A true cosplay chameleon
What you're looking at is not, in fact, hi-res promotional artwork for BioShock--it's a Little Sister costumed designed and modeled by Monika Lee. This crazy-talented cosplayer expresses her love for video games by bringing their iconic characters to life; in the case of the Little Sister portrayal, it's almost so real, it's scary. It should come as no surprise that making cosplay look this good is hard work, but Monika makes it look easy in a wide array of outfits.
To get the scoop on the wonderful world of video game cosplay, we asked Monika to tell us a bit about herself and her hobby. Read on to find out her side of the story...
GamesRadar: Why did you start cosplaying? What was your first costume?
Monika Lee: I first started cosplaying in 2006, because I was really into anime at the time. I discovered cosplay through some YouTube videos, and the idea of dressing up as my favorite anime characters seemed like so much fun! As a result, I began dressing up as characters from Naruto [laughs].
Pictured: Female Wizard from Diablo III.
GR: What does cosplaying mean to you?
ML: Cosplaying is my ultimate outlet for creativity. Im always itching to create something, so taking that and my love for all things nerdy and merging the two is awesome! I also love the cosplay community and getting to dress up with my friends.
Pictured: Yuna from Final Fantasy X.
GR: How much of a time-investment is this? What do you like to do outside of cosplaying?
ML: It can be super time consuming. Ive spent months researching for a costume and another couple of months gathering materials, followed by months of creation. I dont mind too much, though, because its what I like to do in my spare time. Outside of cosplay, Im a student at Georgia Tech. But aside from that, I like to cook, eat delicious food, play video games, read, etc.
Pictured: Ada Wong from Resident Evil 4.
GR: What's the strangest thing (material, prop, etc) you've used to complete a costume?
ML: Ive used the plastic covers from school binders to make a kimono bow! Ive also used a vintage 1940s gas pump for a prop.
Pictured: Rydia from Final Fantasy IV.
GR: How much do you worry, if at all, about getting the look exactly right, down to the last detail?
ML: Accuracy can be really important, especially with video games or anime/manga characters. However, I do a lot of costumes from artwork references, and I like to interpret them realistically--because as we all know, some of these designs just cant exist in real life and look good [laughs].
Pictured: Lara Croft from Tomb Raider: Legend.
GR: Whats your favorite video game?
ML: I play a looooot of video games, but BioShock holds a special place in my heart. The morbid art deco style of the game alongside the creepy jazzy music and underwater setting is just so cool to me.
Pictured: Little Sister from BioShock.
GR: How you do choose which characters to cosplay?
ML: Ill usually choose characters depending on what video game Im playing at the time. (For example, I want to do Maya from Borderlands 2 and Ada from Resident Evil 6!) I also prefer to cosplay with friends, so I always try to coordinate with them.
Pictured: Wedding Yuna from Final Fantasy X.
GR: Whats your favorite costume among the ones youve worn and/or made?
ML: As of late, I love wearing my Little Sister from BioShock and my Wizard from Diablo III. I worked really hard on all the details on both of those costumes so I could represent the characters as best as I could.
GR: What tips do you have for entry-level cosplayers?
ML: Have fun cosplaying! I feel like the first thing you should love about cosplaying is recreating your favorite characters in real life. If you go about cosplaying simply so you can get attention, you aint doin it for the right reasons!
Pictured: Jill Valentine from Resident Evil.
GR: What's the ultimate cosplay costume youve always wanted to make?
GR: What's your favorite board game?
ML: Taboo! I come from a really loud, talkative family, so this is the perfect game to play. I also love Cards Against Humanity, its so hilarious.
Pictured: Wonder Woman from Injustice: Gods Among Us.
GR: Thanks for your time! Anything else youd like to add?
To see more of Monika's work, you can check out her Facebook page, Twitter, and Deviantart page, all of which are chock full of pictures of her amazing cosplay (including the aforementioned anime costumes). Go ahead and give her a shout-out in appreciation of her awesome craftsmanship! Weve included more of our favorite shots of Monika's video game cosplaying; browse 'em and be amazed at her superbly accurate ensembles.