Interview with Karen Sakai, the cosplayer who’s crowdfunding her breasts

Karen Sakai photo by Riamux Creations thumb
Photo by Riamux Creations

We posted about cosplayer Karen Sakai and her GoFundMe campaign where she is asking her fans to help support her breast augmentation to aid in her cosplay and modeling. Many in the cosplay community weren’t too pleased with that. We recently interviewed Karen so that she can tell her side of the story.

Nerd Reactor: As you can tell, the campaign has created quite a stir. What are your thoughts on the critics out there?

Karen Sakai: I’m still in a position where my mind is blown about how blown up this became. I’m still in shock about it. I’m not really even a big cosplayer; I’m pretty sure nobody knows who I am. It’s blowing up and I just can’t believe how big it has become. It started off as a little thing where I went, “Why not?” Then people started to donate more and more, and I was like, “Wow, this could really help me.” So yeah, I decided to stick with it. Something so small that I did exploded.

NR: Sometimes that happens with crowdfunding. For example, the potato salad.

Karen Sakai: I’m pretty brand new to this GoFundMe thing. I only heard about it from South Park. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a YOLO-type thing. I was thinking I would probably get $20, $25 or $50. I was like, “Okay, whatever.” I did not expect it to blow up this big at all.

NR: Do you have anything to say to your supporters?

Karen Sakai: I’m just glad they see my view and how I don’t think it’s that offensive, but I do see how people can take offense to it. I’m not denying that. I guess the people that are on my side, all I can really say is thank you.

NR: There are some that say you should be happy with your breast size.

Karen Sakai: Do what makes you happy. If there are gals out there who are happy about their breast size…great, but if they want to do something about it, then you need to do something about it. Just do it. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you.

NR: Since the cosplay community is like a bubble, there are those upset that you’re representing the cosplay community in a bad light. How do you feel about that?

Karen Sakai: I’m actually kind of surprised because I didn’t really think I was part of the cosplay community. I’m not that big of a cosplayer. It’s surprising that somebody as little as me is making an impact in the community. I didn’t really think I was that big enough to be a part of it.

NR: Remember that quote from The Lord of the Rings? “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

Karen Sakai: Yeah, that does make sense. You’re right. I apologize if I offended the cosplay community, but this started off as a “YOLO! Why not try this out?” thing. It got bigger, and breast augmentation is something that I want. I don’t think it should hurt the cosplay community because this is just like my own private little thing. Once again, I didn’t mean for it to blow up. I didn’t know what I got myself into.

NR: How did you get into cosplay?

Karen Sakai: I’ve always liked it. A little over 10 years ago it wasn’t okay for females to show their nerdy side. I did do a cosplay from Yu-Gi-Oh! a little over ten years ago. I got more ridiculed for that than I did for being half Asian, which you saw in my video.

NR: Yes.

Karen Sakai: I stopped cosplaying because I was already too butthurt from being harassed by other schoolmates. I joined the navy after high school for four years. And then I got out and went to school. Somehow I got into modeling, and I think I met my old friends at modeling and saw that people were doing cosplay. I’m just like, “Are you serious? People like girl cosplay? What?” That’s exactly how I felt. I was like, “Hell yeah! I’m going to get back into cosplay.” That’s how I got back into it.

NR: Yeah, high school is always like an emotional roller coaster ride. Kids will always do mean things.

Karen Sakai: I was at the bottom of the barrel.

NR: About that video where you talked about being unhappy because you’re half Asian and half white.

Karen Sakai: I grew up in Bremerton, Washington. It’s a navy base, so there’s a lot of mixed kids like me. Growing up, people just saw other halves as not looking good enough. They couldn’t fit in anything. They looked different. It wasn’t just me; it was other kids too. We got bullied a lot for just being us. It just grew on me. It’s like Pavlov’s Dog with the salivation. I keep getting harassed and butthurt from comments for being a half, so it kind of grows with you for over 10 or 15 years.

I was dating this guy in high school and he told me that the most beautiful woman is a full Japanese woman. I’m like, “You do know that I’m half white?” He’s like, “Yeah.” A lot of people don’t realize it but a lot of full Asians have that mindset that they’re more superior than those who are mixed. I grew up around that community and I’m conditioned to think that way. I’ve talked to others from California where they say, “Everybody’s mixed.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to have that growing up.

NR: That sucks. I was fortunate enough to be in an area where there’s a lot of different types of nationalities.

Karen Sakai: You know what? I bet if it was [mixed here], I wouldn’t have these self esteem issues that I’m currently battling through right now. Such as the breast augmentation and whatnot.

NR: Okay, let’s talk about something on a lighter note. What cosplay outfits are you planning for the future?

Karen Sakai: I really am excited to start working on my Nidalee cosplay from League of Legends.

NR: Since you cosplay, I’m going to assume you go to conventions as well. If you do go, how do you feel when you’re there with other cosplayers and fans?

Karen Sakai: I feel so relaxed and at home. I’m way too happy than I should be. It’s really nerve-racking getting on the ferry and then walking to the convention in front of all these doctors and lawyers in their suits. As soon as you walk into the convention, boom, you see everybody in cosplay, booths and comics, and you’re just like, “I’m home.”

NR: What games are you playing now?

Karen Sakai: I just beat Lollipop Chainsaw, and I’m going to work on a cosplay for that. My favorite game that I’m playing right now is South Park: The Stick of Truth. I’m doing all the side quests, and I’m at the Nazi babies part.

NR: Since there are criticisms for your GoFundMe project, are you nervous about going to an upcoming convention?

Karen Sakai: To be honest, I’m pretty sure no one is going to recognize me at all. I bet when this thing blows over, people will be like, “Who’s Karen?”

We talked before about other GoFundMe projects, and I went to check them out. There’s a section where you can see what kind of GoFundMe people are doing. One section is Wishes. There they are; wishes for people who want a car, go to Hollywood, or want a nice Italy vacation. When I asked the GoFundMe people to see if what I’m doing is okay, they said what I’m doing is fine and it would go under the Wish section, but since it’s about breasts and children go to the site, they can’t put it up there. It blew my mind how I’m just getting all this hate for a basic wish, and there are others asking for things like that too.

NR: Why do you think the cosplay community has been vocal about this when there are other worse campaigns out there?

Karen Sakai: Who are the top leaders? Nigri, Yaya Han. What do the pictures focus on? Their breasts. I think to become successful in cosplay, you have to push your way a little bit further. I think it’s the fact that cosplay is so connected to females and showing off the breasts. It’s a hot topic and that’s the reason why that hot topic added gasoline to the fire. I think it’s just because of the breasts.

A final thing is that I’m not forcing anybody to donate. I’m sorry that it offends some people, but I stand by it. If you want to do something, just do it.

Thank you for having this conversation and the opportunity.

NR: Thank you for doing the interview with us.

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