Videogame Cosplay Interview: Julie Beliveau as Lightning from Final Fantasy 13


In our continuing videogame cosplay series, we bring to you Julie Beliveau as Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. This 22 year old beauty has lived in Florida nearly all of her life and is a retail associate and attends the Academy of Art University, hoping to achieve her bachelors degree in computer animation. She has been gaming since the Mario bros came on the scene, back in the days of 2-D gaming. She loves RPGS for their rich worlds and characters. She is also known to play MMORPGs as well as the occasional first person shooter. She started getting into costuming when Final Fantasy X came around. Yuna’s costume was what inspired her, before then she loved a lot of character designs, her pseudo kimono sent her right over the edge. She loves cosplay but has friends both in and outside of this world and it has not hindered her social life in any way. Julie was recognized by one of Japan’s top cosplay magazines, Cosmode, this is a rare honor for an American. This makes interviewing Julie Beliveau even more special.


1. As a female cosplayer, why did you take an interest in this character and how close does the character resemble your personality?

“Lightning attracted me from the very moment she hit the media. She’s strong, athletic and had a very interesting design. Her outfit is very clean cut and not extremely futuristic. I’m currently playing through the game, so I’ve had a chance to meet her. We’re both stubborn, strong willed, and mature beyond our age. I can really connect with her.”

2. What initially drew you to play the game?

“I’ve always been a loyal fan of the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy XIII is much different though from its predecessors. Its set in a unique semi-futuristic world known as Cocoon, placed above a world with harsh terrain that’s crawling with nothing but monsters known as Gran Pulse. One of Square-Enix‘s tag lines for the game in the beginning was, “She was sent to destroy the world.” it cued my interest because Lightning didn’t appear to be a destroyer of any world.”


3. Did the character’s appearance affect your opinion of the game?

“Oh yes, every thing about her appearance was really attracting, even with her light pink hair. She really brought something new to the Final Fantasy table in regards to main characters. I find her to be a refreshing change to the series. She is all about kicking ass, and she doesn’t care to take names. She doesn’t battle in bikinis or scantily clad outfits, she’s a tough girl.”

4. Would you have played the game if this character was played by a male equivalent?

“Most likely, I’ve always been a loyal fan of the Final Fantasy series.”


5. Is she your favorite video game babe? If so why, if not who is?

“Lightning is now my #1 favorite. My past #1 was KOS-MOS from the Xenosaga series. I really like the stronger female characters, because I can relate more to them. I’m not a damsel in distress type of girl after all. (laughs)”

6. What drove you to put in the work to make this character’s outfit and how did you go about making it?

“I had taken a year off from cosplaying after I moved in with my boyfriend, Quen. I wanted to get back into cosplaying as well as con-going and I wanted to make a re-entrance with something really awesome and very detailed. My fellow cosplayers pushed me to work on Lightning, and so I did. It took me three long months of work to make sure I had every detail in place. Afterwards I spent an additional two weeks updating the costume to be more accurate. I made the costume with materials that I thought closely resembled what was used in her outfit. It also included a lot of hardware work, of which I had never done before. As well as some minor leather working. The new shoulder armor that I made (Which I’m really proud of) actually has battery operated electroluminescent yellow wire in it to make it glow. I spent a lot of time studying the costume, down to every pocket, zipper and belt, and in the end I’m extremely satisfied with how it turned out. It just goes to show you that the more time and effort you put into your work the more it shows.”


7. What do you personally feel when you are portraying the character and why do you choose to cosplay her?

“In any cosplay, I still feel like myself. Except for when I’m posing for photos. I put my mind into what I like to call ‘Lightning’ mode. In this mode I’m capable of mustering up a serious or fierce facial expression like the character. It really works well for the photos. I try to think about being in her shoes and doing what she does. I chose her over the other characters because of some of our similarities. Not only that, I really loved her weapon, a transforming gunblade.”


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