Interview with Nicole Miyasato
Nicole Miyasato is a cosplayer, model and film editor living in California. Originally from Hawaii she has since pursued her passion of working in the film and television industry in both New York and LA.
Nicole, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into film?
Sure! I was born and raised in Hawaii and always thought I’d go into music somehow. I saw a video by My Chemical Romance when I was in high school and it sparked the idea to use film to get involved with music. It kinda flew from there and I realized I was much more at home behind a computer than on set. I moved to New York, NY in 2008 to study film and transferred to California in 2009 to study film editing.
You say you wanted to be involved in music, what did you want to do?
My dad is a great guitar player and singer and he’d always sit down and play me songs when I was little. My parents encouraged me with piano and guitar lessons and I wanted to be a performer, but I was just too shy for it to be a reality. Musical ability is a talent I admire a lot and I thought at the time that I could use film to showcase musicians and make music videos. It really became a gateway for me to delve deeper into other film work though. I still play guitar from time to time but no one will ever see or hear it. I also love to sing in the car, but who doesn’t?
What is it that attracts you to film editing?
I just enjoy working with other people on their projects. Usually by the time a director comes to me, they’ve been working on the particular project for so long, they’re tired, on edge, and hesitant about handing their baby over to me. I like the interaction of sitting down with them, finding out what their vision is, and making the most out of what we have. I still have fun helping out on shoots though, and I still do photography as a hobby.
How were you first introduced to lolita fashion?
In college I knew a little about lolita through my roommate at the time who made me watch Kamikaze Girls. In 2010 PMX was in Pasadena, where I was staying, and I knew Baby the Stars Shine Bright would be there, the lolita brand that was featured in Kamikaze Girls. I knew the dresses were expensive, but I was ready for the jump. I gathered up some savings and bought my first JSK (Jumper-Skirt dress). I was so excited that I ran to my friend’s house to put it on and then went back to the convention.
(This is me trying it on for the first time.. )
Besides lolita, you are interested in other styles of fashion as well. Can you tell us more about what you like?
I love gyaru. My regular style and interests were always somewhat related to gyaru, and when I started moving in that direction I met the local gals and they were just awesome! They’re welcoming and totally not judgmental, they’re sweet girls that like to promote gyaru fashion, talk about magazines and makeup, do purikura, and have fun together. Gyaru is growing in the USA and I do think it’ll boom in the next few years.
What was your first cosplay?
I was a Blood Elf from World of Warcraft at New York Comic Con. I went by myself, and I had lots of fun.
Many people say they enjoy cosplaying because of the friendships they make and the sense of community. Is that something you think is important to you?
Definitely, not just in cosplay but in lolita and gyaru as well. When I started out, I was already doing a little bit of everything. I was being genuine and passionate about each of them. I’d go to a three day convention, do lolita the first day, do gyaru the next day, and cosplay the next. I remember someone telling me I couldn’t do that, and that I’d be hated on. It made me sad because over the years, I’ve truly come to know each of those communities, and I didn’t want to have to chose. I’ve made a lot of true friends through lolita and gyaru. I like a lot of different things and I’ve found most of the LA community to be very accepting. My lolita friends will invite me out and tell me I could wear gyaru if I was more comfortable. It’s a great community. There will always be haters and people who will judge you, in any community and especially online, but you just gotta do what you love.
Are there any particular characters you would like to cosplay in the future?
I’m dying to be Ashe or or “Arcade Sona” from League of Legends, a game that I’ve recently started playing. I would love to be Ahri, but she has 9 tails, and I’m pretty sure I’d trip all over myself!
Recently you have been getting a lot of attention for your modeling work. How did you get started?
I got into it by accident. I bought my first wig from Gothic Lolita Wigs when I started getting really into lolita and I posted a photo of me wearing it on their facebook.
It got a good response and so when I bought my next one I posted again. They liked the response I was getting and how I promoted their wigs on my blog and facebook so they asked me if I’d like to do a shoot for another wig. After that I gave them a few photos and even was invited to a real shoot for their sister site CosplayWigsUSA here in Hollywood.
(From the Hollywood shoot for cosplaywigsusa.com)
After I started moving more towards gyaru, I did a couple gyaru inspired shoots for them as well.
With my little collection of photos, I started opening up to TFP opportunities with photographer friends and on Model Mayhem. It was just for fun, but I found I really liked being in front of the camera.
You got a lot of positive feedback in regard to your photos. Were you surprised?
I was because a few years ago I couldn’t ever imagine myself modeling. I had self-esteem issues in the past because I was born with a type of lymphangioma, a birth defect on my cheek and neck. I had surgery to fix it the day after I was born, but I was still teased a little growing up about my “fat cheek/face” and the scars on my neck. I had another surgery when I was 16 and as I grew, it became less noticeable but I was still very shy and self-conscious. I had muscle removed, so my shoulders don’t hold themselves up evenly as well. I’m sure now that my imperfections were never as obvious to other people as they seemed to me.
Being asked to model felt like one of the weirdest and most unnerving things, I didn’t know what I was doing there or why they wanted me. But to an extent I spent my life learning which way to face the camera to look more symmetrical, how to compensate and hide things, and at first it helped me take better photos but it was exhausting calculating every little movement. It helped to have a close friend as my photographer at first.
Posing with a flyer I was on at PMX 2011
When I started going to conventions and talking to people I realized that what people liked about my photos most was that I was promoting what I loved. I realized that the imperfections are what make people real and interesting and unique, and I was surprised that audiences and photographers weren’t always looking for perfection. Photographers tell me now that my crooked smile is my trademark
Soon enough I wasn’t thinking about how my face looked when I smiled, or exactly how to tilt my shoulders just right, I was just having fun wearing the fashions I love, and that’s when I started to enjoy it, my self-esteem got better, and I stopped caring if I was “good enough”. Now modeling is something I do for fun!
I did a few cosplays over the years as well, such as Lightning from FFXIII, Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a saran-wrapped victim from the TV show Dexter for San Diego Comic Con.
What do you like to do when you have free time?
Mostly hang out with my kitten Kiko-Kitty I’m kind of obsessed with him, definitely a crazy cat lady.
He has his own tumblr here: http://mynameiskikokitty.tumblr.com/
I also play video games and online shop haha. I like going to clubs and live music events. I love music and I like to dress up and dance.
What would you like to be doing five years from now?
I’d like to have a job as an editor, maybe here in California. I think everyone kinda goes through life jumping from one thing to the other for a while, so I’m confident I’ll find my niche. I’ll always have my hobbies and I like to think I’ll always find a way to get involved even when I’m not modeling or cosplaying myself anymore.
Where can we go to find out more about you?