It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane. Nope. It’s Rheality Lapse. Kolkata’s very own Super Heroine!
Every read about your favourite comic character and though to yourself ‘Dang! I wish I could be like her/him too? Be it TinTin or Iron Man, we’ve all had our secret heroes in all the characters we have come across and wanted to be like them, but then we didn’t really put in the effort to make that dream come true. Well, this is the story of Rhea Chowdhury, an otherwise ordinary girl but extraordinary when she takes up the role of her favourite comic characters. Confused? Well, she’s a cosplay artist and here’s all you need to know about Kolkata’s very own Super Heroine!
Tell us about the concept of Cosplays?
Well, my name is Rhea better known as Rheality Lapse in the Indian cosplay circle. The concept of cosplay is to bring a character that you love to life. It can be a fictional, historical or an existing personality or even, a thing! Common examples would be, if you are a fan of Joker you dress up as them; if you are a fan of Einstein get his rad hairstyle and you are good to go; and the Tardis from Doctor Who series. In short, you transform yourself and become a person/thing for some time.
How did you get into Cosplays?
As a child I always loved anything that had to do with superpowers. I always thought I’d grow up and have superpowers but alas my delusions did not last for too long! I realised becoming a superhero was no easy task but dressing up and getting into the character was still an option and I pounced at it. I give my 100% to be a character I admire. What got me into cosplaying would be Japanese Anime – it played a HUGE part in being the person that I am today.
Which was the first character you dressed up as?
I dressed up as Diva from Blood+. Blood+ happens to be one of my favourite Japanese manga (Japanese comic). I absolutely love how gray Diva’s character is!
When did you first do it?
I did it about 5 to 6 years ago, and I will do Diva’s Cosplay twice in these years, but I am not really happy with the outcome so I will keep attempting it till I am satisfied with the result.
Which are your favourite comic book characters to dress-up as?
I am a BIG X-men fan! I would love to dress up as Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat. I also love Jean’s Phoenix form – I love the whole transformation in her character and her powers.
How easy/difficult was it to explain to your folks the concept of Cosplay?
My mother is a painter, an artist so it was very easy for me to explain. My dad is a very creative person as well. I did not have any difficulty explaining it to them. But it was a tad difficult to explain it to my non-cosplaying/non-gaming/non-comic book fan friends but they were all very supportive! They have always shown interest in what I do since What I do is completely different to anything they see people do in their lives.
Where do you see this taking you?
Honestly, I do it because I love it. Even if it does not take me anywhere I will not have any regrets. I know that if I had not attempted cosplaying, I would have greatly regretted it. So as long as I love it, I only hope to get better each day and just do justice to the characters I cosplay. If it does end up taking me somewhere, that would be super awesome
Share with us the best and the worst experiences while outside on the road during a cosplay
Well the best experience is when people recognise my character and come to me and request to take pictures. Then there are people who have no idea what I am but still receive my character so well and show me their love, it is insanely motivating!
Bad experiences would be the part where people do not respect your personal space and try to encroach it; touch your costume/props without my consent/take pictures without asking. I find it very uncool. Just because I cosplay does not make me a public property. Unfortunately, these cons are going to be there and I only hope they reduce if not disappear, with time.
How long does it generally take to dress up into a complete character?
It depends on the character. I usually take an average of 2 hours for complex make up and for body paint it will easily do up to 4 hours.
Which is the most difficult Cosplay character to pull off?
There are millions of characters out there in the world, a weapon, a dress, the way they wear their hair, the colour of their eyes etc. makes them unique. But I find characters that have extremely simple attire to be the most difficult to cosplay. Since there is NO distraction, like a prop, it makes it extremely important to always be in character, which according to me is the toughest part of a cosplay. Being in character and never breaking it is definitely a very important part of being in a cosplay.
How do you get the props and attire for your cosplays?
I make as many props as possible but I do take help from Scythe Skunkworks for complex props since I lack the machinery/apparatus required to forge props. But hopefully that will soon change when I have enough money to buy myself the basic prop making tools! I also look up to them so I usually would make it a point to stay as involved with it as possible. For attire I usually get it made or find an outfit that is similar and make necessary adjustments and modify it myself. In case I have to take the help of a tailor, I have to closely keep an eye on the attire’s patterns and give very specific instructions so that the material I hand pick myself does not get wasted!
What would you say about the trend of Cosplays?
The trend of cosplay is very unpredictable. Some prefer doing the newest of the new characters while others bring back forgotten characters to life, beautifully. But I have noticed that whatever it is, if the cosplayer has put in a lot of effort and hard work, they definitely leave their mark and catch public attention!
Can you tell a few easy DIY Cosplays for our readers
Cosplay is a DIY in itself! I would suggest not throwing away remnants of materials they have lying around in their house since they may actually be useful to them. Toilet paper rolls can be used to make the base of a Viking helm and old pillow covers can be used to make beautiful sleeves while old mosquito nets can turn into beautiful veils! It is up to YOU, after all. Cosplay materials are waiting to be transformed by the Cosplayer or the fairy godmothers/godfathers! So look around in that box you have marked ‘junk’ and you may find several things you might want to transform 🙂
If you like Rhea’s energy, show her some love by checking more of her work here!
Feature image courtesy: Grea Z Monkey
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