What’s going on heroes? Cosplay Cafe doors are back open. Sorry for the delay, its been a busy to say the least but were getting back on track. Anyway, Roka Cosplay came through the cafe and all I can say is she killed it. So get to know Roka and I’ll see you down below.
1.What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into a child/teenager?
I think I was super weird; before we moved to Indiana when I was 9, I think I might have been a bit normal except for being picked on for being short. I’ve always have been a bit more obsessive on things – like I’ve always loved animals (hence my recent Fur/Feathered Friend Friday on my page.) I’ve never wanted cute pets like hamsters; I had three anoles. Two were named Cassie and Tobias off of the animorphs characters from the books/TV series and bird (asides from family cats and dogs) growing up.
Other than that I grew up watching Star Trek Next Gen with my parents, my favorite character was Data. We tease my Uncle for me getting into anime because I used to watch Speed Racer with him when I was little, it wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 I started watching sailor moon and other animes on cartoon network. I lightly played video games as a kid, I had a game boy color to play pokemon and some n64 games; I spent most of the time watching my best friend play games at her place and reading manga or playing a lot of make-believe games of us being sailor scouts or girls with other super powers from books we read.
Aside from being like most others and being bullied in Middle school and part of high school for kind of doing these games (which of course stopped in middle school) and being short. I was probably that really annoying nerd/art kid in high school. I took Japanese and was co-president of the Japanese club my Junior and Senior year. I was also slightly involved with theater for a couple of years assisting/creating costumes for a play and a musical. I played violin from 5th grade until my sophomore year, but ended up quitting to take honors art classes. I didn’t get the best of grades; I was more focused on my love sewing, which I started doing a lot of after 8th grade, and drawing more than anything else.
2.Did those things influence who you’re today?
Definitely – I met my husband through a group of male friends in college that played video games and were kind of nerdy. He and I slightly connected on our mutual interest on anime, but he likes to say he hides his power level, where I’m more like “yeah, this is who I am.” Everyone tells me I have a zoo because I own a cat and bird (and I want more pets.)
I originally went to college to major in fashion, my goal was to what we see a lot of the more cosplay-famous people out there doing. I wanted to learn how to create and sell patterns for specific anime and video game characters. I ended up dropping Fashion to a minor, because the fashion classes were almost killing sewing for me. I wasn’t happy sewing for school and it wasn’t until summer break when I could start working on my costumes for Anime Central that I was really happy with sewing and having those late nights to sew.
3.You’ve been cosplaying since 2004. So what’s kept you in the Cosplay Community?
What’s kept me cosplaying and in the community is just the love of creating costumes of characters that I either feel like I can relate with or just adore. It’s also the amazing people that I’ve met over the years. A few of my closest friends I’ve met through the convention scene. I’ve one friend where I’ve known her and her husband since 2005 or 2006. Another one of my best friends, I met in 2009 when I attended my first Ohayo con. She’s definitely been a main connection of me meeting more talented and amazing cosplayers.
4.Did you think that the Cosplay Community would become this big over the years?
I’m certain back in 2004 the community itself was smaller than what is is now. If I Iook back to my very first costume/convention in 2004 through the present, it definitely is so different. Cons were much smaller. I remember running around taking photos of people with their costumes. I used to keep a yahoo page of all the photos I took with comments on the photos (it connected me with an ex-boyfriend because his friend saw the page and ended up bringing us together). I do feel bad that I don’t try as hard any more to run around with a camera and take photos of other people I see out there.
5.Do you have a favorite material to work with when creating a costume?
I love Poly-polplin when it’s not a costume that seems like it needs a specific fabric. It looks better than cotton, but isn’t expensive as twill or other fabrics. Thanks to the Monster Hunter cosplay I did in 2014, I’ve become really interested in working with worbla and EVA foam. I’m excited for the next Monster Hunter costume I’ll be doing and will be learning how to use those two mediums more.
6.Off topic question, favorite food?
I love cookies, especially cookies and milk. My husband makes fun of me and tells me that I’m secretly a 12 year old, because of how much I love cookies. Other than that, popcorn and sushi are also high on my list.
7.What is one thing you feel the cosplay community should improve on as a whole?
Unfortunately, the catty-ness. There is unfortunately so much drama that pops up. It’s something I even watch out myself not to do. We all want to be the best, but I think we all need to learn to accept each other and bring more positivity back into the hobby.
8.Second off topic question, what is something you’re looking forward to this year? Cosplay/Con related or not?
Not related: Finally finishing my master’s degree in March. I’ve been working on it off and on with work, taking summers off and taking almost a year off in 2015 since fall of 2012; so the fact that it will be done soon is extremely exciting. There are lots of new opportunities on the horizon and more time to get back to work on some costumes I’ve been holding off.
Cosplay/Con related: Having more time to work on costumes and maybe setting up new shoots for some old ones.
9.Any advice you can give someone getting into cosplay?
Research before you start jumping into some and make sure you give yourself ample of time if you are going to create it on your own. I love the stress of tight deadlines, but it’s also extremely taxing and wearing on your mental and physical health. When you are that stressed it just takes away from the fun of the con and the costume.
10.Can you hint or say what costumes you’re currently working on?
I’m really excited to say hopefully I’ll have a new Monster Hunter Armor set – it’s a low rank Blade Master Bulldrome, I fell in love with the head piece. My friend STAR TRASH Electronics is still brainstorming up the lance for it. In addition to that I’m hoping to finally have Elizabeth from Persona 3 done, as well as Human Luna from Sailor Moon, a closet Skull grunt cosplay and Leah from Stardew Valley (I can’t stop playing this game, please send help). That’s going to bit it though as my con schedule is a little light this year.
11.What conventions can people find you at this year?
I always want to add more cons to my list, but unfortunately my husband gets feisty, because cons are expensive. As of right now: I’ll be at C2E2 for Saturday, Anime Central and Colossal con for a day. A few cons I was hoping to attend were cut though due to not having a travel buddy and estimated costs. There is always a chance I may throw in some other local Chicago anime and comic cons in the mix though.
12.Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
Oh man, I have no clue, maybe… Thanks for sticking around through the past couple years and following my page. Since school is done and I will hopefully have more time to dedicate to costumes and photos, is there anything you guys want to see? Always, if you see me at a con please come say “Hi”, I love talking and meeting new people. Also, get active on this fur/feathered friend Friday posts and to quote Rick and Morty “Show me what you got.” (I can’t blow you up if you don’t though.)
Be sure to follow Roka on her social media listed above. It was an honor having her in the cafe and congratulations on finishing school as well.
Coming to the cafe next is….