October 31 2016
Ladies & gentlemen, it's not an interview like the others since this time, it's the interview of the worldwide awarded cosplayer, the great, the amazing, the incredible Leon Chiro from Italy ! A special set of questions was written for him, and since he is a very busy man, he recorded his answers on his iphone, and sent me the audio. I made the transcription with high fidelity, so these are the words of the man himself here ! Enjoy reading !
1. For how long have you been in cosplay ?
Well, I started to cosplay in 2011, i was working in the modeling world, and I just wanted to try photoshooting with a videogame theme. Then I just choosed my Tidus cosplay and I still didn't knew what cosplay was. And my friend talked about cosplay, he brought me in the first convention and let me there, and he said "just go, socialize, make some friends" and then I discovered the magic world of the cosplay and I started since the first convention to make competition, i started to win a lof of competitions, one after one, then everything was a chain reaction like getting invited as a jury, as guest, and so on.
2. You have a huge fan club of ladies, how do you manage that ?
Err... LOL. Well actually I have nothing to manage I'm just always available for everybody, to help everybody, I'm very thankful to all the people following me, it's just a very big pleasure and passion for me and as I always say when I travel abroad I'm not going abroad to show my level but to show what people can do by being motivated, by being hyped, by being at 100% of themselves.
3. Any other hobby or passion besides cosplaying ?
Well I'm a videogame student, at the Vigamus academy (in Rome), so it's a videogame university about marketing, social media, and digital communication. I'm also a huge gamer, I'm a hardcore gamer, I collect platinum trophies. I have 140 platinum trophies for the moment. I have a lot of passion and hobbies.
4. How many years of training did it take to get those amazing abs ?
LOL. Thanks a lot ! Well, I cannot count the years because it took something like well forever ! I trained since long long time and that took me so much. like training since I was a kid, in athletics basically. and I always trained only with my body weights, I never go to gym.
5. What’s the deal with all those Facebook problems ? You got your page removed several times !
Well I don't wanna go back into that story anymore, it's past, it's negativity, I only show positivity. But, it was like a private group of people wanting to sabotage my page, they just organized themselves to mass report my page and my profile, so they got down my profile and my page by declaring that it was fake identity, and then it was like a long process because normally it's quite impossible to have your things back but... I got it back because of the people following me. For all the signatures, I collected more than 3000 signatures of people wanting me back on facebook, it was a lot and i never asked for it. So it has been a very hard & tragic moment because I had everything back thanks to the people following me. Because I always try to spread positivity around the world, and then i got back all the positivity from all around the world by having back my social medias !
6. Do you have favorites cosplayers, male or female ?
Well I do, of course I do. in the cosplay community I love all of cosplayers, and recently I've been in China, and i got inspired so much by the chinese community, especially for the performances, for the exhibitions. Well, all the male cosplayers are normally good friends, like me and Elffi Cosplay, I love him, RBF-productions, Rick Boer... I also have to make a special mention for Maul Cosplay which is in my opinion one of the best male cosplayers ever, very good looking, very handsome, very talented, the pictures are stunning, he's a very good inspiration for all the male cosplayers. so this is my rank.
7. Is Leon your real first name ?
Yes of course it is, Leon Chiro is my real name.
8. I was surprised your prints are only 10 dollars ! Cosplayers of your « rank » usually charges more than that but it’s a fair price ! Will it stay like that ?
Well actually 10 dollars is my price that i would like to keep to reach everybody and actually in China, it was even 5 dollars. Because i'm always adapting my prices, to all the countries I'm visiting, I cannot ask that much money in other countries where money is not having that big value. And in my opinion, it's not question about earning money, for me it's more important for people to have my picture if they got inspired by something i do, it's more important for me to make people happy, instead of me earning money. I am making a living of cosplay and I live with cosplay, I'm paying university, and I live alone at the moment in my life. Basically, for me, it's more important to have people smiling and having them happy... even when I have to sign my prints, I never sign only the autograph, i always write something for the person, to make them remember that precise moment, to make them smile, their happiness is something that I really care a lot.
9. The most famous cosplayers are females, but with you and Maul cosplay, things are changing a bit ! How is it to be among the famous ones ?
Well don't take me wrong but from how i see it, fame and popularity are just invisible numbers. One day you can have them, and one day you can have everything away from you. The difference is always made by how you put yourself in relation with people, how do you reply as feedback to people. If they love you or not... love, positivity, smile, energy, this is the most important thing. It's not a matter of popularity, because as we talked before about facebook, I had no facebook anymore, I had no numbers anymore, I was nobody from one day to another !
And then, I realized that day, that what made Leon, "me", in this community, is what I was spreading around the world, not the numbers, not the fame, but the way i am, the way we are ! This is the main difference in this community, and also Maul is a big example of that. I really like him. You know what, we never met each other, that is the funny thing, I really hope we will meet together one day and who knows perhaps collaborating for some project together, i'm pretty sure people would love that and enjoy that. So from what I say it's always important to stay humble and to be nice with everybody, it doesn't matter how famous you are, wherever u go, from how I see it people will always have 100% of me. Even if I'm tired, even if i'm coming from the other side of the world. people has to feel the energy, the positivity. They have to believe that they can do everything in their own lives, it's not a question of popularity, because we all can reach popularity in different ways, with shortcuts. Here the point is being themselves, being yourself.
10. You came in Belgium for FACTS, do you plan to come back in our country ?
I would love to come back in Belgium. I really enjoyed FACTS, all their organization, it was a very hard work for them to manage but I really enjoyed it. And I'm really planning... who knows ? Maybe for Made in Asia (mars 2017), I don't know. We will see about that. For the moment, I have no schedule in Belgium. I have something like one event every weekend, so I have something like 4 events per month, and for the moment, I'm having a tour in the US, in China, in South America... but Belgium, still nothing I'm sorry ! We will see for the next year, I would really like to go back !
11. Female cosplayers are sometimes jealous from each other, how is it for male cosplayers ? I guess it’s simpler and cooler ?
No, it's not simpler and cooler ! Actually, it's even worse because in the cosplay community, the famous male cosplayers are not that much and they are very spotted. Sometimes people say that you are making a reputation or something because you are good looking and not because you are skilled, or this kind of things. And people always find an excuse to attack you. What I'm trying to say is that people would love to have what for example, me or Maul have, but instead of working hard, they just judge and talk bad about what we do. And it's not because we are doing something bad it's because people is easily judging what they would like to have. It's the same as the females : females have more numbers and they "cat fight" a bit more but we are men and if we have some problem, we just go there and fix it. So, let's say we have less problems but I cannot say that they are no jealousy : I feel a lof of it, I saw a lot of it, not only regarding me but also the friends I mentioned before.
12. What are you doing in "real" life for a living ?
As i said before, I'm working in professional cosplaying, so yeah I do this for a living. I live by myself, I pay everything by myself, I have my university, I do everything by myself. Paying with what I do, since I'm doing as I said, 4 events per month.
13. You best experience from a convention ? And your worst ?
I have to make a special mention when i have been invited in the Caribbean Sea in Trinidad and Tobago and it was by far one of the best experiences i ever had, because the reality there is that you expect something like, I cannot say "cheap" but you know, it's a country where you don't know what to expect ! And when I got there, I saw so much magic, so much energy, I felt so much positivity, and I was so impressed by what i saw there. So this year the best conventions were Trinidad and Tobago, Alias Entertainment Expo, ACCF, FACTS was also very nice, they were a lot of them !
I had so much experience this year, I cannot really choose a best experience... but I can say the worse one ! Yeah, I definitely can say that the worse one was unfortunately last year at Vienna Comic Con : they really did a hell of a job but also really did hell of a bad job there !
14. Any advice for cosplay beginners ?
My advice is to get inspired by people, but never be the copy of the copy of someone else, just get inspired and be yourself ! Believe in yourself because you will be impressed of what you can do in your life, look more in the mirror, be proud of what you do. Do it with pride, do it with love, do it with passion. Keep doing the things you're doing and not because they can make you popular but because you love it. Because you feel comfortable, because you can be yourself. With cosplay you can do whatever you want in your life, so this is the most important thing. Be motivated, be positive, love the next one, give them positivity, give them love, give them motivation. If you see somebody on the ground, even if he treated you bad, treat him with positivity, treat him good. We are all humans and we cannot be better than that. Love what you do, it's very important !
15. Do you have limits ? Cosplays that you would not choose or could not make ?
No... no ! (LOL) It's only a question of time : I can do everything that I want because I believe I can do it ! I believe that we can actually decide to make everything that we want in our lives, this is what I really think about cosplay motivation, and life goals. If you think that you cannot do it, you will close your mind by doing that and you will never do that !
His facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/LeonChiroCosplayArt/
His deviantart page : http://leonchirocosplayart.deviantart.com/