Livia Chu interview

This week’s interview is with Livia Chu!

Who are you?
I am a cosplayer, artist, gamer, nerd, and now a newb streamer based in California. I have been making costumes since I was the vice president of the anime club in high school.

Selfie of Livia Chu
Livia Chu. Photo taken by Livia Chu

What was yout first cosplay?
My very first cosplay was the fishing tunic from Final Fantasy XI. My friend and I made it a few hours before the Final Fantasy XI event on her toy sewing machine. It started my love of making costumes!

How did you get into cosplay, and how long have you been doing it?
Like I said earlier, when I was in high school I was part of the anime club and the president asked me one day if I wanted to cosplay with her for a Final Fantasy XI event that was happening locally. I didn’t know what cosplay was and she helped me whip out an easy costume on her toy sewing machine for the event and she wore a chocobo outfit. I won 6th place in the costume contest and she took home 1st. It was so fun and it got me excited to go to Anime Expo and cosplay every year afterwards. One of my first costumes I made by myself was Ragnarok Online Hunter costume because that was my character from the game. I tend to make costumes from video games and anime I enjoy.

Favourite cosplay you’ve done so far?
My favorite would have to be the movie version of Wonder Woman and also Devil Mercy skin from Overwatch. Those are two of my favorite characters from a comic book and videogame.

Any advice for beginner cosplayers, or people wanting to get into cosplaying?
Do what you love and feel passionate about and not what you think will get likes. When you are truly stoked about something it shows and people love that because they are able to get to know the real you.

How do you go about choosing which cosplays to make and wear?
I like to make things that I really like or get excited about. I have to be inspired otherwise I won’t feel motivated to make the costume so it really has to be something I love.

You’ve been a cosplayer for a number of years. How has the cosplay scene changed over your time as a cosplayer?
It has expanded and become more main stream. More people are able to make a living off of cosplay, props, and all kinds of art related to costuming and fandoms.

You used to cosplay under the name Chubear Cosplay. What prompted the brand/name change?
I decided to change the name because people were having difficulty pronouncing it. They thought it was pronounced “chubbier” cosplay or “chub-ear” cosplay. I realized this may cause confusion for people that follow my craft, so I decided to change it to my name. Plus, by using my name, I felt it was a bit more personal with my followers and can connect with them as a friend rather than just a “cosplayer”.

Back in 2015 you helped the Try Guys with their Sailor Moon cosplays. How did you get involved in that, and how was the experience?
I was contacted by the Try Guys to do the series. I think they messaged me because I was one of the cosplay guests at Anime Expo at the time. It was really fun and interesting. I never knew what went on behind the scenes to create one of the videos. It takes a lot of work, planning, editing, and coordination.

For a while you did boudoir photoshoots. Can you tell us more about your career doing that (eg how you got into it, how you chose who to work with, why you stopped doing it)?
I didn’t really have a career doing boudoir. I did a few sets of fashion and boudoir to push my limit a bit on how well I would do with that type of modeling. I always did my best to research what type of posing and look to hopefully convey a feel of a confidant and sexy persona. Because I don’t think I am a very good model, I usually work with friends or people I feel comfortable with. If it is a photographer I am unfamiliar with, I will usually look at their portfolio and see if their style matches with my vision for the photo we can create. It’s very important to feel comfortable and safe with the photographer and have good open communication to guide and be patient with each other. I stopped doing boudoir because I wasn’t too interested or felt inspired to do another set. I also had to stop doing creative things for awhile because of going back to school and working full time at a pediatric office.

A number of your cosplays have been from Overwatch, mainly D.Va and Mercy. What drew you to making cosplays from that game?
I mained Mercy on Overwatch for a very long time and I also loved some of her costume designs. I learned to make my first pair of wings from making this costume! I also wanted to make D.Va because she’s so cute and her design reminded me of Asuka from Evangelion, one of my favorite animes. She is also one of the few Asian female characters in media and it’s nice to be able to represent.

Do you have a favourite Overwatch cosplay?
Devil Mercy is definitely my favorite Overwatch cosplay.

Back in 2017 you made a post to Instagram talking about becoming a real life Mercy (by getting qualified as a physician’s assistant or nurse practicioner). Can you tell us more about you’re journey you’re taking towards making it come true?
I took a break from cosplay because I was heavily considering going back to school in order to fulfill a dream of mine to be in the medical field. Growing up, I never thought I would be someone smart enough to be in this field, but I decided to give it a shot. I took two intensive medical assisting program, learned I loved working with kids, and after my externship, I was hired to work for Stanford pediatric neurology. In order to apply for PA and NP school, I needed to have a certain amount of working hours in the field and prerequisite classes as my bachelors degree is in a completely different field. Right now I’ve completed my hours as a medical assistant and will be starting the prerequisite classes soon for the next few years before transferring to a PA/NP program.

Are there any other projects you’re working on that you want to share with us?
I’m just working on random projects right now, but no real due date. Mainly focusing on creating content for my Twitch channel and making new friends through streaming and my discord channel!

You’ve also recently starting streaming on Twitch. What inspired you to start streaming?
I wanted to start streaming because after being away for so long in the community, I really wanted a way to reconnect with everyone and also still be able to juggle my life outside of it.

What do you think of streaming so far?
So far it has been really fun, stressful, and positive. I am truly awful with technology and super blessed that my friends have been helping me baby-step using equipment and programs. It’s surprisingly a lot of work to get it up and running smoothly for a few hours. It’s also been an incredible experience creating a discord server and seeing all the people make new friends!

Which cosplayer would you love to work with?
Right now I am more focused on twitch and less on cosplay. I still love cosplay and will definitely make things at my own pace, but who knows if in the future a collab opportunity could come up!

If someone wanted to do a cosplay collaboration with you, what would be the best way for them to reach out?
The collab would have to be something I’m really passionate about to convince me because cosplay truly is a lot of stress, anxiety, hard work, and expensive. The best way is to probably just reach out and talk to me and tell me your idea and vision for what you want to create.

Any group cosplays you’d want to do (eg Mystery Inc, Sailor Scouts, Avengers, X-Men, etc)?
No real plans for a group cosplay right now. I wanted to cosplay a couple costume with my friend Miss Lori Lynn, but it will take some time to finish!

Are there any cosplayers you think deserve more attention/coverage?
Hoku Props and Brandon Gilbert are the most amazing humans ever. I also think the prop makers that help cosplayers make their costumes come to life need some love too like Flux Tide Designs, Habiteer Workshop, and Obsydiann Props.

Where can we find you online (social media etc)?
Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Twitch/Discord under the handle @itsLiviaChu are my only social media platforms.