This weekend, the Virtual Crunchyroll Expo is holding its first-ever 100% online Cosplay Cup! Register for your free pass here: https://expo.crunchyroll.com/CrunchyrollExpo/ and tune in on Saturday, September 5th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm Pacific Time at the Crunchyroll Stage for a fabulous competition featuring an international group of finalists and celebrity judges – including anime-influenced drag queen Rock M. Sakura and everyone’s favorite cosplay tutor Kamui Cosplay! We got the chance to ask them a few questions prior to the event, so let’s hear what they have to say about their YouTube careers, the inclusiveness of the drag and anime communities, and writing books about cosplay.
Interview with Rock M. Sakura & Kamui Cosplay (Svetlana Quindt)
Since you both have a large presence on YouTube, what do you find rewarding about creating YouTube videos as opposed to your other creative outlets?
YouTube has always been my brand and type of comedy. I’ve been on YouTube since 2003 when people were uploading episodes of Keroro Gunsou in 3 parts (it was the easiest way for a poor person to watch anime without buying DVD boxsets). I think that there's a certain level of creativity in YouTube videos that you just can’t create in other mediums. I love performing in person, but on YouTube, I can create a contemporary level of cringe that audiences of the platform will get. Also, YouTube videos have so much longevity, and create a brand and memorability for you.
YouTube gives me a great platform to show a little bit more about myself. My followers often mention that they actually read my social media posts in my voice and with my accent because they have watched so many videos from me. YouTube is on a completely different level when it comes to creating a connection with someone. Very similar to streaming. I just enjoy doing silly jokes, talking about something that’s important to me and showing my work in much more detail. I also think that people enjoy my personality and so they are always very excited about every new video, even though some of them are even not interested in cosplay or crafting.
Rock, have you found the drag community to be a diverse and accepting place (referring to race, gender, body type, etc.)? How do the anime and drag communities compare in this regard?
The drag community in San Francisco is definitely a very diverse and accepting place. We have so many people of different backgrounds, and that's one of the reasons that I was attracted to the scene here and felt so included. When I first started cosplaying, I felt that there was a lot of pressure to be a certain body type, a certain gender, and certain paleness that I had to be in order to cosplay. There just weren’t that many characters that were male and my body type that I was interested in. I definitely felt that the drag scene was more gay-friendly, and less heteronormative. But coming back into the cosplay world now, it can still feel like there's a good amount of misogyny, but it's definitely more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people.
Svetlana, you’ve written books on just about every aspect of cosplay there is. When researching a new topic, do you prefer to discover on your own or do you ask other cosplay friends for help?
I’m actually used to working only with my husband Benni. I would love to collaborate more with other cosplayers, but most of my friends are in the US and Canada and the time difference alone makes it already quite challenging. However, I follow plenty of cosplayers and amazing artists online and their content gives me plenty of new ideas to try out something new on my own. For my books, I even have around 15 proofreaders and most of them are crafters as well. So, they sometimes point out something essential that I totally forgot, and I add it before actually publishing, for example. I’m really thankful for their support!
Thank you so much for your time! We’ll look forward to seeing you both at the Cosplay Cup this Saturday!