Jan Illenberger — more popularly known as Hikaju-Jan, is a Filipina-German model based in the United States, where she has worked with other cosplay luminaries such as Linda Le (VampyBitMe). She has caused quite a stir on the Manila cosplay scene, where she once showed up at a local con in a fantastic rendition of Bayonetta.
Jan is in town for some R&R, and a bit of cosplay fun at Cosplay Mania 11. She has also graciously agreed to do a quick interview for us at magnetic-rose.net.
When and how did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay in 2003 when I saw a flyer in San Francisco JapanTown’s Kintetsu Mall for the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. They were having a cosplay costume contest, and the winner(s) get to ride the float in the parade. I really wanted to be a part of the event, so I decided to take a stab at it. I cosplayed as Lenne of Final Fantasy X-2. Although I did not win, I had a great time and meeting and geeking out fellow cosplayers. I thought that was what made the whole day most enjoyable!
What is the cosplay scene like in the US? How different or similar is it from the scene in the Philippines?
My parents are from the Philippines, but I was born in the United States. Having attending both conventions in the Philippines and the United States, there is no “big” difference. Everyone is there to have fun, share common interests, and make new friends.
Most of your costumes originate from video game franchises — are you a big gamer? What are your favorite games?
I choose to cosplay strong female characters, and yes they are mostly from video game titles. I enjoy playing video games very much when I’m not being a workaholic fashion student. (Haha!) My favorite games would have to be Dance Dance Revolution, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Tekken and Bayonetta.
How long does it take you to make your costumes? What is the hardest part of the creation process? And the easiest part? 🙂
It all depends on the character’s costume design, prop/accessories, wigs, etc… It can range from 1 week to 5 months construction time for me.
There is no “hard” or “easy” part of the creation process because every project is a new challenge, and with every new challenge we learn certain skills from previous ones. However, my favorite part of the creation process would have to be pattern drafting. I wouldn’t say that it is too hard, but it’s more like a fun challenge because I like to test my abilities on how to construct a fictional character’s look into reality.
What is the most important advice you can give for cosplayers who are just starting out in the hobby? 🙂
Never treat this hobby as a religion, and always, always remember to have fun! “Dream big dreams, commit to your true passion, and you will learn to fly!”
To get to know Jan better, drop by her DeviantArt account.