This weekend, I braved the Florida rain to sit down for lunch with Orlando-based cosplayer Kayla of Cosplay By Kayla. She recently got her first chance to be a guest cosplayer at MegaCon in Orlando. We chatted about her experience at MegaCon, how she got started doing cosplay, how she learned to make her own cosplays, and some advice she has for cosplayers and people who interact with them.
Scott (GNN): Let’s start at the beginning. We’ll hop in the WABAC machine and go back. Can you recall the first time you dressed? What’s the first costume you ever made or dressed up in back in the day?
Kayla (CBK): Back in the day, the first one I remember dressing up in, I think I was seven or eight, and I was the Evil Queen from Snow White, and it was a costume for school. Yeah. It was a Disney-branded one. I had the hood that came over and my mom drew a widow’s peak on my forehead. And I had the crown that popped over it that had my own face on it. And then I just had the cape and I was the Evil Queen and that was that. And I was sitting there smiling like, “Yeah. I am evil.”
GNN: So was that for a play or did you just pick that costume?
CBK: No. I picked it. Just because.
GNN: That’s awesome.
CBK: Yeah. The same year, my sister was Tinkerbell and she cried on the playground because her hair was too tight, so.
GNN: So, was that just something you kind of did? At that point, did you know you were kind of going to do dressing up as a thing?
CBK: When I was eight, I didn’t think that cosplay was a thing. I was like, “It’s just Halloween. We just dress up and then that’s it.” Then, maybe, people have costume parties, but it’s always near Halloween. The first time I learned that cosplay was a thing I think was in 2013, 2014.
GNN: So, relatively recently?
CBK: Yeah. My best friend took me to a convention for the first time and I had never been to one and we had actually gone because she had an extra ticket and she needed somebody to go with her to meet Richard Madden…Robb Stark. She was like, “I have an extra ticket. I want you to be in this photo because we both watch Game of Thrones, so let’s go.” And she dressed up as a casual Gryffindor and I was a casual Hufflepuff just because its colors; they’re easy, yellow and red. I walked in and the gates opened and I saw all of my people. I was like, “Wow. This is a whole bunch of nerds. I didn’t even know this existed. I didn’t know I could do Halloween year-round.” I was just beyond excited.
GNN: Conventions definitely become a thing. Like you said, I didn’t even realize until recently. You see comic book conventions in movies and on television and it’s all just sad, pathetic, dorky people. I mean, even Big Bang Theory, which is a show that’s supposed to be about nerd power, they show comic conventions that are horrible. Then you go to them and you’re like, “Oh! These are normal people who are here just having fun. It’s a chance to dress up.” So, based on what you’re saying, while you did dress up as a kid, the nerdiness came before the dressing up or the dressing up came before the nerdiness?
CBK: The nerdiness definitely came before the dressing up. As far as video games, I was always super into that. I think the Game Boy Advance was the first any type of video game console that I had. Any consoles before that, my parents didn’t really super care about. So, by the time I was old enough, we had that. We had the OG PlayStation, but then we just kind of stuck the Nintendo route because “family and video games.”
CBK: So, we had the GameCube and the Wii and the Wii U and the DS. Every version of the DS imaginable. So, I would always do that. My dad got me super into Star Trek. And he still works for NASA. He works for Boeing contracted through NASA. When they did the Star Trek reboot movie with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, they did an IMAX showing at the space center and we got to go to the space center and watch Star Trek.
So, I was like nerd, nerd life. And then obviously, Harry Potter. That is a huge part of everything. I have a Harry Potter-themed tattoo. It’s forever a part of my life.
GNN: How does it feel living in Orlando being as close to Harry Potter?
CBK: It’s amazing. I’ve been an annual pass holder for six years now or five years and I will go just to get a Butterbeer and then walk out.
GNN: Okay. I’m going to totally judge you right now based on the next question. Better Butterbeer, frozen or regular?
CBK: Regular. Cold. Cold Butterbeer is the best.
GNN: Frozen Butterbeer is good.
CBK: But hot Butterbeer trumps all of them.
GNN: Really? I didn’t even know that an option.
CBK: Yep. It’s a seasonal thing. From fall to Christmastime. Yeah. Hot Butterbeer.
GNN: See what people can learn? This interview is not only fun but educational. Hot Butterbeer, folks that come to Orlando…
CBK: There are six different types of Butterbeer. I’m going to keep this education train going. Hot. Cold. Frozen. Toffee. Pudding. Ice cream.
CBK: Pudding. You can only get the Butterbeer pudding inside the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.
GNN: Okay. Oh! So, it’s not Butterbeer with pudding in it; it’s pudding that tastes like Butterbeer?
GNN: Okay. Because the other way sounded disgusting. Man, I need to get back to Universal; that sounds incredible. Anyway, you mentioned the first time you went to a con, you were casual Harry Potter. So, what was the first actual costume that you put effort into?
CBK: The first actual costume was Bombshell Wonder Woman. And I had actually made it for a Halloween party and then I just took it to the next four or five small conventions in the area. I had never used a sewing machine before. I had only known how to hand sew. So, I went to JOANN [Fabrics] and took sewing classes to figure out how to use a machine and spent I don’t even know how much money on sewing classes to sit there with the teacher and have her help me learn how to read patterns, what fabric to pick, what would be best for the W decal on the shirt. Literally everything. She helped me go through all of it. And I made it and I still have that costume. And I have the Christmas version now also. And I just wear it. It’s one of my favorite ones.
GNN: And you made everything?
CBK: Mm-hmm. It was my first pair of shorts that I made. The first thing that I ever put a zipper in. I painted the shoes. I had made a headband. I was blowing my own mind that I could do all of that. And it took me a month.
GNN: That’s incredible. I know one of the things other cosplayers talk about is the sheer number of skills necessary to cosplay. Especially some of the more complicated ones. One of the questions I typically ask, have you had a moment while you were creating a cosplay that you were like, “Oh man, I didn’t think I’d ever have to do this!”? Some skill you never thought you’d need?
CBK: So, with [the Wonder Woman costume], it was pretty simple. I only really needed a sewing machine. But for scavenger Rey from The Force Awakens, the outfit itself, I actually dyed with tea. I just took 30 black tea bags, dyed it, stuck it in a pot and let it steam, took all the tea bags out and then shoved all my white fabric in there and then let it soak at different times. And then that’s how I dyed my clothes. I was like, “I’m dying clothes with tea. What the heck is that?” Then, her staff is actually all pieces from Home Depot. And I didn’t have a Dremel at the time and I didn’t realize that was something that I would need. So luckily, we had just purchased one for work. So, I sat with the Dremel for four hours after work one day with all these different pieces from Home Depot; I had a PVC pipe; I had a pipe that would go with a dishwasher; I had sink faucet handles; I had showerheads; I had PVC end caps. There was an electric connector that I had taken apart that you were supposed to put wires in to connect them safely but I had taken the plastic shell apart and then used all those pieces all for the rest of the staff. So, my whole staff is built out of electric and plumbing parts from Home Depot that I had to Dremel holes into it. I used hot glue. I used super glue. I had six different color spray paints. And even just the connections, I had to go out to the craft store and buy leather. And then I used a strap from a Victoria’s Secret overnight bag to finish the whole thing. So that in and of itself was way more effort than I had ever planned on putting into a costume.
GNN: How do you even figure all of that out?
CBK: The Internet.
GNN: Okay. That seems to be a general theme amongst cosplayers. So, do you just do the research or do you reach out to people for ideas?
CBK: It depends. So, with Rey’s staff, I had just done the research and there was actually a really helpful guide online of someone who went to Home Depot and bought almost exactly the same parts. But she said you obviously have to fit the staff to yourself. Because for her, I think her staff needed to be five-and-a-half feet tall because she was a very tall person. I’m only five-and-a-half feet tall, so I had to make mine a little shorter or else I’d be dragging around PVC everywhere.
So, it’s a combination of researching, figuring out what works best for you, and then talking to your friends. Because maybe you think of one thing that the research didn’t tell you, but then maybe your friend did it a totally different way. And you kind of create this combination that works best for yourself.
GNN: Gotcha. How easy would you say it is to make friends in the cosplay community? How long would you say you’ve been a member of the community? Since day one in 2013? Or…
CBK: No, I wouldn’t go that far. I’d probably say more like 2016…because that was when I made the bombshell Wonder Woman outfit. And that was when I first started going to conventions and making friends. And actually learned, “Oh, hey. These people are cool. I like them.”
GNN: So, most of the people you’ve interacted are cool?
CBK: Yeah. Because when you wear a costume it’s kind of like a walking neon light of, “Hey, look. This is my interest. Come hang out.”
GNN: Okay, so on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being, “I go to Party City, grab a plastic costume and go”, versus 10, “I quit my job and I’m going to do this forever as my only job.” Where would you say you are right now?
CBK: Right now? I’d probably give it a seven. Because I mean, I still need to make money. I need to live, and eat, and have a house. You know? I need to survive. But I would like to do more cosplay than I am now. So, I do want to go to more conventions. I want to make more connections. I want to guest here and there. But at this point in my life, I don’t think I can just drop everything and just cosplay. Because that’s such a big commitment, and there are so many factors that you don’t even think about.
You have to figure out travel; you don’t always get invited to conventions, so sometimes you’ll have to pay be a guest. Then you’d have to pay to make it there to stay for those three or four days at hotels. Figuring out if you’re driving, flying. If you’re flying, you got to rent a car once you get there. And then there’s just the whole logistics of traveling with your costumes. So, I don’t even know if I could fly with my costumes because some of my pieces are too long. I can’t drag a sword through an airport.
GNN: Yeah, I was about to say, your She-Ra sword on an airplane…probably not going to fly too well. So, seven is where you are now. What number are you shooting for? Much higher? Or is seven comfortable? Maybe eight?
CBK: I mean, at this point, I think seven’s pretty comfortable. Maybe if it does go somewhere, if all of a sudden I do become an Alyson Tabbitha then maybe an eight-and-a-half, nine. But you know?
GNN: So, you just did your first convention where you had a table (MegaCon in Orlando, Florida). How did it go?
CBK: It went pretty well. I met some cool new people. There’s somebody who is starting to get more into 3D printing which is how I did my She-Ra sword and he has actually found a small hole in the cosplay community where some things would be easier 3D printed like prop weapons and stuff, but not everybody has access to a printer. So, he’s working with me to figure out the Paralyzer gun from Metroid for Samus. Well, specifically Zero Suit Samus because I want to do the black outfit version from Smash.
GNN: Oh. Nice. So that’s an upcoming costume?
CBK: Yeah. That’s an upcoming costume, hopefully. I’m going to start looking into working with electronics and lights which I never thought I would do but here we are.
GNN: Okay, let’s say you were given an unlimited budget and magically granted with the skills to create whatever cosplay you wanted…all of a sudden, your hands can do anything. What costume are you doing?
GNN: I thought you were already doing that.
CBK: No. I’m doing Zero Suit Samus. That’s just the spandex suit and the heels and the gun. I would want to do full-on Samus, Metroid Prime with the helmet that lights up and then the arm blaster and have that light up. Maybe have some fog machine coming out of it, really cool. Whole armor build. That would be really cool.
GNN: Man, I remember when I beat the original Metroid and you find out, “Oh, my God, it’s a woman! I Can’t believe it!”
CBK: Yeah. Yeah, for the longest time, I didn’t know that Samus was a girl. I didn’t know because I was born in the early 90s. So, when she came out in Smash, I was like, “Yo, this is my favorite player. I love this one.” And then all of a sudden, Zero Suit Samus pops up as a player. I was like, “What? What?” I thought I was a dude this whole time. I was like, ”That’s not why I picked it.” But still, I was just like…
GNN: No, that’s awesome. That’s would be a cool costume to see. So, it seems like you try to make a lot of your costumes and props. Do you ever buy anything online?
CBK: Yeah. So, for mainly shoes, obviously, because I can’t make shoes. I’m not a cobbler. So, can’t just buy up a sole and mold it.
GNN: And unlike the fabric stores, where you could go there and learn how to sew, there don’t seem like there are a ton of cobblers around that are going to help you out.
CBK: Right. So, if I can buy a base and then alternate, I’m okay with that. Like for [Star Wars] Episode Nine, right? Rey basically leggings, is what they are, and they cut off just below the knees. So, I just went on Amazon and bought some white leggings just below the knees. So, things like that help expedite a process, like if I’m on a timeline, then I’ll just buy it, but if it’s something that has to be super-specific, I have to make it. The costume was a tank top, which I decided not to add sleeves just because I didn’t like how it looked. But it was a tank top, a V neck, but also had a short color that came up. And it also had a hood. So, you can’t just kind of buy that online. So, whether you buy a base piece and an alternative or just make it from scratch, it’s still something that you did.
GNN: Yeah, it’s funny because, again, my original view of cosplay was pretty narrow. At first, before I started talking to people, it seemed like everyone got along and everything was peachy. But now, the more I’m branching out, there are people who are kind of judgmental in that regard. It’s like, “Oh, you don’t make everything?”
CBK: Yeah. Yeah. I won’t name names, but I was talking to this one girl, and I was like, “Hey, my friend’s XYZ costume is really cool. But it’s definitely something that you have to buy because sometimes screen-accurate fabric adverts are hard if you can’t mass produce it.” And I was like, “Hey, this is really cool.” He spent a ton of money on his costume, but he looks A-plus. And she just looked at me and she’s was like, “Okay.” I was like, “Why?” And she was like, “Well, usually, I just don’t really consider those people cosplayers because they buy all of their stuff. And I was like, “It doesn’t matter.”
Cosplay is literally the words costume and play. So, you could go to Party City and buy a costume. And as long as you’re having fun, it doesn’t matter.
CBK: So, it’s just sometimes you need people like that, and then sometimes you need people who are like, “I only had time to do half the costume, but I still kind of look like the character but I’m having a blast.” So, it’s just that you meet all these different people, but either way, as long as you have fun. That’s the important part.
GNN: Those also seem like the people that if you didn’t buy it and tried to make it yourself, and it didn’t look quite right, they would judge. It’s like you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
CBK: Right. Right, like, “Oh, sorry. My hair is not the perfect shade of blonde.”
GNN: Yeah. Yeah. It’s vanilla yellow and not butter yellow.
CBK: Right! Don’t get me wrong. When people come up to you and you’re just like, “Wow. You look like you just got ripped right out of the movie,” that makes you feel pretty good, especially if you are going for that.
GNN: So, in addition to the whole, “Oh, you didn’t make it,” the other kind of thing that people get snippy about is when you don’t fully embrace the character, like, “You’re just dressed up as Spider-Man. You’re not really doing the moves and you’re not jumping around and you’re not shooting webs.” So how do you feel about that? Do you get into character when you cosplay?
CBK: It depends. It depends on the character. For She-Ra, she’s very awkward in the show. I feel like I’m just awkward in real life in, whatever, random situations. So, it’s easy to kind of be that person. I usually kind of just stray towards the awkward people because then I could just be myself. But also, you should just be yourself. If you want to embody Rick Grimes, then do the drawl, if you want. If you want to be in Spider-Man, but you don’t actually want to flip around and jump on things and be snarky, then don’t. It’s just up to you.
GNN: Sure. Yeah. Like I say, there are some people that are super judgy about it. But for the most part, it seems– again, it seems like a cool community for the most part. I mean, basically, like anything. You’ve got the 80% in the cool middle, and then there’s the 10% on each side. So, how about interactions with other folks at cons? You just did your first con. What was the coolest interaction you had? Anything stand out?
CBK: Besides Zachary Levi?
GNN: I saw that on your site. Did he like your Shazam cosplay?
CBK: Yeah. He did.
GNN: Nice. That’s awesome.
CBK: Yeah. That doesn’t count because I paid for it though.
GNN: But still, he didn’t have to say anything.
CBK: He didn’t have to say anything. He was a really cool dude. He was actually the only celebrity that I’ve met that I couldn’t physically speak in front of him. I don’t even remember what I was going to say but I had a whole 10-second blurb that I was going to tell him and I practiced all the way up to the beginning in my brain and even started mouthing it a little bit. And I just lost it. I almost couldn’t even breathe. I was like, “He’s literally right in front of me. He put his arm around my shoulders. What is this?”
GNN: Did you only do a photo op or did you meet him at his table?
CBK: I only got the photo op. Having a booth, I felt so conflicted because I wanted to walk around. I wanted to meet up with photographers and do photo shoots. Which I got some photo shoots in but not as many as normal.
GNN: Right. That’s another thing to keep in mind when you have a table, huh?
CBK: Because then I felt like– yeah. I felt like I had to be back at the booth all the time. There are some people who literally showed up to see me and I had just walked away to either go see a different table or go to the bathroom. And they were just like, “Okay. I’ll come back.” And then thankfully, they did but they’d come for me, you know? Not my stuff. For me. So, it was just hard because I felt like I had to keep going back to the table. And I barely even made it through artist alley through all the shops. I didn’t even sort of go on the vendor floor. I couldn’t make it.
GNN: That’s nuts. I think some people think it’s all one big fun thing being at a con, but when you’ve got a table…
CBK: It’s stressful.
GNN: So, any interactions with kids? That seems to be the real highlight, meeting the kids.
CBK: So, one of my favorite things is dressing up as whatever character, it doesn’t even matter, but having kids get really excited. Because they’re like, “Oh, my God. It’s my favorite character.” And nothing against boys but boys have had all of the cool characters for so long, you know? Literally nothing against them. But finally, when I would dress up as Wonder Woman and she was always big anyway, but with the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman, obviously, it brought a whole new energy to it. I would walk around because she used to be my go-to costume, which I want to remake her, but I would walk around as Wonder Woman and these little girls, their face would light up and they’d get really excited and they’d grab their parent’s shirt and it was like, “Can I go see Wonder Woman?” And they would run up and they’re just like, “Wonder Woman, can I get a picture with you?” And I’m like, “Oh, my God. You really think I’m Wonder Woman. Oh, my God.” And then I would freak out.
It’s just so cute. And then they just talk to you. And they tell you their whole life story. And I’m like, “I’m literally a stranger and you’re telling me everything.”
GNN: No, you’re not. You’re Wonder Woman. They know Wonder Woman.
CBK: Right. So, at the last con, I was She-Ra on Saturday and this little boy had stopped to take a photo with a Batman or something but then the little girl turned around and she saw me and she was like, “She-Ra!” She ran up to my table. She was like, “I’m going to get a photo with all the She-Ra’s today!” And I was like, “Wow. You’re awesome!” So it’s just helping perpetuate the cool image of these characters in real life for these kids is really cool.
GNN: That is very cool. That’s incredible. Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus that cosplay, no matter how complicated it is, no matter how hot the costumes, no matter how boring it is sitting at a table. One kid comes up and it’s worth it.
CBK: Yeah, it’s all worth it. One of my friends was at the table, and he was dressed as Samurai Deathstroke and that same little boy who was looking at Batman and wanted a picture and the little girl is talking to me. But then the boy turned around and then saw him. And he was just like, “You’re cool.” And then just ran up and gave him a hug. He was like, “Dude, where are your parents? Are they not paying attention? What if his parents aren’t there?” He’s just loved that character too. He recognized the mask. It didn’t matter that he was samurai version, and he was like, “Yes, you’re cool.”
GNN: Very cool…it’s awesome to hear about those individual experiences. Now, I want to really quickly go back to designing the costumes. You talked about the Internet, and you talked about going to JOANN Fabric and taking sewing classes. Do you ever reach out to any other cosplayers that you don’t know like you see somebody and you’re like, “Hey, you did a video, maybe I could email you and ask questions?” or it’s just the research enough?
CBK: Usually, the research is enough because it’s all generally there, you may have to go through a few links. But there’s a Sailor Scout group that I’m about to be a part of, we haven’t finalized everything yet but we’re getting there. I was trying to figure out what we need to get. Because in so many different art prints and the actual show, and just the Funko pop of this character, her hair goes between green and teal, and sometimes it’s a very bright vibrant teal or a very muted green. So, I didn’t know how to get that in-between color that I really wanted. So, I just looked up and #sailorsaturn. And I would just go through and the people whose links that I liked, I would either message them separately or comment like, “Oh, hey, this league is really cool. I’m about to do this character. What link did you get?” And then some people are just like, “Oh, I just bought this wig, or I commissioned it from someone or I bought these three different wig colors and spiced them together.” There’s a whole bunch of different ways that these people got ultimately the same way.
GNN: Right. So, are there specific places you go? I guess the thing is, for people who want to cosplay, are there specific sites they can go to or is it just a matter of typing what you want into Google and usually, something will come up?
CBK: It’s usually just typing what you want on Google and something comes up. I would also just search hashtags on Instagram. So, if you want a specific character like Sailor Saturn, you look up #sailorsaturn or Sailor Saturn Cosplay, and people will pop up just for recognition. And that’s how you use social media. Sometimes people will tag what they’ve bought or what places they bought XYZ item. So, it’s easy to go that way. If they don’t tag it, you can always message them, but just the Internet itself will give you like 95% of the information you need.
GNN: Okay, so back to conventions. You just had your first convention. I know one big issue is the “Cosplay is not consent,” concept. You’ve done a lot of dressing up, and now you had your first table. Have you had any situation where anyone’s done anything?
CBK: So, not directly to me. There was one guy who just sat around mine and my friend’s table, and he was just getting to that creepy level of just kind of standing there and not even talking anymore, but just flipping through the same 10 photos that we had. He was just weird, and then he asked for a photo of me and her, and another cosplayer a little further down. We were all just hanging out, standing, having a conversation. He asked for a photo, but then he was going in for a very low waist grab, and my friend just kind of came over and was like, “Oh, we’re going to do fighting hands.” And then he made it a point to try and go behind my cape to get way low, where your boyfriend goes, basically. So, the stranger arm hug, you go up by the shoulders. You know? People that you know a little more, like friends, best friends, you can go by the waist. But he was trying to go low. And I was like, “Hmm, let’s not do that.” So, then I took a step, and I had the sword, and I was like, “Oh, I got the sword up.” And he was like, “Okay, cool,” and then tried to do it again. And I was like, “Oh, let’s do it with weapons.” And he was like, “Oh, I have a prop gun.” And I was like, “Okay, cool. Do that.”
That was just the most recent one. And then it was my first major con as Wonder Woman, there was a photographer where, like, he was totally fine to me on the con floor. And these two people walked by and they locked eyes with me, and they just like– silently, but they were just like, “Don’t do it. Get out of there.”
I was reading their lips, and I was like, “What the frick? Why do I need to get out of here?” So, I finished up real quick. It was like one more photo, and I was like, “Ah, thank you so much.” And I ran around the corner and found them at the end of the hall, and they were telling me how this one photographer, he seems super-innocent, takes photos, and then never actually gives the people their photos, but he’ll be editing them and just making really gross comments about them. And this one girl, specifically, he was like, “You’d look really great if we did a shoot and you were half-naked on my floor.” And she was like, “What the frick?” Like, “What the heck?” She never got her photos. I never got my photos from the floor. From the con floor. Don’t know where those are.
GNN: So, that’s definitely something to look out for if you’re ever thinking of doing this?
GNN: Yeah. It just seems like such a fine line. That’s another thing I’ve talked about, especially with female cosplayers. You want to be seen as friendly. I mean, that’s your bread and butter, interacting with people. But then, some people are going to construe it wrong, or are just going to be creepy no matter how you act.
CBK: Yeah. That’s why there are those signs that say, “Cosplay is not consent.” And it’s sad that they have to specify that.
GNN: Yeah. It is. I recently asked another cosplayer (Angel of Dorkness Cosplay), and I asked her if she had any advice, and she mentioned asking to take a cosplayer’s picture instead of just getting in someone’s face and snapping the picture. Do you have that issue? People just snapping pics of you?
CBK: There are so many people that do that. I could just be walking around on my phone, and people just walk up, snap a photo, and walk away. I’m like, “Why?” I can at least pose better.
There was also this one time at Orlando Toy and Comic Con. I was actually on the phone with the vet for my dog because he was sick. He had a little puppy cold. And I actually thought that I gave him too much medication before I left and I was second-guessing myself. And at the time, he was only six pounds. By the time I made it to the convention 35, 40 minutes away, I started freaking out and I was like, “Oh, my God. What if I gave him too much?” So, I was on the phone with the vet trying to have them confirm that I didn’t murder my puppy that I just got.
GNN: So, not in the best frame of mind for a picture?
CBK: Right. Yeah. So, I’m just on the phone and this dude just walks up. He was like, “I’m going to snap a photo really quick.” And I told him, “No,” and then he did it anyway. And I straight up told the vet because she’s in the middle of telling me about his medication, I was like, “I’m sorry. One moment please.” Put her on mute and turned around and I was like, “Sir, I asked you to not take a photo of me just for a moment. If you can wait about 30 seconds, I’ll be off the phone and I’ll take a photo.” And he was like, “Okay. Sorry. I’ll delete it.” And I was like, “Thank you. That is the proper response. You shouldn’t have taken the photo in the first place but thanks.” I mean, he just walked away. He wasn’t feeling it afterwards and I was like I wasn’t feeling it after that either.
GNN: Sometimes it seems that boundaries don’t exist anymore.
CBK: No. Not at all.
GNN: It’s very odd. It must be fun to want to do it, but frustrating because of things like that. But it’s pretty cool that you still do it, you’re still enjoying it.
CBK: Yeah. It’s because the good experiences super outweigh the bad. But there are sometimes where I just think about I just don’t want to do it because I don’t want to deal with X, Y, Z thing. And it’s usually after the really bad days where it’s just thing after thing. That day, I had five or six people come up to me while I was on the phone at different times and I was freaking out. And I just broke down. I was just crying in the middle of the parking lot dressed as Rey. I was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” So, I just took everything off and then I changed in the car and I walked back into the con, I was like, “I can’t even do this today, man.” So, then we just left.
GNN: It’s a shame it gets like that, but you’re powering on and you’re doing more cons. Speaking of what’s coming up, what’s coming up for you cosplay-wise? What have you got?
CBK: Cosplay-wise? So obviously, Zero Suit Samus. That’s one. I got to start finishing the costumes that I’ve started instead of just jumping ahead. DC Super Hero Girls Raven. That’s one because I like her outfit. It’s not the basic leotard and cape. She’s actually got a dress. She’s got tights, boots, a really cool cape, and her hair is black and red. So, I think that’s pretty cool. For the most part, I like doing characters that not everybody does.
GNN: Have you ever done a cosplay that you tried to do and either you got halfway through or you got to a point where you said, “I can’t even do this. It’s too much. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew,” or do you just put it aside and you’ve never gone back to it. Or have you basically been pretty good about finishing all the way?
CBK: Well, I’ve been pretty good about finishing all the way, but the Raven one, I have to make boot covers. Oh, She-Ra– literally anything with boot covers, I hate making them, so I just don’t. So, She-Ra’s, I just kind of slapped some foam on my feet and called it a day. But at the end of the day, I’m not happy with my knees down because I don’t like how the foam looks. You know? So, I just have to do it, but I hate making boot covers, because feet are a weird shape. You know? If I make bracers, it’s just a cylinder, but boot covers are L shapes, and it’s hard to do that and have the seams in the right spot.
So literally any costume with boot covers that I have to make out of fabric, I try to not. It’s just, I always end up picking characters that have crazy intricate boots for no reason. Yeah. Luckily, for Wonder Woman, you can actually buy them at Hot Topic.
GNN: Have you ever dressed up as anyone and people were like, “Who are you?”
CBK: Usually, when I dress up as Silk, people call me every other person that’s not Silk. They’re like, “Oh, Spider-Woman. Oh, Spider-Gwen. Spider insert-adjective here.” They just don’t know who Silk is.
GNN: So, we know the costumes you’ve got coming up. Where are you going to be in the near future? Which cons?
CBK: So July 20th is Hero Hype. It’s a small convention at the Hilton by Universal [in Orlando, Florida]. I might be going to METROCON [in Tampa, Florida] for a day or two, which is the weekend before that. Then there’s Tampa Bay Comic Con in August.
GNN: If people want to find you out on the interwebs, how would they do that?
CBK: On Instagram. Mainly Instagram @cosplaybykayla. I also have a Facebook and a Twitter under the same name.
GNN: Oh, and I guess the last obligatory question…what are you geeking out on right now?
CBK: Right now? I’ve been on a huge Universal theme park kick. I’ve been really geeking out on the theme parks lately. I just went twice in the past three days.
GNN: Anything on TV? Watching any TV and movies?
CBK: TV, movies? Oh, we’ve been watching Chernobyl on HBO.
GNN: Okay. Oh, really? Is it good?
CBK: Yeah. It’s obviously history based because of the actual Chernobyl event that happened, but they make it look interesting to watch and learn. And we were never told in depth what happened. But now I know that the thing exploded and it shouldn’t have.
GNN: I’ll have to check it out. And with that, we’re done. Thank you for your time!
CBK: Of course. Thanks for the interview!