Hello everyone, and welcome to another week of Cosplay Friday!
We’re at week #51, which means our next feature will be out 52nd or 1 year feature for Cosplay Friday!
We’re very excited about this, obviously, and we do have something lined up, but, for now, let’s get to meet our next cosplay feature, Karen Sakai! Wanna know more? Read on ;)
Model Name: Karen Sakai
Photography by: Kaman Photography – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kaman-Photography/1420608228190877
Photography: Kaman Photography / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kaman-Photography/1420608228190877
Photography: Studio Henshin Photography / https://www.facebook.com/studiohenshin
Q. What’s your name, and care to tell a bit about yourself
My name is Karen Sakai and I’m a part-time cosplayer. I started out over a decade ago, but it was not socially acceptable for females to do that so I stopped. I recently started to do generic modeling and saw that cosplay is much more popular than it was when I started. I know I started late, but it’s something that I find very fun and relaxing to do. Other things about me are I am a United States Navy veteran. I was a police officer (Master-At-Arms). I also have two bachelor degrees in anthropology and primate behavior and ecology. I practiced American Sign Language with chimpanzees.
How long have you been cosplaying?
I’ve only been cosplaying for a few months. I’m not that good but practice makes perfect!
What got you into cosplay?
My heritage is Japanese so I’ve always been a fan of anime, manga, video games and comics etc. I loved to be the devils advocate and I always wanted to be the role of the bad guys. My first cosplay was Weevil Underwood from Yugioh. He was such a jerk haha. That was my first cosplay, which of course, got me hooked. I love dressing up as characters!
What or who has inspired you the most when it comes to Cosplay?
Hmmm. Probably my friends. Cosplay is a hobby just like anything else such as football, skiing, baseball or even dungeon and dragons. At times, I will get condescending looks of “Playing slutty Halloween” which of course kinda stings emotionally, but my friends keep telling me that if it’s something I love, then I should keep pursuing it – no matter who and what the haters are pinpointing. That’s why I got by that little saying on my fan page: “be yourself, be inspired”.
Q. Do you have any modeling experience?
Yes, I have modeling experience. I also do basic modeling, but cosplaying Is way more fun!
Q. How has cosplaying changed your life?
I always used to be that “weird nerdy ugly duckling”. I have self-esteem issues. But now that I’m cosplaying and have fans and friends that look up to me, I feel like I’ve grown into a new bad-ass swan. I still struggle with self-esteem issues at times, but when I cosplay, I feel so powerful, almost like a leader. A leader that wants to say: “Hey! You with the frown! Fuck other people – do what you want!!!”
Q. What does ‘Cosplay’ mean to you?
As a Japanese speaker, cosplay means: “costume play!” But it also means to have fun while being a character that you want to be – take a walk in someone’s shoes!
Q. What are your plans for the future? Cosplay or Non-Cosplay.
I’m reaaaaaallllly hoping I get big with cosplay. I want people to know my name in the whole nerd/geek community. I want to be featured in magazines and invited to conventions all over the world. That’s my dream but as a realist, I believe that I started too late to become big. I would love to be in the place of Han or Nigiri, but I highly doubt I will ever reach that stage. My plans right now are to get into a private medical school that was just built a few years ago that is close to where I’m living now. I would like to become a plastic surgeon one day.
Q. What’s your favorite cosplay so far?
My favorite cosplay is Jaina Proudmoore (Warcraft 3/World of Warcraft). I always loved her as a kid growing up – she was elegant, powerful, beautiful & she got to hook up with powerful dudes ha ha. Her cosplay was my first full-blown-everything-created-by-hand cosplay I did. My other cosplays involved some sewing here & there, but Jaina’s was my first full everything.
How long did it take you to create that cosplay?
Jesus, it probably took about two months. It was an on and off thing since I’ve been so busy lately.
Q. What do you think was your least favorite cosplay, if any?
Well…I like ALL my cosplays, but if I had to choose my least, it would probably be my slave Princess Leia. I know, here comes the rages and hate. Princess Leia is a fucking badass, not a slutty excuse to dress up. I’m kind of tired of people hyping her up to be this slutty icon that all girls use to get attention. I won’t lie, I feel like slave Leia and Black Cat is a somewhat…an ”initiation” that all (female) cosplayers go through to get their fans increased. I won’t lie, I did it. I did a slave Leia and I’m working on a Black Cat. I am new cosplayer and some of those tactics work. I really like Star Wars and Princess Leia is a fucking badass who has multiple costumes (her Hoth is my favorite) but even though this might be hypocritical of me, I believe that slave Leia is not much of a cosplay but as a “filler”.
How long did it take you to create that cosplay?
I received the costume as a gift. It’s very cheap but I will start altering it for an actual photo-shoot. It might take about a week to fix it up to be…”cosplay worthy”.
Q. If you ever bought a cosplay, how did it turn out, and where did you buy it from?
My slave Princess Leia is the only one that was bought. It was from my Amazon Wish List. It was very cheaply made but it can be improved (which I’m working on).
Do you have any plans to work with cosplay modeling or modeling websites?
I wish!!! I hope to be big enough to where the invite me! Right now, I am on Sexy Nerd Society.
Q. How do you go about creating a cosplay?
I draw out what I need and I start from one area and work to a next area. In other words, I’m currently working on a Katarina (League of Legends) cosplay. I first started out making her swords. Next, I’ll work on her bracers. Next, her daggers, then shirt, then pants, etc etc. It helps to shrink and focus on one area rather than the WHOLE thing. I get overwhelmed when I have to focus on more than 2 areas at once. It’s much easier to start at one spot, finish it, and then move on. Eventually they will all connect in the end!
Q. What materials do you use or recommend to others?
I love Worbla. It’s mendable plastic. I use it for armor. It’s easy to mold and to paint and it keeps a nice sold state once it’s cooled (you heat it up to bend and mold it). I also like paper clay and model magic – but the most common materials I use are acrylic paints!!
Q. Do you have any hints or tips for other cosplayers?
YES- I wish I knew this at the beginning, but there is NO ONE WAY of doing cosplay. There are thousands of ways to go about it & you just have to trial and error. It’s the only way. Good luck and have fun!!
Thank you Karen, for the lovely interview and allowing us to get to know you! We will continue to watch you grow as a cosplay model and wish you the best!
To everyone else, we hope our next Cosplay Friday segment, #52 is something you’re looking forward to, as it’s something we are looking forward to, for sure!