2. Ashley Gosiengfiao, 20, cosplayer since 2003
Real life: "I'm a huge video game and anime addict, so it's really cool to dress up as my favorite characters. Also, I'm a photographer, so taking part in photo shoots is one of my biggest passions," she says. However, she sees herself cosplaying only until her late 20s. Nowadays, she attends an average of five to six cosplay events per year to judge competitions and do autograph signings.
Claim to fame: "I won my first competition back in 2003 during the C3Con. After that, I took a break from cosplaying to concentrate on school, music and sports. When I came back to the scene two years after, I never joined a competition but did some judgings and guestings. The next competition I joined was for the Anime Festival Asia '09 wherein my sister Alodia and I were chosen to represent the Philippines for the regional competition held in Singapore. That was the most special [event] for me."
Character profile: "I've cosplayed around 11 characters already. So far, my favorite would be Shiori Tsuzuki of Witchblade because the production of the costume was very complex, and we actually incorporated LED lights onto my humongous crescent-shaped weapon and headdress. "My dream cosplay would be Asuka Kazama from Tekken 5. Nightmare would probably be Aeris Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII, because as much as I love the game, I dislike her character. I like Tifa Lockheart loads better."
Cosplay investments: "A costume usually costs ten to fifteen thousand pesos, including accessories and weapons. But it depends on the materials and if you're going to have the costume made or make it yourself. The time to produce costumes ranges from a week to a month. Favorite material would be spandex fabric."
Weirdest thing a fan did: "There's this fan-made video, and as I was watching it, I realized that there were some candid shots taken from a rather great distance. It got me wondering as to how he managed to do that."
What some critics say: "There have been negative comments about my sister and I getting paid to cosplay. Cosplaying should not be all about the money. Although we both agreed on this, we also think that cosplay shouldn't be limited to just a hobby. People earn from doing what they love, and that's what's going on. If anything, I believe that they should actually be eager to find that cosplay is perpetually growing into an acknowledged industry."
Cosplay legacy: "I want to be remembered as one of the cosplayers who [moved] to propel this hobby into the mainstream."