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Emiru Talks About Her Streaming Beginnings, Cosplay Inspirations, And League Of Legends - Exclusive Interview

The worlds of video gaming and cosplay have always been intertwined, but few connect the two scenes quite like Emiru. The popular "League of Legends" streamer has become well-known for her detailed outfits and immaculate makeup that have helped her recreate characters from contemporary titles like "Genshin Impact," as well as iconic figures such as Link.

Emiru's cosplay has become so well regarded that she even inadvertently served as a point of inspiration for the "League of Legends" character Gwen. Her influence on the hero was unknown to her until she decided to cosplay as Gwen and share the results on social media, which inspired Anniosart, an illustrator at Riot Games, to tweet, "It's all come full circle! I had some of [your] makeup looks saved in my reference board for the splash."

To find out more about that exciting turn of events and to get more insight into her career with esports org Cloud9, SVG sat down with Emiru in an exclusive interview. Here is what Emiru had to say about getting started as a streamer, coming up with new cosplay outfits, and staying engaged with "League of Legends."

Emiru talks about streaming and being a part of Cloud9

It has been about a year since you joined Cloud9. How has being a part of that organization changed your streaming experience?

It's been great getting to collab with other people more and have more opportunities. And then also just getting to represent a team and brand that I really like.

Do you have anything planned to celebrate the anniversary?

Well, I am going to visit them in about a week. I'm going to LA to go to their headquarters and stuff. We're going to race cars and stuff.

How did you get involved with streaming?

I saw one streamer through YouTube, which was Trick2g, and that's how I discovered Twitch. I started watching him, and then I kind of just tried it myself as a hobby and ended up liking it.

What would you say is the hardest part about getting to where you are now as a streamer?

Hmm. I guess just having patience and dealing with the low points. There's a lot of ups and downs as a streamer, at least for most streamers. And there can be a lot of difficult points or kind of stale periods. 

Are there any streamers out there that you haven't worked with that you would like to?

I'd love to play games with Valkyrae. I do follow her, and she follows me, and I think we've interacted a couple of times, but I never really asked people to do stuff because I'm kind of shy.

Emiru remembers becoming a part of League of Legends

So how exciting was it to find out that you inspired the artwork for Gwen in "League of Legends?"

That was really surprising. Ever since I started streaming "League," people would say I look similar to characters pretty often because of my makeup style. When Gwen was released, there were a lot more people saying that she reminded me of her than normal, but I didn't think anything of it. I was just like, "Oh, that's cool. Another character I can cosplay." 

And when I did my big cosplay of it, the artist who painted Gwen was like, "Oh yeah, I had you on the reference board for her." So I was like, "Wow." So it's kind of like I have a small piece in the game that is my life.

What draws you to "League of Legends" over other games?

The competitiveness, I think. And the community has always been pretty big and active, even though the game has been out for 11 years now.

It seems like you've been switching it up lately with games like "Legends of Runeterra" and "Valorant." What makes you decide to change the game you're streaming?

I never force myself to play "League" if I don't want to play it, which I notice a lot of streamers do that. And then they get burnt out and have to take long breaks from "League" or even quit. But for "Runeterra" and "Valorant," it's because I was doing those because of Twitch Rivals tournament stuff.

But yeah, sometimes I just need to play other games to take a break from "League."

Emiru talks cosplaying Link and her inspirations

Your Link cosplay from last December got a lot of attention. Was there something different about the reaction to that cosplay?

I guess maybe because Link's a character that most people know and like, but isn't cosplayed very often, because that cosplay blew up and got millions of views on all of my social media. But I think also maybe because of it being a surprise factor. People know that I'm a girl, and then I turned into kind of a convincing guy. So maybe that's also part of it. I was surprised by that one. I didn't think that one was going to be popular at all. I was kind of just doing that one for fun.

What draws you to cosplay a character? Are you more attracted to the design of a character, or is it more about the connection you have with the character?

Both. Sometimes I will just cosplay a character because their design appeals to me. But I do notice that when I cosplay a character that I picked because I liked them a lot and feel a connection to them, it usually turns out a lot better and people like it more. Maybe because I spend more time on it or more attention to it or something?

Did your interests in gaming and cosplay develop together, or were they separate?

Definitely separate. I mean, they're both from childhood. I did grow up playing N64 and GameCube games. But cosplay, I kind of just played dress-up as a kid. My parents would buy me a lot of costumes, and it kind of started from there, but I didn't start putting my own costumes together or buying my own costumes until middle school or something like that.

Emiru on the challenges and rewards of cosplay

What is your process for coming up with a new cosplay?

Sometimes I will just like be bored and browse the internet and say, "Oh, I should do this character." Because I kind of collect cosplay costumes as well. I think I have over 200 costumes now, but most of which I've bought from retailers. To me, they are kind of collection pieces.

For cosplays that I make, I kind of try to just break them down into smaller pieces. Like, "Okay, I can use this shirt or alter this skirt, or for this prop, I'll do this." So it kind of just depends on what I'm doing.

What is the most challenging cosplay you've done so far?

I mean, we talked about my Link cosplay before, but that one was kind of rough for me because I didn't like how it looked up first because it was a mix of I want to look like a guy and being like, "I don't look masculine enough."

Link's kind of androgynous, but I really didn't want to post that one, but I did it anyway because someone helped me put the costume together. So I didn't want to let them down. Some of my cosplays, I am not happy with the results, so then it's like, do I waste all my time and effort? Or do I just put it out there anyway?

Emiru explains what cosplay is all about

Was there something specific about the Link cosplay that kept you from posting it at first?

I felt like my face didn't fit that well, but that's a thing a lot of cosplayers struggle with. They feel like, "Oh, I don't fit this character," but then I always tell people that it doesn't matter.

You should just dress up and have fun. But that's something that I also struggle with. So I can relate to that. And I do also agree that you should just have fun and wear it, but then a lot of cosplayers are perfectionists, especially with things that are hard to change.

Do you remember what the first cosplay event that you went to was?

I think it was Anime Expo in 2016. I actually didn't bring a cosplay, but there was someone I met there that was like, "Oh, I have this D.Va cosplay that's a spare that I think would look great on you. You should wear it." So I wore it and walked around.

So that was my first experience. Because before that, I never planned to cosplay at a con because I'm like, "Oh, it'd be so uncomfortable." And I also get nervous taking pictures with people I don't know. But after that, I thought it was really fun. So it's something that I enjoy now.