Becky Young, also known as Aktrez, is one of the biggest names in cosplay out on the west coast. She started the group Girls Entertainment Network as an avenue for girls to freely express themselves. The exciting news though, is that she is heading south to Texas for Houston’s Anime Matsuri, the largest Japanese Animation and Pop Culture convention in town! I was able to steal a few minutes of her time to ask her about love, anime, games, and coming down here.
Examiner: How did you get started into cosplay, and what was your first cosplay outfit?
Becky: My first cosplay (and probably the closest to my heart) was Emma Frost. I decided to cosplay as her after getting into the artwork by Greg Horn and subsequently the Emma Frost origins storyline that Greg did the cover art for. This was back in 2006. She still remains one of my favorite comic book heroines/villains.
Examiner: What are your five favorite cosplays you have done?
Becky: Five? That’s like telling me to pick which kid is my favorite. Ok, here it goes – Emma Frost, Arkham Harley Quinn, Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, Sexy Tinkerbell and most recently, Viola from Soul Calibur 5. But, there are SO many in between that I love. So, that was a hard one.
Examiner: On average, how long does it take you to create one of your outfits?
Becky: Well, it honestly depends on the outfit. Pinkie Pie (from My Little Ponies) took about a week to put everything together where Viola (Soul Calibur 5) took a little over a month. It depends on the complexity of the costume as well as skill sets I am utilizing for it.
Examiner: What is the thing you enjoy most about cosplaying?
Becky: I enjoy BEING the character. While I am a huge fan of any type of cosplay, my favorite is actually more like acting. The minute I put on a costume I feel that I am that character. This is what makes cosplaying most enjoyable to me. Bringing people’s favorite characters to life!
Examiner: Since this is your first time coming to Anime Matsuri, what are you looking forward to the most?
Becky: Everything! This is the first year that I’ve had the honor of attending many other conventions outside of the California and New York based cons. I’m very excited to meet the Texas fan base and get a look at all of the amazing talent that Texas has to offer!
Examiner: Will you be debuting a new cosplay at AM?
Becky: We’ll see…
Examiner: Do you lean more towards anime, gaming, or original cosplay?
Becky: I’m more of a gaming/comics girl. I am starting to get a little more acquainted with Anime/Manga and can honestly say I LOVE Avatar and Vocaloid. But, those are sort of givens, aren’t they? Any suggestions on series I should look into?
Examiner: Do you consider yourself more of a video gamer or an anime fan?
Becky: I am a HUGE gamer. I’ve been gaming since I was 4 years old (Atari 2600, baby!) and if I’m not sewing or going to Disneyland I’m either on my Xbox or my PC!
Examiner: What are your favorite games?
Becky: Bioshock is my favorite series of all time. That said, most of my current time is being sucked away playing Skyrim and Star Wars: Old Republic. It’s hard to split time between them right now. I love them both equally. I’ve a level 32 High Elf Magic user on Skyrim, and on SWTOR, a lvl 22 Jedi Sentinel and a lvl 11 Sith Inquisitor.
Examiner: What is in your console at home right now?
Becky: Xbox and PC are both splitting my time equally at the moment. That said, when Bioshock:Infinite comes out, it will be ALL about my PS3!
Examiner: What would you say are your 5 favorite anime/manga of all time?
Becky: Well, being that I’m new to this, I’m going to stick with Avatar and Appleseed:Ex Machina for Anime and Dramacon and Divalicious for my Manga’s … I know, I’m a total n00b!!
Examiner: What was the latest anime you watched?
Becky: Appleseed:Ex Machina. I LOVE Deunan!! She’s not only hot but she’s a badass as well. My kind of woman!
Examiner: What was the first anime convention you attended?
Becky: Anime Expo in 2006.
Examiner: What are your favorite anime conventions?
Becky: Katsucon was my first true anime convention where I was able to fully enjoy everything and see all of the WONDERFUL cosplayers. I was so completely blown away by the caliber of cosplay at this event. So, Texas, you better bring it!!
Examiner: What are your favorite convention moments?
Becky: When people come up to me – such as at Katsucon 2012 – and are SO excited that I cosplayed as one of their favorite characters. I had quite a few people really excited to see a Soul Calibur 5 Viola. That made me really feel that all of my hard work had paid off. Didn’t hurt that I got a prize for the costume from the very esteemed judges either.
Examiner: What do you enjoy most about conventions?
Becky: Meeting people. Seeing costumes. Meeting the amazingly talented artists and people watching. Conventions are the most amazing social experiences on the planet. It’s often fun to just sit back and watch the utter lack of caring of what others think of you and the 100% sheer fun people are having!
Examiner: After Anime Matsuri, where will you be heading to next?
Becky: Probably straight to bed. But, honestly … this has been one crazy start to a year. I’m not sure where my next journey will take me!
Examiner: What else are you looking forward to the most this year?
Becky: I’ve leveled up my costuming skill a LOT this year. Learned techniques and skills I never thought I would have. I’m most looking forward to testing out what I’ve learned and coming up with fun, creative and spot on costumes to share with friends/fans. So, keep an eye out!! Be sure to friend my industry page on Facebook. Just look up Aktrez!
Becky Young will be one of the special Cosplay guests at this year’s Anime Matsuri. Follow her on her Facebook and Twitter. Register now at AnimeMatsuri.com so you can meet Becky and all of their other guests! If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to my Video Game Babes column. Check out my Arcade Games and Action Figures columns as well. Fans of cosplay should check out Planet Zero, which hosts regular monthly cosplay parties and get togethers. If you enjoy games and cosplay, then come out to Anime Matsuri, the largest Japanese Anime and Pop Culture convention in Houston, returning on April 6-8, 2012 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and my Blog for more news about anime, games and other events in Houston.