SMC: Why did you start cosplaying?
Kyatto: I grew up around it. My mom is a cosplayer, technically. She’s been doing conventions and Renn Faires since before I was born. Though I guess technically it wasn’t considered cosplay in the mainstream sense back then. She always made my Halloween costumes and I always had a hand in them. I even dressed up in costumes for my birthday. My first official “cosplay” was at Worldcon in 1998 in Baltimore. I was 8 years old. My mother constructed and handbeaded a Simba costume for me based on the Lion King Broadway production. Due to my age we had to enter the Young Fan category but she still won a workmanship. My first selfmade costume was two years later when I modified an old school uniform of mine to be Sana Kurata from Kodocha (aka Child’s Toy or Kodomo no Omocha) and danced in Katsucon’s cosplay contest to the show’s opening. This was back when fansubs weren’t readily available online and were absolute bootlegs. I have different views on anime piracy now, with how much the internet aspect to it has harmed the industry compared to the earlier days of hunting down tapes. But without the bootleg “purple Barney tapes” I wouldn’t have been exposed to as much anime as I had been early on aside from more “mainstream” anime like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and DBZ on TV. I started because it was something that was a shared love between my mother and I. We still work together to this day, over a decade later.
SMC: What was the first convention where you cosplayed?
Kyatto: Worldcon 1998 in Baltimore we entered the masquerade. My mom ran a table in the writer’s area to promote her new novel (published a year earlier) so we didn’t do any hall outfits. When my mom was busy I hung out in the craft area of the Children’s Programming area where I tried making all kinds of costume pieces using scraps of fabric, blue, and staples. I did successfully make a skirt that way that could pass for a “pirate wench skirt”. Haha. The reception my mom and I got for our Lion King costume really fuelled me into wanting to do more conventions and costumes because it was so much fun. And it seemed to blow people’s minds that I was a little kid figuring these things out.
But since that was a masquerade and not official “cosplay”. My first convention where I cosplayed would have to be that Katsucon in either 2000 or 2001 where I entered as a kid as Sana Kurata. That was definitely cosplay because I even did the dance based on the anime’s first opening. 🙂 (people who knew me back then when I was 11 years old could tell you I captured Sana’s character to a t and how sad I was that it was so hard to find accessories or proper merch for the show at the time like the Babbito-themed recorder she used all the time I would’ve loved to have one. haha
SMC: What has been your most memorable convention moment so far?
Kyatto: This…. This is hard. Because I don’t want to insult anyone. Especially any of my friends. Over the years I have been to so many cons. All over Texas, all over the east coast, even California, Vegas, Atlanta, and Chicago. Though right now most of my current friends are in my Texas nerd scene.
So to be fair I have to give 2 –
#1 ) In 2006 I decided to have my Sweet 16 party at A-kon that year. My parents booked two large conjoining rooms. Not only friends of mine from Texas and Oklahoma came but so did friends of mine from other states (at the time I was “Fuhrer” of a chatroom/community called “Teh Harem” that had members from all over who regularly participated in chats and such and to be honest we were all friends. So other “Haremers” also came in from out of state for this special celebration. Between 2 rooms we must’ve had at least 16 awesome people. Most of that con was us cosplaying FullMetal Alchemist (where I did Ed) and we almost had a full group. When not on the con floor and just hanging out we were privy to “Gluttony’s story time” where a friend who got the online nickname of “Gluttony” would pull random fanfic-type stories out of thin air and spin a web of tales to charm us. Followed by in room party time where the booze would start flowing and the older of the group decided to wander. Which led to issues letting the younger try to leave the room. My brother Buddha played room guard and after our member Aru drank too much and wanted to go to the rave he refused and kept her to the bed where she proclaimed “You’re a mean man. You’re a mean FAT man” to him. Several voice actors popped by to see what the hubbub was included Kevin (voice of Fuery ) and Vic (voice of Ed). It really was the room party to own all room parties that year.
#2) I went to Anime Central in 2010. I went by myself from Philadelphia. Only costume packed was Gwen Cooper from Torchwood to be part of my net friend’s Torchwood group. Aside from that I just packed cute con clothes. I had no idea what to expect as my net friend was the only person I knew upon arriving. But the rest of the group was so welcoming and accepting I couldn’t help but have a great time. The Doctor Who/Torchwood shoot was awesome same for the afterhours shenanigans. Just a lovely weekend of pure fun and hilarity I don’t regret for a second that led to me making longlasting friendships I still have today. Most people warn against going to a con to stay with someone you only know online but I don’t regret it for a second. Those friends are amazing and I can’t wait for the chance to see them again!
SMC: What is your favorite thing about cosplaying at a convention?
Kyatto: That I can be someone other than myself. Cosplay boosts my confidence tenfold. If you look at my recent pictures you’d think “what does this girl have to be self conscious about”? Heck people who don’t know me would probably assume I’m a fake cosplay/fake geek girl just using my looks for attention. But the truth is I’ve been cosplaying for years. I even cosplayed well towards the end of the second trimester of my pregnancy last year before my doctor told me to ease up. I cosplayed when I was recovering from illnesses where the treatments made me swell and gain a lot of weight. The costumes in my closet range from a store size 2 to a 12 and at one point or another in my life I fit into each one of them. Despite not being obese, when I was bigger I was oinked at when cosplaying even though I either crossplayed or was fully covered. And now that I’m more of a ‘model type” in appearance I get accused of being fake. It seems no matter what I do I can’t win.
But I love to cosplay because when the costume is on I can step outside myself and be someone else. I put on the wig, fur, and bodysuit and I’m Felicia Hardy. I put on the gloves, suit, and boots and I’m Power Girl. I put on the dress and wig and I’m Rapunzel delighting all the children who come up to me. When I did Edward Elric I was no longer even female I was that kid alchemist you’d better not make a comment about his height around or else he’d tear you a new one! It really helped me open up all aspects of my creative and social self and allowed me to make friends and be part of a community. Something I never quite had before.
SMC: Related to conventions, where can fans expect to see you next?
Kyatto: November 15, 2014 is a one day Comic Book Show I will guest and have a table at http://comicbooksdallas.com/
After that I will be working with The Party Angelz at their photo shoots, parties, and events so please follow me on Facebook for more details. Several events planned are heavily geek themed. We host events all over the Dallas are for very affordable prices. Our line of thought for the Nerdom/Fandom division of entertainment is why limit the fun to expensive conventions when you can have fun way more often than that for way less money? Our parties include themes like Doctor Who, Walking Dead, Supernatural, My Little Pony, Magic the Gathering, and other themes where people who come and participate can be part of a fun experience and win cool prizes!
“Con Season” for me probably won’t start until January or February where I’d be looking to get a table to sell the Ladies of Power calendar and prints for charity depending on the con. But debuting new cosplays probably won’t start until March at the earliest with All-con (which I have a super cool surprise project in the works as well as a couple hall cosplay plans). You’ll also probably see my at A-kon as well and Dallas Comic Con if they get their stuff together 😛 My daughter will be a year old next year so I have to pick my cons more wisely for a while. So long as I pay everything out of pocket my con presence will have to be limited, but that may change if my presence is deemed worthy enough where more cons make me a guest! Who knows! So if you’re interested in seeing me get the word out! Because it wouldn’t just be me, I’d be promoting Ladies of Power, Lolitas For Lolita and other charity projects as well as The Party Angelz to help struggling vendors try to boost business and advertisement. 🙂
SMC: What cosplayers inspire you?
Kyatto: My mom, first and foremost. Jesse Thaxton/Amaya Demorte because she can like poop out a costume overnight including spandex. Tyler Reich – aka “Buzzed Lightyear’, Adella Yukikaze who is not only one of my best friends since high school she continues to blow minds all over the cosplay world, and Misa on Wheels who puts haters in their place and proves anyone and everyone can cosplay. Other inspirations come from every single nonwhite cosplayer outside the Japanese/European circuit who bravely march out as their favorite characters regardless as to whether or not the ethnicities match. That’s inspiration right there!
SMC: Which is your favorite Cosplay you’ve created?
Kyatto: I have a lot. Um. Rapunzel from Tangled (whose wig glows! yay!) but the dress has to be redone thanks to jerk cats. Reinette from Doctor Who Girl in The Fireplace. It will need to be redone as I made/wore it at a time where I was bigger and it’s too big to be taken in. Another tie is Season 3 (second half) Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender because that was fun to make and wear. Edward Elric (all forms) because being in character was great. But of my recent cosplays it’s a toss up between Black Cat (Spider-man) and Power Girl (DC) with Black Cat winning because I’ve known the character since I was a kid and can channel her character well.
SMC: What cosplay are you best known for?
Kyatto: I used to be best known for Edward Elric. Now probably Black Cat or Power Girl.
SMC: If money was no object what would be your dream cosplay creation?
Kyatto: Something elaborate from Game of Thrones. Like Dany (though yeah everyone does Dany but when my man finishes his diet/work out program he could totally pull off a fierce Drogo). I’d also love to do an Evangelion Plugsuit costume using latex (Asuka especially) but latex is expensive and a pain to work with. And I’d love to redo Saber from Fate Stay Night with her armor made of Worbla.
SMC: Do you have any new cosplays currently in the works?
Kyatto: Ryuuko’s Senketsu transformation is slowly in process. Also putting together Poison from Final Fight. Using the taboo method of “thrift shopping” I’m doing the civilian outfit of “Honey Lemon” from Big Hero 6 for the premiere because I lack time to do the hardcore outfit (But by all means add that to the above list). Arkham City’s Catwoman is in the works, as is a redo of Arkham City Harley Quinn. Planning a Poison Ivy from the original animated series. I’m also planning a couple groups with friends including Orange is the New Black and Monster High.
SMC: What do you do in the real world for a job?
Kyatto: Currently a stay at home mom to an 8 month old as childcare costs too much otherwise. But I also work as a professional model for several agencies. I’ve even been published. I do print, web, and artistic. So it’s not just cosplay photoshoots I do (in fact those are pretty rare anymore). I also help run a couple charity organizations, and help run a division of The Party Angelz that may soon lead me to a promotion because I’m very good at arranging events. I’m a busy beaver!
SMC: What is something your fans may not know about you? Other hobbies?
Kyatto: I like to edit fan music videos using clips from shows, movies, and cartoons to music. I also draw and went to animation school. I also used to write but none of my personal works are available online yet. However fanworks can be found (http://taykot.livejournal.com ) Not to mention I have a film degree and am drafting a couple short films as well as a documentary to put that degree to good use. I’m passionate about things well outside fandom – including racial equality, equal rights between the sexes, LGBT representation and equal treatment, promoting unionizing workers for their own protection, promoting a better understanding of those who are physically and mentally disabled and seeking for better treatment for those people and I am part of large programs dedicated to conserving wildlife and bettering the lives of captive and wild animals. (None of which is mere “armchair activism – I’ve written to the government, attended rallies, etc) Helping people and animals is a big part of who I am and my biggest goal before I pass is to help make this world a better place.
SMC: What part of “geekdom” is you favorite avenue of entertainment (i.e. comics, movies, video games, anime, etc?).
Kyatto: I enjoy a well written comic but I wait until the bigger books come out so I don’t have to worry about single issues getting lost or damaged. I also enjoy movies, TV shows, and more old school anime.
SMC: What Comic Books are you currently addicted to?
Kyatto: Deadpool (yes, shoot me). But I got into it because of my spouse who was honestly a LONG term Deadpool fan for years before it became a thing. And the Deadpool in a lot of his current run is very dark compared to the zany Deadpool persona you see online and with cosplayers. I also read Harley Quinn, and any anthologies about Marvel Ladies.
SMC: Any favorite TV shows, movies or cartoons?
Kyatto: TV shows – Supernatural, Doctor Who (sort of), Game of Thrones, American Horror Story
Movies – A Clockwork Orange, Hunger Games trilogy (so far), Requiem for a Dream
Cartoons: Avatar: the Last Airbender, Legend of Korra, Teen Titans, Young Justice, Ultimate Spiderman