Everyone (with taste) can appreciate talent and creativity. There is a cosplayer that is taking the geek/nerd industry by storm. You may have seen her famous cosplay of Ryuko Matoi from the anime Kill La Kill. She is an inspiration to many based on her talented costume-making skills, engaging personality, and her ability to stand up for what she believes in. I had the awesome opportunity to interview her via email, so please enjoy!
Black Nerd Problems: Please tell us a little bit about your background.
Maki Roll: I’m 24 years old and I’m from Washington, DC. I am currently in school going for my undergraduate degree and I work as a child-care provider.
BNP: How did you get into cosplay?
MR: I went to my first convention when I was 15 years old and just seeing everyone dressed up as some of my favorite anime characters made me want to try. My first real costume was Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII: The Dirge of Cerberus. My mom helped me make it, and from there I started making costumes with my mom. When I turned 18, my mom gave me my first sewing machine as a birthday present and ever since I’ve been learning and making my own costumes.
BNP: Have you faced in oppression/discrimination/racism in the cosplay community?
MR: Definitely. Being a cosplayer of color automatically sets you up for the “you’re not the right skin color” or “you’re the black version of -insert character-” comments.
BNP: How do you choose to combat racism and sexism in the cosplay world?
[quote_right]”There is definitely a sense of empowerment, but beyond that, a sense of unity when you see others and are able to appreciate their hard work…”[/quote_right]MR: There are always going to be jerks in the world who have some reason for not liking you. Cosplay is no different. I can’t control what others say or type, but I can control myself. Most times I respectfully comment back, make a joking remark or ignore it. I don’t get angry anymore. Getting angry over it wastes too much energy. The best part about it though, is that you can take off a costume and become yourself again. I work, care for my mother, go to school. There are MANY crazy things that go on in my day and thousands of things that can go wrong. If the worst thing that happens to me is a random person on the Internet talks crap about me; I’d say I’m having a pretty good day.
BNP: What are some of your favorite cosplays that you’ve created/worn?
MR: Storm (X-Men), Headhunter Nidalee (League Of Legends) and Senketsu Fashion Week Ryuko Matoi (Kill La Kill)
BNP: What is cosplay to you and do you feel like it is empowering for people to participate in it?
MR: Cosplay means a lot to me, because I have met so many of my close friends and have been afforded opportunities that I would not have regularly gotten. It is also a way for my boyfriend and I to bond, as we work on my costumes together. It’s a very special feeling to work for weeks, sometimes months, on a costume and be able to put on the finished product and have others appreciate the work. There is definitely a sense of empowerment, but beyond that, a sense of unity when you see others and are able to appreciate their hard work because you know the feeling of putting time into constructing a costume.
BNP: What are some of your goals for the future?
MR: Cosplay-wise, I just want to keep constructing and keep having fun. I hope to get a few more armor builds under my belt, and hopefully travel to an international convention one day!
Senketsu Fashion Week: Brent Allen Thale
Storm (with Lonstermash as Wolverine): S ‘N M Productions.
Catwoman: Ron Gejon
Check out more of Maki Roll’s Chop Shop on Facebook.