4 April 2015

The focus for our latest Community Spotlight is a talented cosplayer, model and musician from Greece, Irene Astral.

Irene's portrayal of the latest incarnation of Lara's character is incredible and photographs from her photoshoot has graced numerous websites including official channels. She captures the strength, bravery and beauty of Lara's character perfectly.

Cosplay by: Irene Astral | Photography by: SpirosK Photography

Her costume and ability to reflect the personality those who she portrays is a special talent that takes years of careful mastering. From the weathered look to the detail of the props, Irene brings the character to life in a unique way. Something really special about the album is how comfortable she looks within the cosplay; the outfit has been clearly tailored to mirror Lara while also looking like it's something Irene would wear herself.

Cosplay by: Irene Astral | Photography by: SpirosK Photography

While dark and muddy environments were the usual backdrop for Lara's latest adventure, Irene's photoshot is more reminiscent of the game's closing sequence. There's certainly an impression of, not only determination, but familiarization with her surroundings that the character had at the end; where dangerous situations were challenges rather than impossible encounters. 

Cosplay by: Irene Astral | Photography by: SpirosK Photography

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to catch up with Irene and speak to her about her cosplay:

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a Greek cosplayer, artist and agency represented model. Apart from my cosplay costumes, I also love making my own clothes and accessories. I am a student at the National University of Athens currently obtaining my Master’s degree on Applied Environmental Geology. I am a former alpine skier and track athlete. In my free time I enjoy playing video games, watching movies, and long walks around the city of Athens.

What inspired you to cosplay as Lara Croft?

The fact that she’s a young scientist ready to begin with her adventure. She’s an archaeologist, and I’m a geologist, both occupations require field trips in the wilderness. Her outfit, especially the one in the last Tomb Raider game, is really similar to mine when I go on such trips, so it was an easy yet exciting character to cosplay. Although the costume was easy to make, the character gave me the opportunity to try new poses and expressions, something I really enjoyed.

What tips would you give to someone who wants to cosplay the character?

Although it’s an easy costume, there are important details that have to be addressed. One should study many reference pictures in order to find out where the bandages, blood stains and other marks are located. Also, one should not be afraid of getting dirty. I had to climb, crawl and dive in dirt just to give my outfit that weathered feel.

How did you go about searching for locations for your photos?

To be honest, that was the photographer’s task. There’s a mountain close to Athens, Parnitha Mountain, where all our locations were found. SpirosK, my photographer, had previously worked in that area on various projects, so it was easy for him to find the perfect location. For the beach photos, we headed to the Northern shores of Attica to find what we wanted.

Looking back at when you started cosplaying, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

I have always been a crafter experimenting with different materials. But since I had only worked on original designs I could customize them to fit my skills and methods. That’s not the case when dealing with somebody else’s art. You need to be precise, so you have to recreate a specific design in real life, with the very same textures and the very same feel. Since many characters are not meant to wander around in real life, it’s a real challenge bringing them to our world. I’m always researching new materials and methods and try to create my own patterns from scratch. That’s not an easy task; it requires patience, skill and dedication. Up to this day I always strive to become better.

Cosplay by: Irene Astral | Photography by: SpirosK Photography

Thank you to Irene for the interview!

You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Deviant Art.


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