Cosplayer of the Month: Karen Sakai
One of the many reasons as to why I love cosplay is that it’s a many headed beast. On one hand it’s a beautiful and delicate art form mastered by a select few while on the other hand folks are praised far more so for side splitting costumes fashioned out of cardboard and sharpie. But one of the aspects that has always intrigued me is the sexual nature of more feminine cosplay.
While almost all the female characters in anime and comic books are busty women who run around in scandalous outfits a few brave cosplayers make every effort to accurately portray them. When they are met with criticism for their costumes or choice of character, they will often falter to saying “I don’t do this to attract fans with my sexual nature, I do this for cosplay!” which in a few cases this might be true while other cases we, the fans, know exactly what kind of game they are playing(Which is totally alright! We’re not judging!).
This is why it was incredibly refreshing to find a cosplayer like Karen Sakai
! When confronted with such criticism she often shoots back admitting that she does actually factor in which cosplays would be considered as fan service to entertain her followers. Although she is a drop dead gorgeous woman who served in the military for several years and
obtained two bachelor degrees, it’s her blunt honesty and determination to continue forward despite the backlash
received from the cosplay community and her peers that makes her truly attractive.
Personally, I believe cosplay is such a gray area that no one should be harassed or put down for their choice of costume or how they give back to their fans. In support of her honesty I had to reach out to Karen Sakai for an interview and to my surprise she accepted! The entire interaction with her was so kind and down to earth that she has already won me over as a fan!With out further ado, here is my interview with Karen Sakai!
The Geek Lyfe: Although I am a fan of yours, there may be a few readers who have not seen your work before, would
you be alright introducing yourself?
Karen Sakai: My name is Karen Sakai and I enjoy photoshoots and cosplaying. I’m down to earth, honest, and legit lol. I was in the Navy as a cop for 4 years and I have two bachelor degrees.
TGL: I’ve followed you for sometime yet never learned the origin story! Could you tell us how you got into cosplay and what led you to where you are now?
I’ve always admired fictional characters and isn’t it fun to be someone you love for one day? Remember halloween?
I begged my dad for a stormtrooper/charmander costume when I was little. Too bad it’s for boys haha. I ended up stopping after I got older because it was socially unacceptable, and no one likes to be picked on. So I quit. I started to do photoshoots and realized “why arn’t I cosplaying”. So then I started to do it (again). Now here I am!
TGL: When you aren’t doing awesome cosplays, what do you do?
KS:I mainly chill with my kids (lizard, dog, cat), smoking some weed, playing some Destiny or World of Warcraft.
TGL: What geek medium (Video Games, Cosplay, books, movies etc.) would you say has impacted the most and why?
KS: Video games hands down. I was always alone as a kid, no friends brothers or sisters (lol) so I turned to video games. Best decision ever. 🙂 Feels like they’re your best friends.
TGL: What has been your favorite moment in your cosplay career?
In order to get to Seattle cons, I have to take the ferries. I looooove the little kids on the ferries that are so interested in me. My last cosplay, Nell from Bleach, a little girl thought I was a mermaid and wanted to follow me around the boat. Her mom took so many pictures. At another con, I met a girl who was probably around 10 or 11 who was really interested in cosplay. Her mom came up to me and told me she wanted to talk to me but was too shy. I went over to the girl and started talking to her. Her mom later came up to me and said I was inspiration for her to cosplay. I was so moved.
TGL: What was one major conflict you have faced or do face and how did you resolve it?
KS: Where do I start. I am NOT liked among the cosplay community. Pretty much the one and only problems I face are other female cosplayers. We don’t like each other. Why? Maybe thats an interview for next time. How do I resolve it? Well, like I learned in the Navy: it is what it is. What can I do? Get in fetal position and cry and tell the internet I’m sorry? LOL no! Do your own thing! If people don’t like you for you, then what kind of person does that make them? Keep calm and carry on shipmate. 🙂
TGL: You are stuck in one Anime world for the rest of your life, which one is it and why?
KS:Most likely Pokemon. Do I need an explanation? C: I am a huge pet person and what better is it to have Pokemon! Unless you’re into PETA and think Ash is a terrible friend to Pikachu.
TGL: Do you have any projects in the near future that we’d be excited to see?
KS:I would love to work on more cosplay but right now I’m taking a break.
TGL: You have often taken the more sultry approaches to cosplay and your videos. While other cosplays down right defend themselves that they are just cosplaying the character, you will actually tell everyone that what you do is a fan service. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on your cosplay philosophy and why you choose to do the more sexual of poses.
KS: Oh no, I completely agree that most cosplayers do portray the character! Some characters are quite sultry. And because it’s sultry such as showing the breasts or the donk, it will be considered sultry. That is what fan service is. Doesn’t have be cosplay but showing skin is what I consider fan service. Just being in a bra and panties is a good example. I don’t know if other girls will admit it, but Ive down fan service like that. Just because it’s fan service doesn’t mean it’s not a good cosplay. Not at all. It means its more sexualized. It bothers me when cosplayers get angry because folks look at them. Well of course they’re gonna check you out! your titties and ass cheeks are out! I chose that path because it’s something I enjoy. I enjoy the sexy side of life. That sounded weird but you get what I mean lol.
TGL: What advice do you have for any aspiring cosplayers out there?
KS: Do what you want, how you want, chill, relax, and have fun. It’s still going to be a battlefield out there, but remember, cosplay is just a hobby and hobbies are fun. Everyone has their own style and there is no “bad cosplay”. Just stay true to yourself and don’t let others change you.
A huge thank you to Karen Sakai for answering a few of our questions! We here at The Geek Lyfe honestly believe that cosplay is a wonderful art and hobby that should be enjoyed and appreciated by all in the community. We’re all human beings who want to have fun and do our own thing, we’ve been bullied and shunned for far too long that it should never happen within our own communities. But I digress! Karen Sakai is a wonderful person who truly is down to earth and kind, we support her 100%!
If you want to follow Karen Sakai be sure to check out her Facebook page and website!
All photos featured were from Karen’s facebook page.