My interview from Sunday, Day 3 of AWA. Yaya Han was awesome enough to take time out from her booth at AWA to do our interview! We are very grateful and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it! 🙂
Erica: This is Erica doing field correspondence for Tokyo Tower WAWL, and I am here with Yayahan who is very famous for her cosplay and modeling. We are at AWA 2010, and [Yayahan] would you like to tell us just a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to get started doing this?
Yaya: Sure, I started cosplaying about ten years ago at Anime Expo ’99 and just from pictures leading up to the con I saw other people dressed up in costumes. I’d never sewn before and thought it’d be cool to just put together a little outfit, and then after that weekend it was all over and I was like “I have to learn how to sew I have to learn how to craft I have to just do everything!” (laughs) So yeah, to this day I’m still self taught, I still make all my costumes and I try to keep challenging myself. I mean I just think it’s a beautiful way to be creative and you know it’s almost like there are no limits to what you can do when it comes to cosplay; the skills and the different art forms that you can apply to it. So that’s why I think just to this day it really draws me.
Erica: Was there any costume in particular that was your first inspiration to actually sew something and actually make the first costume?
Yaya: I remember seeing a really great Kenshin group at Anime Expo and that was like one of my favorite animes back then, still is. And just…the characters looked like they jumped off the screen and I think that was like the moment I thought “That’s what I wanna do.” And you know, every costume I make my biggest goal is to somehow look like the character, if I have to change my body form or wear really high heels or you know cut and tailor things a certain way to get the silhouette of the character right that’s still the biggest goal is to really look like what you’re going for.
Erica: And speaking of characters, I know nobody will be able to see it but tell us a little bit about what you’re wearing right now.
Yaya: Well, it’s Sunday at AWA and I’m in my Carmilla costume which is the probably the most elaborate costume I’ve made to date. We did a really fantastic Vampire Hunter D photo shoot with D and Leila and Carmilla and…this outfit I made last September to October it was like five weeks? I did it for NY Anime Fest Yume Cosplay Competition and my friend Anna and I actually won that competition we got to go to Japan for over a week to…
Erica: Oh that’s so cool!
Yaya: Yeah, our dream trip to Japan, it was really amazing so…I love this costume because it really reflects my dedication to authenticity for the characters, and my standard of quality. It takes about three hours to get into, not the most comfortable thing in the world, but you know I love the dressing up factor. And this is such an extreme character, that when I’m in it I’m in inadvertently getting into character and I feel more mischievous and you know, it’s fun!
Erica: And that was actually leading into my next question, you’re saying this one of your elaborate ones, what do you think is maybe the easiest to get in and out of?
Yaya: Well, I have some…really most of my outfits I try to construct them to where literally I can get ready in a bathroom stall if I need to. And so I’d say things like Ada Wong is pretty easy to get into and some of my comic book characters. Anything that can zip or lace up, or you know snap together is pretty easy. Um, this outfit…yeah there are some outfits where literally you cannot get into it by yourself, you need one to two people dressing you so that’s where friends come in! (laughing)
Erica: Yeah, I was gonna say it probably took a couple people! So how many times have you been to AWA would you say?
Yaya: I came to AWA first, I think, ten years ago was the first year? And I think I’ve missed maybe two or three due to whatever situation at that time. But I love this convention; it’s evolved into such a cosplay friendly convention. Jason Merrill, the program director, he’s a saint. I just absolutely respect and admire him and what he does for the cosplayers,you know? There’s a room set aside for cosplay panels, they have a gallery showcasing costume items on mannequins, things that other conventions don’t do. And AWA has a very high quality costume contest too, so it’s very prestigious and I’m happy to be involved as an emcee every year.
Erica: So you did the judging [too] for the costume contest last night, right?
Yaya: No, I did the emceeing for the costume contest last night, and it was great! We had a full room, and some fantastic costumes. All of our judges are experienced cosplayers or propmakers, so I think we try to run a really good and fair show.
Erica: Ok, well you mentioned earlier your favorite anime, Kenshin? What are some of your other [favorite] animes that you like to watch?
Yaya: I’m really big into the classic old school animes like Ranma, Lotus War, Cowboy Bebop, Rose of Versailles even! Yeah, I grew up with manga and anime so…a lot of the newer anime I think they’re trying to cut budgets so there aren’t as many frames, there aren’t as many really beautiful, moving scenes; and so it’s a little harder for me to find time and, you know, get into it. But in my heart I’m still a big manga and anime fan and will always be.
Erica: Ok and I also had another question, you mentioned manga do you read any particular types? Like maybe you don’t watch the show but you read the manga?
Yaya: Oh there’s so many manga that don’t get made into shows or if they do [get made into shows] the show’s just like an abbreviation. My first, I mean honestly, Saint Saya and RG Veda from CLAMP; those are the manga that I just devoured. And there are some bishoujo manga out there that I basically just grew up with and just absolutely still love to this day.
Erica: Have you ever done any CLAMP cosplay?
Yaya: Yes, I’ve done a couple of CLAMP costumes; like Hinata from “X” and Miyukichan from “[Miyukichan] in Wonderland.” Probably something else, Chi? CLAMP has done so many characters!
Erica: Yeah I was gonna ask about Chi! Ok well I don’t want to keep you any longer but thank you so so much for your time you are the sweetest!
Yaya: No problem!
Erica: And you look gorgeous!
Yaya: Thank you!
Erica: Thank you and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a safe trip back!
Yaya: Well I’m local, so it’s not a big trip (laughing)
Erica: Oh ok well thank you!