(Editor’s Note: This interview with cosplayer Kasea VP was conducted back in November 2011 by Tom Heckbert for the now-defunct website Eyestrane.com. It’s been republished at Idol Features courtesy of Tom and Mistress Persephone, who wrote her own introduction.)
When they were young, Kasea and her sister would attend renaissance fairs and Lord of the Rings conventions around the Tacoma, Washington area, but they had few costumes to choose from. Returning from school one day, Kasea’s sister suggested they explore cosplaying comic and anime characters. Since they had both been interested in comics, video games, and anime and loved to dress up, it seemed a natural thing to do. They loved it and attended their first convention which was Dragon Con in 2005.
Kasea has always had a creative streak and growing up she studied both songwriting and opera and began writing her own songs at a very young age. She always loved to paint and draw with all types of mediums, of course, she’d always draw her favorite superheroes with her big sister. Later on, she gained a passion for dancing (ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, belly dancing) and was also an accomplished gymnast and competed until an injury at age 17 forced her to quit. Today Kasea teaches kids gymnastics and fine tunes her vocal skills with karoke and Rock Band. Photo of Kasea as Efinii Assassin from Aion by BlizzardTerrack.
KASEA VP: The character was inspired by Michelle Pfeiffer’s Cat Woman from the movie Batman Returns. When I was asked to be a part of this project, I was absolutely thrilled and honored. The calendar has so many beautiful women in it already, so just to be in it with these lovely ladies made me very happy. This is my first time in an official calendar and I hope everyone enjoys it just as much as I do.
KASEA: I find it very flattering. Especially when I was younger, I was sort of the “ugly duckling” and was bullied quite a lot. I wore braces for six years and had really short, almost bowl-like haircuts. It was pretty bad. I believe I’ve grown into a fine young woman, it may have taken a bit longer for me, so for others to see that too, really boosts my confidence and I really do appreciate their support.
EYESTRANE: One of my favorite of your cosplay characters is Efinii Assassin from Aion. Your wings are incredible. How did you create them and how long did it take you?
KASEA: Well, the wings alone took about a month and a half to make. The outfit by itself only took about two weeks. This was my very first time attempting to make wings. It was a lot of trial and error, but so worth it. To build the wings, my husband and I cut out the shape and size of the wings, out of wire mesh we purchased at our local hardware store. Next, I curled the raw metal edges over so the mesh wouldn’t poke through and tear my skin. After that, I hot glued black fabric onto the front and back sides of the wing shaped mesh. Now the next part is a bit tricky. In order for me to wear the wings, I installed backpack straps that go through BOTH the wire mesh and fabric, that way they are really secure and give the wings more stability. Once the fabric is all glued on, you can then begin to place your feathers onto the wings. I just used hot glue, some people sew them on, but it does take a bit longer. When placing the feathers onto the wings, I started from the bottom and worked my way up. Try keeping the feathers in a pattern if you can, for example, my feathers tend to fan out. Once the feathers are where you want them to be, try the wings on and enjoy! Just note, depending on the size you want, your wings could be extremely light or heavy, mine were about 11 lbs, so I strongly suggest if you’re going to wear these wings without a real harness, like I did, take breaks wearing them. It makes such a difference what ten minutes will do, especially if you’re walking in them all day at a convention. Overall, I love my wings! Though I still have a lot to learn, I would love to make more wings in the future.
EYESTRANE: You are also known for your sexy portrayal of Nora from Witchblade. What did you do to personalize that costume?
EYESTRANE: What are some of your favorite costumes and who do you want to do in the future?
KASEA: So far, I really love my Lilith Aensland cosplay, my Witchblade outfit, Aion Assassin and my Gunner Yuna, which was my first official cosplay. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my costumes very much, but I believe each costume I make gets better and better each time. I look at my older costumes now and see what I could’ve done better because of all the new techniques I’ve acquired now. As far as future characters I’d like to do, that’s hard to say because there’s always something new coming out and it keeps me on my toes. I admit I have plans to make a Blade and Soul cosplay soon, but really, I’m very open to anything.
EYESTRANE: Are there any cosplayers out there that you admire and what is it you admire about them?
KASEA: Truly, I admire anyone who has the confidence and passion to cosplay at all. I can’t just point to one person because I admire so many people in the cosplay world. What I admire about any cosplayer is hard work, innovation, and most of all, confidence.
EYESTRANE: Aside from the crafting aspect of the costumes what do you like about the cosplay scene?
KASEA: Being able to make friends and network with others. A lot of my greatest friends I have met through cosplay. I actually met my husband through cosplaying too. I don’t know how to really describe it, but when your around other cosplayers, you can tell they accept you for who you are. It’s fun being able to just talk with other cosplayers about how they make their costumes or what they like about cosplay. I once told a friend, when I go to cons I feel like it’s my second home. You just get that warm fuzzy welcome that leaves you wanting to cosplay more and more.
KASEA: As a teacher, I sure hope I can supply any child I work with the potential and confidence to go for their dream. If that means going to the Olympics, I believe they have all the tools to do so. Olympics or not, I’m proud of each of my students.
EYESTRANE: You also enjoy singing and songwriting. Would you ever like to pursue this as part of your cosplaying?
KASEA: I would love to! Cosplay is a big part of my life and so is singing, I know I’m not a professional or anything, but I’d love to have the chance to show others what else I can do.
EYESTRANE: You are married, so does your husband enjoy cosplaying with you? How about your sister, is she still an active cosplayer?
KASEA: Actually, it’s not just my husband and sister. I also cosplay with my twin nieces and my brother-in-law. The whole family is involved in cosplay, even my mom likes to try on my wigs. We are all active in the cosplay community, minus my mom and dad, and I feel it brings us closer together. It’s just a lot of fun and we all support each other. I know when I have my own children someday, I’d love to take them to a convention and make them little outfits, just like my sister does for her daughters.
EYESTRANE: What’s one thing about yourself you would want your readers to know?
KASEA: I’m a very active person, I love to be outside and hike or play football or soccer. I love cars and driving, traveling, sparkly things, drawing, I have a huge sweet tooth and I love to cook. I’m a workaholic and will go the extra mile just to make someone’s day even better. That’s just the way I have always been and always will be.
EYESTRANE: Where do you hope cosplay leads you in the future?
KASEA: Cosplay has taken me on a crazy journey so far, wherever it takes me in the future, I will continue to follow. I would love to travel the world because of my cosplay one day, that is my greatest cosplay dream. For now, I’m really just taking it one day at a time, so please feel free to follow me and see what happens next!