I caught up with American beauty Kasea Vp from San Diego; cosplayer, gymnast and a recent mum, who longs to visit the UK someday! I caught with her on all things cosplay, from bullying to the joys of hand sewing!
What’s been your favourite cosplay and why?
So far my favourite cosplay has been my Aion Asmodian cosplay. There was so much that I had never done in this costume such as making wings from scratch and making armour. It was a lot of trial and error, but in the end it turned out really great and I still love the costume to this day. Everything you see on that costume was all handmade by myself (except for the plastic swords, though I did add my own personal touches to them), even the wings were handmade which took about a month and a half to create. However, I do love all of my cosplays for their own unique qualities! Each cosplay is hand or machine sewn by me, so they always get my love and attention.
What inspires you to choose your next cosplay?
I usually am drawn to cosplays that are rarely ever done – I really like to bring recognition to those characters because I feel they deserve it. I also look for great character design and if I can portray the character well. I personally like the strong, sexy and bad-ass characters most, but I will gladly make a more “girly/frilly” costume if I feel a real connection to the character.
Some may not know this, but all of your costumes are hand sown, why have you chosen this, say over a sewing machine?
Yes, that is indeed true! In all honesty, my father taught me how to hand sew at a young age. We had a very old sewing machine growing up – it wasn’t always reliable, so our family would have to hand sew things instead. So when I did end up getting a sewing machine a few years ago, it was very foreign to me, but I’ve learned to love it. Though I admit, I still do prefer hand sewing -true it may be a lot slower, but it’s just what I’m so use to doing.
What has been your most challenging cosplay to make and why?
My most challenging costume so far would have to be Nora, from Witch Blade (the anime series). The reason being that the construction had to be just right. If you look at a reference picture of Nora, there’s just no way to make that cosplay without getting a ticket for indecent exposure or a nip slip, so I had to redesign it in my head so that it would not only be wearable, but give the effect of the character too. It did take up some time and several mock ups, but I finally got it! I’m very pleased with the outcome.
What future cosplays have you got in store for us?
I usually like to keep my future cosplays secret, sorry! However, I will say look out for more fighting cosplays and family cosplays! They are going to be great and I hope you all enjoy them too!
When you’re not cosplaying or at conventions, what can we find you doing?
Well, I’m a lot busier these days because I have a five week old baby boy now. I love to do anything outside such as going to the beach, hiking, biking, or going to the mountains. I also love to draw, dance and do gymnastics for fun.
Have you ever been to the UK, in particular a UK convention? Sadly, I have not! However, I would definitely love to attend one someday and see/meet all of the amazing cosplayers! I just know I REALLLLLLLLY do want to go though!
What is your perception of the difference between cosplay culture in the UK and America?
I personally don’t know, just because I’ve never been to the UK. However, when I’ve asked other cosplayers about it they only have great things to say about the UK cosplay culture – like they are very open, accepting and respectful.
You have a lot of fans worldwide, with nearly 5,000 fans on your Facebook! Did you ever expect to get such a following? Why do you think this happened?
I never expected it! In all honesty, cosplay is just a hobby to me, so to see that so many people like and support my hobby is amazing! I’m sure most of the recognition
comes with my cosplay work, but I also like to let my “fans” know that I am just a normal person and I like to be very open with them. I’m a very down to earth lady just doing what I love most!
How could you pursue copslay as a professional career?
Like I said in my previous statement, it’s a hobby to me and it still is to this day. I’ve been very fortunate to get to work with some amazing cosplayers and people who are in the convention/videogaming world, sometimes I still feel like I need to pinch myself like,”Did that really just happen?” In order to pursue it I believe it’s very important to make connections and network with others in the cosplay community–also it’s very important to produce great quality cosplays and genuinely love the cosplay culture altogether.
Some of your cosplays are quite sexy, do you ever find some people push the boundaries such as assuming ‘cosplay consent’ or on the other hand ‘cosplay bully’ by judging and making negative comments?
Of course it happens to me, but that comes with putting myself and my cosplays out there really. Anything I put on at a convention or online is going to be judged regardless, some will love it and some will hate it and that’s okay. In the end this is something I love to do and if people are going to judge me by a picture and say I’m something that I’m not– then that’s their loss because they don’t know the real me at all. I use to take some negative comments very personally and would beat myself up about it, but a cosplay friend of mine gave me a tip. She said,” They’re wasting their life on mine!” Which is so true and I love it! My advice would be to do what you love, as long as you are happy and doing what you love then that’s what matters most. Try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will lift you up and have your back. As far as touching goes, that’s why I love to have my husband or friends with me when I’m cosplaying because they will not let that happen–be clear and polite and let them know you are not comfortable with what they’re doing!
What advice would you give a first time con-goer at a convention?
For all you first time con-goers–wear what YOU want to wear, try to make the cosplay if you can, be confident and have fun!
Thank you for your time and this great interview, I hope you do visit the UK soon!
Keep updated with all of Kasea Vp’s cosplays via her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kasea-Vp-Cosplay-Fanpage/294480339215
Photo Credits:Aisha Void Princess-Elsword – Nelson Castro of LAPhotonet.com, John Lynn, Paul Damien Tien, Asmodian Aion Assassin-Efinii -Keith Louie, Pama Angel – Eurobeat Kasumi