier and read about her, I immediately felt a connection with her. Kier’s perfect balance of beauty and femininity with extremely strong and deadly skill set to fight for redemption didn’t seem like an unreal fantasy to me. Also, I have always been a fan of supernatural, horror and the world of sci fi. I remember when I was cosplaying Pharah from Overwatch, it received a lot of appreciation not just in India, but worldwide. Even the makers had shared my cosplay for which I feel extremely honoured. My cosplay got viral on Reddit and a lot of people thought that the character has come out alive. They called me the real Pharah and I guess that was the most special compliment I had received. Srivastava plans on cosplaying Lilith from ‘Diablo 4’, Samus from ‘Metroid Science’ and Bayonetta. How has the family supported you in this unique career, considering the reserved culture we see in India? My family has always supported me in whatever I have done in my life. My parents never forced their views on us and were progressive enough to understand that traditional career choices like are not the only successful ones in life. Liberal arts has its own charm and uniqueness and can also create wonders if pursued passionately. My mother, a retired English teacher, has always created a conducive environment at home by exposing us to the world of music and art. My parents had a very simple and single motto for me and my sister, ” Whatever you do, do it with passion and hardwork”. I have grown up in an environment where as a girl I never feared that people would stop me from pursuing something on the basis of my gender,only because my parents never questioned my capabilities. This kind of support is enough for any child to touch the skies. You have previously won ESL, Mumbai and Dota World Cosplay Championship as best technique cosplay. How was the experience there? Winning ESL One and TI 2019 was such a blessing to my career because both the platforms gave me humongous exposure and appreciation. Having an opportunity to represent my nation, and grabbing an award for it definitely brings a moment of happiness and pride. TI, which is Dota’s biggest event in the world was a delightful experience since I got to meet so many other cosplayers from different countries and listen to their experiences as a cosplayer. I was the first female cosplayer from India to win an International Award in Cosplay and that definitely feels great. I really hope I am able to represent my country in future and bring the name and fame for cosplay in India. Srivastava is surely a pride to our nation. Looking at her passion towards cosplay and art in general, she definitely is an inspiration to the many art enthusiasts out there. Keep going girl! Indians will always be proud of you.