I met with Yuffie Bunny Cosplay, a model, cosplayer, business owner and student, at New York Comic Con. She has been attending anime conventions for some time as a fan and to promote her business. All the photos below are courtesy of her.
Me: How are you doing today?
YBC: I’m good. Tired because the con is overwhelming but that’s good.
Me: How did the triathlon go for you?
YBC: Oh my God, it was so intense. Probably the craziest thing I’ve ever done and even into the first bit, the swimming, I was ready to call if quits. But then I was like ‘No!’ Once you get passed the swimming, which is the hardest part, you just keep going and going. I finished, which is good.
M: That’s an accomplishment.
YBC: Not a lot of people can finish so it was pretty exciting to get passed the finish line. They throw a wet towel on you, give you an orange, bagel, and water, and put the medal around your neck. It was an amazing feeling. I definitely pushed my body but I did it.
Me: Is this a new model thing, marathons and triathlons? It seems several models are now doing these.
YBC: I’m not too sure about models. I know a lot of models have started working out to try to give models a better look like I’m skinny not because I don’t eat but because I take care of myself when I work out. That is what I always tell people. You have to eat healthy but you also have to keep an exercise routine and that is how you stay fit and thin. I definitely noticed triathlons picking up in popularity with a lot of people, not just models. I hear a lot of studios and companies saying ‘Instead of golfing, let’s go do a triathlon or marathon’. So I think it is just the whole healthy attitude that the world is trying to go toward. It’s fun because, unlike other sports, it is not competitive which is nice and I think people are starting to realize that. They realize the only person they are competing against is themselves.
Me: You can only beat yourself?
YBC: You totally could. If I didn’t finish that triathlon I would have lost to myself because I didn’t force myself and push myself as hard as I knew I could go to finish. I would have been extremely upset and pissed off.
Me: When did you begin modeling?
YBC: The very first shoot I did was back in 2002/03 and I think about them now. Definitely nothing like I do now. It was the start of everything.
Me: When did you start cosplay modeling?
YBC: I started cosplay modeling probably at the end of 2003. It started pretty quick after modeling.
Me: Why the switch?
YBC: The regular modeling is picking up more than cosplay stuff. I’ve gotten so busy with modeling gigs that I have no time to make costumes but I switched over because originally I wanted to just cosplay and I loved it. I love dressing up. I love getting g my picture taken and it happens to meld into the modeling perfectly. It all works out.
Me: When it comes to cosplay modeling, what inspires you to make a costume? I have seen you as characters from “Final Fantasy” and “Bible Black”. How do you choose which ones to do?
YBC: I like doing characters I know. I don’t like just seeing a picture and being ‘Oh, I need to cosplay that’. I want to know the character before I cosplay. I want a connection to the character. I want to feel a certain likeness or I want to just be completely drawn into the character like in love with who they are, what they do. I need to know the characters. I’m not one of the cosplayers who can be like ‘I’m going to do this and this and this’ and not get a background or a feel for what the character is like. I have to watch the anime. I have to play the video game. I have to read the manga or the comic. I don’t like just throwing myself at a character and not knowing what it is they do or what they are about.
Me: If you go to conventions in costume and someone asks you a question about your character, you could answer it?
YBC: Totally. I mean when I use to cosplay Rikku, (I use to play her a lot when I started) I got a whole bunch of questions like ‘Do you speak Al Bhed?’
Me: Do you?
YBC: I do. I’ve lost it like any other language. You don’t use it, you lose it. I still remember how to say I love you, not too sure but I use to know how to say Yuffie Bunny in Al Bhed. Pretty sure I have lost that last one.
Me: I am sure it is online somewhere.
YBC: (Laughs) Yeah, there’s a translator online. That’s how I taught myself.
YBC: That is probably my most famous shoot. I look at a lot of the happier characters like Rikku or Serena from “Sailor Moon” and you see them being pretty happy but there are other sides to the character like there are other sides to people. I always try to look at that when I cosplay a character. The character might be hyper and happy go lucky in the videogame but it would be nice to portray the somber, more relaxed side of the character too. I always try to do that but it is tiring to run around with a smile always on your face.
Me: Are some of the shoots hard? You were stuffed in a trunk for the Bible Black shoot. That must have been uncomfortable.
YBC: It was the middle of summer and I was stuffed in my friend’s trunk (Laughs). I was tied up and gagged. It was an idea I had. I wanted to go all out for that shoot.
Me: Would you do it again?
YBC: Totally, in a heartbeat. It was one of the funniest shoots I have ever done. It was different and kind of relaxing. The only thing that bothered me was the ballgag being in for so long.
Me: What are your future cosplays?
YBC: I’m actually working on Sumomo from “Chobits”. That one should be done for Katsucon. I like to take my time with costumes and I am looking forward to putting out another Rikku very soon. I won’t say which one since it is going to be a surprise.
Me: You have been doing a lot of modeling that involved body paint. When you get offered a modeling job what makes you say yes or no?
YBC: If they pay me (Laughs). I have bills to pay and I have my mouth to feed which is the most important mouth of all. I need money like anybody else in this economy right now. I need money so if the job is paying it’s an automatic yes. I’m one of those models that is easy going and laid back I’m okay with any kind of style, any kind of genre no matter how crazy it is. I’m okay with it whether it is jeans and a t-shirt. I will say yes to non paying jobs if it is an amazing opportunity like work with a really amazing designer that has been published in a lot of place. If it gets me something in return other than money, like publicity or the chance to work with someone who is really well known.
If I don’t know who is approaching me and they ask me to model merchandise or clothing I ask to see more work. Let me see your portfolio, let me see your lookbook, let me see your site. Let me see if it worth not getting paid.
Me: Tell me about Head Kandi.
YBC: Head Kandi is my cyberfalls company that I take to conventions all over the east coast. We do everything from the basic pigtail cyberfall to the big headsets that I wear. We are bringing on key chains and other hair accessories and necklaces. It’s expanding and it’s a lot of fun. We sell extensions. We sell online and EBay. It is all very new to me but I am learning as I go which is like any life experience.
YBC: I actually just started making them for myself. I love dancing. Dancing is a huge passion for me and when I started to really make an outfit to wear to the raves I realized I needed something for my head too. I wanted to complete it, make it really awesome and stand out from everybody else’s. I started to make them for myself and my friends were like ‘Those are really cool. Can you make one for me?’ and I said ‘Yeah, Throw me a few bucks for materials and I’ll make one for you’. Other people wanted one. My friends told me to go ahead and start this. Lo and behold, a little over a year later, we are going pretty strong and we are decking out lots of people at cons now. It is really awesome for me to see my stuff on other people. To me, that is the biggest thrill. When I go to the rave later and see my headsets on people, I get so excited.
Me: You are currently in school. What are you doing there?
YBC: I am studying graphic design and I am going for my B.F.A. right now. I have a little over a year left and I cannot wait for it to be done. It’s stressful trying to juggle school, the business, modeling, cosplaying and training for more triathlons at the same time. Employers want to see your degree before they spend money on hiring a new person. Stay in school kids (laughs).
YBC: I was very hyper and ditzy in high school. I still can be given the right moment. Cons tire me out so not a lot of people see me in that mode but I used to act a lot like Serena from “Sailor Moon” and her Japanese name Usagi translates to bunny. People started calling me Bunny and that was about 7th grade. It kind of stuck since then. I thought the name was cute and I’ve always loved “Sailor Moon” so I was like why get rid of a good nickname that everyone’s calling me.
Me: So your name comes from “Final Fantasy” and “Sailor Moon”?
YBC: Yes. Yuffie is my favorite videogame character. She was the little ninja girl in FF 7.
Me: What has been your favorite photo shoots?
YBC: I love doing (recently) the prosthetic work for Anatomy FX. I love the whole idea of totally becoming something else like…well, you are something else when you get a new costume but the prosthetics are totally different. You really become someone else. It’s awesome. I love creeping people out too.
Me: Some people say girls don’t have the background to be doing this, that girls don’t really follow the material. What do you say?
YBC: I love the girl geek crowd and I think anyone who says girls can’t play videogames or cosplay or read comics should go f*** themselves. I absolutely support girls being into this genre 100%. I’m part of an agency, Charisma+2, which deals with trying to break down the whole idea that girls can’t do this; Girls can’t play video games, read comic books. I am actually into these things and I think girls are stepping it up and taking over the community. Of course, I am seeing a lot of guys here this weekend but I am seeing a lot more females and a lot more females that don’t look like they would be into it but they are. It brings me back to the idea that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Me: What are your favorite conventions to do?
YBC: Katsucon, Otakon, Anime Next, Manga Next, Anime USA and NYCC Anime Fest. My favorite is, even though it is smaller, is Anime Next. It is more relaxing and closer to home. I have been going since the first year it started. I feel left out if I don’t make it. I get to see all my friends and I try not to do any work. Katsucon is my birthday convention.
Me: Any last thoughts?
YBC: Visit my website. Support me. Add me on Facebook. Stop by Head Kandi and take photos of me. The support from fans and con goers is what keeps me going. I love meeting new people and seeing old faces.