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Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our eighty-seventh guests the webmaster of the excellent costuming site Corellian Dawn – Jules Corellia.

Lightsabre – Julia, welcome to Lightsabre.

JC – Thanks, Mark, for the invitation. Feels good to be here.

Lightsabre – You clearly love the Star Wars films, as evidenced by the brilliant costumes shown off by yourself and your fellow posters on Corellian Dawn. What is it about Star Wars that attracts you?

JC – Gee, saying I don’t really know wouldn’t sound cool now, would it? I’ve seen the movies on TV when I was 12, and I was an instant fan. The magic was just there, and I never really thought about where it came from. I’ve always been fascinated by space flight and astronomy, and also technological developments, and I guess that in combination with the epic battles between good and evil was what did the trick for me. Oh, and of course there’s the Lightsabre’s, THE coolest weapons ever 😉

It’s been 15 years now, and the fascination is still there and even growing stronger.

Lightsabre – Tell us something about yourself. What kick-started your interest in costuming and what led you to Corellian Dawn?

JC – Well, I didn’t wake up one day saying “I’m going to be a cosplayer now” – It was more like a slow development that started with a funny comment from a friend at college. I’ve always been a passionate gamer, and people knew I was a fan of Lara Croft as well, and someday he told me that he thought my way of dressing was very “Lara Croft style” (which of course doesn’t mean that I’m running around in tight shorts and with guns strapped to my legs every other day!!) – so the next Halloween, I decided to try and dress up as Lara for fun. I did some costume research on the internet, and found out that there was actually a *huge* community of people doing just that, dressing up as Lara or other characters and having fun sharing their photos. I had never before heard the word “cosplay” back then, and I was overwhelmed at the love and dedication people put into their costumes. Seeing all the wonderful photos inspired me to improve my own stuff, so that I could join up and become a part of that international community.

I’ve been making websites since 1998, and I’ve set up and deleted more than a few over time. I designed some for friends and family, and later for myself. I used to have a website back in 2005 where I presented my costumes, but after getting a lot of insulting guestbook entries and e-mails I decided to take it offline again. I was close to giving up cosplay completely, but… in the end I couldn’t. So I set up a new, better website, one that wasn’t going to be about me, but dedicated to cosplay in general, where everyone who wanted could have their pictures posted without having to worry about their looks, age, or their costumes quality. It started out pretty small, with only a handful of girls from the forums letting me publish their pics, but it’s grown a lot in the last year. We now have almost 40 cosplayers sharing their works and sending updates regularly.

Lightsabre – What is it like to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon?

JC – It’s cool,and it’s a lot of fun. The fan base is so incredibly huge, and every single fan doing his very personal thing, even if it’s the tiniest contribution, is equally important, as it’s the works of the million fans that made this wonderful community what it is today. People from all countries, of different age, skin colour, and confession, are drawn together by that unique phenomenon. It’s good to know that there are things bringing people together regardless of their origin and lifestyle. If that isn’t larger than life, I don’t know what is 😉

I enjoy the occasional dip into this universe, and I am grateful beyond words for the many lovely friends I have found, who are the most creative, supportive, and cool people I know.

Lightsabre – Costuming, more than almost any other fan activity, is a labour of love. What drives you to perfect your costumes?

JC – I have to admit that I’m not a perfectionist at all. Most of my costumes are far from being perfect when you look at them close-up. I’m also not a very competitive person, so when I see someone posting brilliant pictures, that doesn’t drive me to say I want to be as good or better. I just do what I can, and I try not to spend too much money. I mostly want to have fun doing it, and enjoy the time, not stress out over being perfect 😉

Lightsabre – Costuming is very labour intensive. How do you fit it into your weekly schedule?

JC – Being self employed (I work as a freelance graphic designer for a public relations agency) , I have little trouble finding spare time for making costumes and maintaining my website. There are times I even feel like I spend way too much time at the computer doing all this stuff and managing photos and profiles. Sometimes it takes a lot to drag me away from this and get me back into the “real” world.

Lightsabre – The new Star Wars TV shows are on the way. What are you hoping to see from them?

JC – Whew… I’m not sure. I hope to see stories that fit in with the classic universe both in plot and style. Whatever lies ahead, I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to catch a first glimpse. We here in Austria will of course have to wait a lot longer to see anything on TV than people in the US or UK.

Lightsabre – You also have a great affinity for Lara Croft of Tomb Raider. Apart from the obvious physical resemblance, what draws you to Lara?

JC – A pretty girl going her way and kicking butt… how can you not be drawn to that? I guess it’s the combination of smart and beautiful that makes Lara so attractive not only for me but for the millions of other fans as well. Somebody once said “Women want to be her, men want to be with her” – I think that pretty much hits the point. She’s drop-dead gorgeous, but also has the brains and self confidence to go her own way. Plus, I’ve always been very interested in archaeology and ancient history, which also added to the attraction. I wish I was a little more like Lara in real life.

Lightsabre – Which of the myriad Star Wars characters do you feel the most affinity for?

JC – Jaina Solo and Mara Jade. Both are strong women and know what they want, but they aren’t smooth personalities or plain lovely or good characters. They have their flaws and desperate times, and they’ve brushed with the Dark Side too. I love complex characters that are more than meets the eye and also have that little spark of darkness inside.

Other than that, my favourite characters also include Kyle Katarn and Jagged Fel, and I’m a huge fan of Boba Fett. Fett’s way of dealing with the world and his dislike of unessential conversation is something I could always identify with, and I admire his professionalism and his straightforward-ness. I have to say, though, that I always loved the mystery surrounding Fett’s origin and past, and that I would have preferred if if had remained a mystery forever.

Lightsabre – Tell us something of your other interests outside of costuming?

JC – I also write fan fiction stories… or say I’m trying to. I’ve been writing and making up stories for more than 10 years now, but while most of them are complete in my mind, only little of the stuff made it to paper/the screen yet. Typing isn’t something I’m good at, and I’m not patient either (hell, I’d make a crappy Jedi wouldn’t I?).

I do have a life other than sci-fi and computer stuff too, which includes caring for our many pets (we have bunnies, a dog, a bird, and a hamster), working in the garden, or just relaxing with a good book. I read a lot, I collect DVDs, and I love going to the movies and riding my motorbike. In summer, I enjoy biking and swimming, and in winter I go skiing with my family, sledging, or ice skating. There are the advantages of living in an alpine country.

Some other things I’m interested in are cooking with friends, good food, drawing, archaeology, geology, tech gadgets, playing console games… the list is never-ending I guess. I’m also a huge soccer fan, and I’m very excited about next year’s Euro 2008 taking place here in Austria, even though my favourite team, England, didn’t qualify. I love animals and Nature a lot, and I enjoy to travel whenever I have enough money for it. I’ve seen some wonderful places already, like Iceland, Israel, Alaska, Tunisia (yeah, for the obvious Star Wars tourist Tatooine reason); and then there was Australia, where my husband and me got married.

Lightsabre – Do you have much contact with other costumers, or are you a member of the 501st?

JC – I wish I were. Living in a country where cosplay isn’t nearly as popular as elsewhere in the world (and people still look at you like you’re a total lunatic when you tell them you’re dressing up as your favourite characters) it’s hard to really be a part of some fan club or organisation that requires active membership. However, I’m in daily contact with cosplayers from all over the world, but only online. I’m on various message boards and websites, sharing my experiences, dreams, and pictures with others.

Lightsabre – What lies ahead for you in the future?

JC – Hmmm…clouded the future is, always in motion. Primarily, and for the near future, I hope Corellian Dawn will continue growing. That means more regular users, more photos, and also the opening of the fan fiction section we have planned for a while now, but we’re still lacking content there. Also, I hope that our brand new message board and discussion forum will gain popularity and attract a lot of regular posters who are interesting in sharing and discussing their costume works, the movies, and games. We really want that place crowded!

Personally, I have some projects for new costumes, a huuuge list of collectibles I want to get, and I hope that someday, my fan fiction series will be finished and maybe even published somewhere online. And my big dream, of course, is to be at one of the really large conventions in the UK or US one day, and meet all the stars and some of my online friends in person.

Lightsabre – A quick question about our site, Lightsabre. Any comments?

JC – Lovely site, and well organized! Would you accept our Corellian Dawn web award? 😀

Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Lightsabre. Just one final question. Lara Croft, Jaina Solo and Ailyn Vel are at the foot of a mountain. The first one to reach the summit wins a cool million dollars. Which one wins, and how?

JC – I’d say Jaina. Apart from being a Jedi and having a lightsaber, she’d know how to outmanoeuvre the others. Jaina’s pretty straightforward, while Lara would probably get hooked on some puzzle along the way or be too busy collecting secrets, and Ailyn would probably try to take the secrets from Lara to make some quick cash to buy more information about her father… so Jaina wins.

Trouble is, what would Jaina do with a million Dollars? I doubt the Galactic Bank could change them to Credits, can they?

This interview was originally published on www.lightsabre.co.uk on 25th November 2007.