You may have attended plenty of cosplay events on our sunny island, but this will probably be the first time you’ll see an Italian one. Meet Leon Chiro (pronounced ‘keero’), cosplayer from Italy, and the official cosplayer for Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed), Square Enix (Final Fantasy XV), and Capcom (Devil May Cry); he’s currently the official cos-model for the champion Rakan from League of Legends.
With a keen eye for props and makeup – he is also a model – he’s been making the cosplay circuit worldwide. Coupled with his enviable physique which he trains hard for (he’s also an ex-national champion athlete!), he’s garnered an army of fans (granted, mostly women). So what’s the man behind the costume like? Very bubbly, and full of energy, as it turns out.
What will you be cosplaying as for STGCC? Are we able to get a sneak peek at it?
Well… I may have something new, it really depends of the time because this year my schedule is CRAZY! I’m pretty sure you will be able to meet JIN from TEKKEN and who knows? A new version of my Dante maybe? Or you know what? Just come and see me at STGCC!
Fitness model, athlete, cosplayer – how much time do you spend as each of these?
Training is extremely important, and that’s not for an aesthetic purpose – it’s for my health and personal satisfaction in my cosplay performances. I do train a lot (5 times per week). In order to be the cosplayer that I am, I always want to make sure I have the complete package. (here’s a sneak peek of his ‘package’)
How many cosplay events or competitions do you attend per month? And how do you spend the rest of your time?
I attend around 4 events per month and I always manage to train even when I’m abroad (hotel gym/free body exercises, etc ). I don’t have that much time for myself to be honest, but I’m happy!
You’re currently a student at the Vigamus Academy University. How did you balance university, training, and cosplaying? Is there a formula?
YES! And that’s called MOTIVATION. We all have limited time to do everything but if you manage a way to be extremely motivated in your goals, you can do everything you want! I’m going for my degree soon and I can’t be happier than this. The same goes for training – I always find time for my training because I feel healthier and at peace with myself. I’m a very balanced person, especially from an energetic point of view!
You mentioned that you had a number of haters when you started your journey as a cosplayer – how has that changed now that you are more a known entity?
It changed because I proved they were wrong. And I didn’t prove that to them, but to MYSELF. If you’re at peace with yourself and you love what you do because it makes you satisfied and happy, then go for it! When I started focusing on my own steps, I realised I got pretty high without even noticing it. That’s simply because I didn’t spend time looking back or replying to the negativity.
Where do you think most of your fans come from?
Based on what my Instagram Insights say, the US is in my pole position! On my top 10, I have Mexico, Russia, Germany, India, Chile and Italy! Singapore is also in a good position with 4% of my total followers!
What skills did you have to learn as you matured into a pro cosplayer?
Marketing myself has been very intense because this business is very hard to manage! The future is with videogames and cosplays, so it’s very important to make everybody understand that this is an actual job. There’s a lot of sacrifice and hard work behind every career and we all have to do our best to give justice to our passions. I improved a lot during the last few years and I’ve had a lot of experiences thanks to all my worldwide trips.
How did you gain exposure as a cosplayer?
I’ve always worked hard and I’ve made crazy decisions, but I was sure of my own values so I persevered. This is why you always have to follow your dreams no matter what! Don’t let people tell you how your life should be, because you’re the best director of your own life.
Which male cosplayer do you admire? Who do you think is your closest competitor?
I don’t think I have competitors because I see everybody as a huge family working together to make this community a better place! I admire everybody doing something GOOD and POSITIVE for this community, it doesn’t matter how many likes/visibility an artist has, we can all share a great message if we keep doing what we do with love.
As someone firmly rooted in cosplay and video games (he even studies at a school specialising in the video game industry), Leon is definitely one of the most bubbly cosplayers we’ve met, and it you can definitely feel his positive vibes – just check his Instagram, Facebook and Patreon. We dare you not to stare at his abs for hours.
Here’s a parting message from Leon: “Live, love, get inspired, inspire people, share positivity and be yourself. You won’t have any regrets, trust me! :)”
You can meet Leon and other international cosplay guests at STGCC on Sept 9-10 at Marina Bay Sands – catch him at the AKIBA Zone. He’ll also be a guest judge at the STGCC Championships of Cosplay. Get your tickets here.