Cosplayer of the Month March 2015 | Lelanie Kotze (The Happy Panda Cosplay)

Our featured Cosplayer of the Month for March 2015 is the always fierce Lelanie Kotze from The Happy Panda Cosplay. Lelanie is well known in the cosplay community for her awesome sewing skills and the corsets that she’s made is breathtaking. Let’s see if we can find out a bit more about the lady behind the Darth Talon cosplay…


Profile : Lelanie Kotze (The Happy Panda Cosplay)

Location : Centurion, Gauteng

Facebook : The Happy Panda Cosplay

Darth Talon (Photography by 3DE studios)
Congrats on your feature as the GES-SA Cosplayer of the Month Lelanie! Tell us a bit more of yourself?

Hello! I am a pc gamer. Currently working in the insurance industry, but I do have a degree in interior design. My interests include gaming, cosplay and medieval combat (a hobby I have recently taken up)

How and when did you get started in Cosplay and why you Love it?

I started in October 2013, after meeting one of the local cosplayers, Leigh Le Roux. At that point I had been making corsets and clothing for about 4 years and I wanted to expand on what I do in terms of creativity. Cosplay seemed like a good option because there are so many different options when it comes to creative work and making things :) For me it’s all about the love of the craft, but I must say that I have met all my favourite people through cosplay.

Harley Quinn (Photography by Peachy Dragon Photography)
What was the first Costume you wore for Cosplay and did you make it yourself?

The first costume I wore was for rAge 2013 and it was Harley Quinn. And yep, I made it myself.

What is your most difficult challenge in creating a costume?

Finding something that appeals to my love for detail and intricacy yet is still comfortable enough to wear in our hot South African weather.

What type of genre is your favorite to Cosplay, and why?

Mostly gaming. It’s something I grew up with and have been doing for the last 20 years. I love cosplaying gaming characters because there is usually very elaborate, detailed outfits involved. And armour, I’ve always loved armour. Second in line would be movies.

Your best Cosplay moment so far?

Probably still the first time I wore my Darth Talon cosplay (G2C2 2014). It seemed to be the last thing people expected when I walked through that door.

Lady Sylvanas Windrunner (Photography by Zee Cosplay)
Every Cosplayer has a favorite part of creating a costume or something they are really good at, what is yours?

Well I have about 6 years sewing experience, so I feel that’s something I’m pretty good at. Also been putting a lot of time into my makeup work and rather happy with the results. Sylvanas was my first armour project and I am also pretty pleased how that turned out.

What costume are you planning on making or wearing next?

Currently I am working on my fem version of Thranduil, Maleficent and redoing a few of Sylvanas’ armour pieces in preparation of a shoot. Also still need to finish her bow. I am also working on a Clive Barker’s Tortured Souls costume for Horror Con later this year. Maleficent for Free Comic Book Day would probably be the next thing I wear.

How do you decide on what to cosplay?

Usually things just pop up randomly that catches my eye. Or things that I’ve loved for quite a long time and see in a new light now that I started cosplaying. Sometimes people create cosplay groups and if it’s something I am interested in, I plan around that too.

What Cosplay events do you attend and what do you expect from them? At conventions, events and locations are you usually approachable?

I pretty much try and attend all the events I can (all picnics and conventions that I know of locally). I haven’t gone to any of the events in other provinces yet. The only thing I expect from events is to have fun and meet up with all the fantastic people I’ve met through cosplay. And yep, I am usually approachable. People are intimidated by me on occasion up until they realise I am actually a softy :)

Corpsebride (Photography by Alisha Narainsamy)
Do you like it when people want to talk and discuss your art form?

Yes I love it! I think sometimes we irritate other people with it, haha. For example we would go out for drinks and half the people there are cosplayers, the rest of the group is not. So all they hear about is cosplay

What is your involvement in the local Cosplay community and where do you see gaps that need to be filled?

Currently I am trying to setup a series of workshops/classes to aid fellow cosplayers in learning new skills or improving or refining that which they already know. We are going to start of with basic sewing lessons, and if that is a success move onto more advanced crafting skills. These are basicly the gaps I see. A lot of people are interested in cosplay but they have no idea where to start, how to sew, how to do makeup, where to get any of the supplies, etc.

Give us your Top 5 South African Cosplayers and why do they feature in your list of favorites?

That’s a tough one! We have many talented people. But I have to say:

Michael Angove – because how impressive was his Skyrim cosplay??

Anrè Van Rooyen – I see her as my little sister. We met through cosplay, and she’s been one of the best and most supportive friends that I have ever had

Tayla Barter – those armour skills!

Morgane Leleux – her astounding makeup skills <3

Justin Rogers – he’s one of the most fun people around

How do you feel in general about Cosplay in South Africa?

Very, very positive. All I see around me is new cosplayers getting into the hobby, and other cosplayers improving on their skils and making amazing costumes. The year fills up so fast with events that I really can’t complain there (actually made a calender and planned about 6 months ahead to try and stick to my plans this year and keep track of what is happening where).

About Linda Jager

Linda Jager
I’m proudly Geek and have a passion for all things pop-culture. Huge fan of The Walking Dead. Lover of gadgets and technology and although I’m not a gamer (sadly no hand-eye co-ordination) I find myself drawn to the gaming culture and community and how it connects with one of my biggest passions – collecting action figures and statues. I love to watch movies and series and there’s nothing better than having conversations with other people about the things I feel so passionately about. Being an 80’s child I am a huge fan of retro stuff and my Thundercats collection is one of my most prized possessions. That, and my A-Team van. Follow me on Twitter @LindaAtGES

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