Photogenic looks. Multi-talented skills in makeup and prop-making. A legion of international fans. We’re talking about the one and only — BAOZI and HANA.
BAOZI and HANA are without a doubt one of the world’s most recognisable faces in the cosplay industry. Some of their popular photoshoots include Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov from Yuri!! on Ice, Sasuke Uchiha and Itachi Uchiha from Naruto, and Touya Kinomoto and Yukito Tsukishiro from Cardcaptor Sakura. Despite the world at their feet, Baozi and Hana are super humble cosplayers who continuously aim to demonstrate their passion for cosplay with the world.
Luckily for us, Ctrl+GeekPod recently got the chance to sit down with the infamous cosplay duo at SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show 2019. Talking all things cosplay, here is our interview with Baozi and Hana. Enjoy!
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CtrlGeekPod: Welcome to Australia! What are you hoping to do during this Australian trip?
Baozi and Hana: We arrived on Wednesday and we have already seen koalas and kangaroos. We are going out for whale watching tomorrow — we are looking forward to the experience!
CtrlGeekPod: What is your favourite cosplay photoshoot and why?
Baozi and Hana: We have many favourite photoshoots [laughs]. We especially like Makoto and Haruka from Free!! and we enjoyed doing the Yuri on Ice!! photoshoot. We also like Ten Count as well.
CtrlGeekPod: How many costumes have you created in total? Do you keep all these costumes?
Baozi and Hana: We have been doing cosplay for almost nine years now. Many of our costumes are now lost because we travel and move homes a lot. Because we do cosplay as a couple, there are usually two sets of everything. From the top of our heads, we make approximately 100 costumes per year.
CtrlGeekPod: It is evident that you like to cosplay characters from your favourite anime/manga series. Is there sometimes pressure for you to cosplay certain characters because of their popularity in the fandom?
Baozi and Hana: The characters that we usually like to cosplay tend to be characters that are already popular. However, there will be times where we’ve cosplayed characters where people actually don’t know who they are.
In general, we like to cosplay anime characters that we like. If we don’t like the story or characters, we are generally not motivated to do those cosplay photoshoots.
CtrlGeekPod: When you’re working on a new cosplay project, how do you begin the project? Do you have a discussion about the costume materials and makeup?
Baozi and Hana: For each photoshoot, we like to focus various things such as the angles and the story arc that we want to portray. In general, I (Baozi) will get the costumes done, and Hana will do makeup and point out certain things that needs to be done.
CtrlGeekPod: Out of the many cosplay costumes that you have done, which one is the most challenging?
Baozi and Hana: Onmyouji. It is mainly because it is from Japanese culture and it requires a lot of time and props. The costume is very complex and intricate, and we have to think about the themes and other creative details for the photoshoot.
CtrlGeekPod: With the increasing popularity of pop-culture conventions, the cosplay scene has changed a lot over the last few years. As a regular guest at these conventions, how has the cosplay scene changed?
Baozi and Hana: Over the years, we’ve seen a lot more people starting to accept the idea of ‘cosplay’ and its culture. When we were starting out in the cosplay industry, a lot of people thought we were ‘weird’ and wearing weird clothes. Now, everyone is cosplaying, especially young people.
The development of Internet and social media, for instance, has been a significant factor in the increase of cosplay. Not only does it give people the chance to look into cosplay but it allows them to interact with other cosplayers as well.
CtrlGeekPod: The world of cosplay plays a huge part in your life. You create photoshoots; you Instagram and post vlogs; and you interact with fans on a regular basis. How do you manage to juggle all of this — with real life and your makeup business?
Baozi and Hana: Things are actually out of balance at the moment. It is mainly because our makeup business is getting more work and things are much busier now. We had a good experience at SMASH! last time so we decided to come back again this year.
However, starting next year, we will put more energy into our makeup business and real life as well. We probably won’t do many convention appearances like before but we will continue to cosplay for sure.
CtrlGeekPod: What has been a major highlight of your cosplay career so far?
Baozi and Hana: A major highlight was definitely doing the Yuri!! on Ice cosplay. Before that cosplay, we were cosplaying for fun and doing things within our country. Yuri!! on Ice allowed people to know us — it was this photoshoot that got us invited to other conventions from other countries such as Canada and North America.
CtrlGeekPod: For all your fans out there, do you have any makeup and cosplay advice that you would like to share with them?
Baozi and Hana: Keep trying and don’t give up. If you give up because you think you’re not as good as others, this will hurt your future chances.
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