The Cosplayer Feature is a series of interviews done by HappyCosplayer featuring cosplayers from around the world who would like to share their story. Two cosplayers are featured a week both here on my blog and on my Facebook pages: HappyCosplayer, JustCosplay, CosplayingCommunity
“May you be inspired by them!” -HappyCosplayer
Featured cosplayer: Katja Kosplay!
Cosplay Page: Link | Country: USA | Gender: Female|
Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?
Katja: The first “cosplay” I did was a Halloween costume I made in 2004 when I was in 8th grade, of a very sloppy Rikku from FFX2. I just had the idea that it would be fun to be a character from a game I loved instead of a generic costume. I continued making Halloween costumes, then transitioned to making costumes for conventions when I went to my first convention in 2011.
Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Katja: It was my first convention, which was Otakon and at that time cosplay wasn’t really a big thing, and I just thought it would be really fun to dress up as something for it. My boyfriend at the time, and I dressed up as Team Rocket.
I had bought the wigs for it and intended to make her giant hair, which obviously failed. Even with two quickly made Team Rocket outfits and no wigs we got a ton of attention mainly because there were hardly anyone dressed up at all.
Happy: Do you consider yourself more of a prop maker or seamstress?
Katja: Definitely more of a seamstress, but I’m trying to improve my armor and prop skills. The first real armor I made was for Erza Knighwalker and I am incredibly proud of myself for how it came out since it was my first time using thermoplastics.
Happy: Is their anyone who really inspires you and why?
Katja: Kinpatsu Cosplay is someone I am in awe of, because her armor always looks flawless. I hope one day to achieve half her level of skill with foam. My friends also inspire me, because without them I wouldn’t enjoy conventions or cosplay nearly as much. The most fun I’ve had at conventions been the ones where we do group cosplays.
Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying?
Katja: I personally haven’t experienced a lot of harassment, aside from a person grabbing me around the waist and pulling me towards them for a photo at NYCC 2 years ago, and a homeless person in NYC shouting at my asking why I would be dressed like that in a city like this (was dressed as Zatanna at the time), but in general I kind of enjoy freaking out the normies, because I love being “weird”.
Happy: Are there things you have learned through this hobby that you never would have guessed to have learned before you started cosplaying? If so what are these new skill traits?
Katja: I learn something new with every costume I make. Specifically everything I’ve taught myself about sewing has been helpful, now I can alter store bought clothes to fit me better or even make my own clothes from scratch which is something I never expected to be able to do. I also know my way around a Home Depot a lot better than I used to haha!
Happy: A lot of people get overwhelmed or ‘brunt out’ over time with this hobby called cosplaying. Have you ever felt that way, or do you feel like you ever would? What would you say to those that maybe feeling burnt out now?
Katja: I definitely have those moments where I feel overwhelmed, especially with upcoming deadlines (I’m in the middle of katsucrunch right now and have to finish everything in the next 2 days, because I’m going on vacation then going straight to Katsucon!), but I’ve also occasionally gotten the feeling of not being excited for an upcoming con, or that I’m just doing it to do it and not because I’m enjoying it. That feeling usually passes once I see a new character that I HAVE to cosplay!
Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Katja: I love the satisfaction of making something screen accurate and being proud of the work I put into it, but I also love getting photos taken of my hard work. My favorite thing is to do group cosplays and then recreate scenes with the characters.
Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?
Katja: I really like all the friends that I have been able to make because of cosplay and all of the different places I get to go. It’s nice because it’s like a mini vacation where I get to travel and hang out with my friends for a weekend.
Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intentionally for cosplay?
Katja: Every costume requires a blood sacrifice and there are very few costumes I’ve made that are actually comfortable haha. Usually it’s because when characters are drawn, their outfits don’t have to follow normal physics so more extreme things are needed to translate that to real clothing and hold everything in place.
There have been times where I needed to get something glued in a very specific spot so I had to hold my fingers over the hot glue so it stays where it needs to go. It’s painful, but (usually) worth it!
Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?
Katja: More and more it seem like it’s going away from being welcoming and becoming more judgmental and competitive. People have this idea that other cosplayers doing awesome things takes away from their own awesome things, which is really a shame. People also sometimes are so attached to a character that they get really upset seeing other people cosplay it.
If I see someone cosplay a character I’ve done, that’s a new friend I can make that I already have something in common with. And if their costume looks better than mine, than that just drives me to step up my game and improve my skills.
Happy: What are some of your favorite cosplays you have worn?
Katja: Definitly Erza Knightwalker, because of how the armor came out, even though it’s incredibly annoying to wear because it is constantly falling down. My other favorite is Officer Jenny, because I was so proud of myself to get the hair right and it was the first time I made a cosplay but just buying fabric and a sewing pattern, and I’m really happy with how it came out. I also recently did a Plumeria cosplay, which was fun because we had a whole posse of Team Skull Grunts with us.
Happy: Do you have a dream cosplay you would love to do someday?
Katja: I want to do a full Varia suit one day. That’s something that I will have to not set a deadline for myself and just continue to work on it until it’s finished, because I expect it to take me at least a year.
Happy: What was an amazing experience you had in cosplay that you will never forget?
Katja: Probably meeting one of the writers of Fairy Tail, while dressed as Cana. And on top of it, HE asked to take a picture with us! I also will never forget when my friends at I did a 16 person Teen Titans group (including a Titan Tower!). It was so incredible and we weren’t able to move because of all the photos being taken.
Happy: Has cosplaying presented you with challenges? If so what sort of challenges? Were they hard to overcome? Are you still working on overcoming them?
Katja: The only challenges I think are my own skills/attitude. Especially the week before I get very stressed about finishing on time and get frustrated easily. It doesn’t help that my sewing machine senses my fear and will act up the week before a con like clockwork lol.
Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Katja: For the longest time it was Otakon, because it was my first ever con and held a very special place in my heart. However, this year I went to Colossalcon for the first time and it might be my new favorite because it was that much fun!
Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Katja: SDCC! I’ve never been to the West Coast before and it’s the biggest Comic con, so that’s definitely on my list! I also really want to do DragonCon, because the cosplays people bring there look incredible and I would love to see that in person.
Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying?
Katja: Ultimately, if I could get to a point where I could use it to bring in a little bit of money to offset the cost of doing it I would be thrilled. I love doing cosplaying, but it is a huge hit on my wallet and I would like to continue doing it as long as I can.
You can find Katja Kosplay at the following links! Please leave some love for them via a like/follow and so on and help continue to make the cosplaying community better by encouraging and inspiring others!
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