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The Coolest Cosplays from a Cosplay Master!

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The Coolest Cosplays From a Cosplay Master

Tempo asked Cosplay master Yaya Han about cosplaying! She opened up about how she started, the challenges she overcame, and her exciting next plans.

TEMPO: Tell us who Yaya Han is.
Yaya: I’m a costume designer, cosplayer and model, living and working in the United States. However, I was born in China, and raised in Germany and China, so my personality and work ethic comes from three different cultures. I never imagined I’d pursue Cosplay as a profession, but I really love working for myself, and building an artistic company.

TEMPO: How long have you been cosplaying and modeling?

the coolest cosplays from a cosplay masterYaya:
I discovered Cosplay in 1999, when it was a tiny underground community, and when I was just a n00b kid! There was no cosplay industry, and not even the slightest possibility of doing cosplay professionally. The cosplay community I entered was completely hobbyist driven, and I jumped in headfirst as an avid fan – making horrible costumes, and learning all kinds of construction techniques along the way. After a few years of making a lot of costumes, and winning a long list of costuming awards at conventions, I started being asked to do panels and programming as a guest, and I realized that my passion for cosplay turned a hobby into a lifestyle. I began relying on cosplay as my sole source of income from 2005. Because there was, and still is, no paved path for cosplay as a career, I had to try different avenues within. For several years I made costumes for people, indie movies, theatre, night clubs and TV shows – using my skills as a costume designer and maker for my income. But when someone else dictates what you should make, your creativity gets stifled. I wanted to design and to make costumes, and to continue challenging my skills. So I shifted gears and started a cosplay accessories store where I design and hand-make unique copyrighted items at a low price so many people can enjoy dressing up instantly. I pair that with building my own brand as Yaya Han, and travel to over 20 conventions worldwide to be a guest, panelist or exhibitor. I have also partnered up with McCall Pattern Company, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Bernina Sewing Machines, and am spending a lot of time designing, creating, and advocating for better, more useful and easy to access materials and tools for cosplayers/costumers.

TEMPO: What’s your creative process like?
Yaya: I usually have a huge list of costumes that I want to make, and often it’s a matter of time and the prospect of an event that decides which one I tackle first. I am a self-proclaimed materials hoarder, and have an abundance of fabrics, notions, trims, prop making materials, paints and tools in my house. Because my life is so fast paced, I have to allot days or weeks for costume making, and I try to plan ahead and gather all materials needed, before I start on a new project. I am most efficient when I binge-craft, so often, I won’t leave my house for days, roll from my bed room to my craft room, work all day and night, and roll back to bed.
I love experimenting with makeup, and I try to execute my makeup with as much detail as my costumes. Makeup is truly a part of cosplay!

TEMPO: Of all the cosplays you’ve done so far which is your favourite?

the coolest cosplays from a cosplay masterYaya:
It’s hard to pick favourites because I feel attached to all of the 300 plus costumes that I’ve made. If you twist my arm, I’ll name the following: Heartseeker Ashe, League of Legends. It was such a great design, and I had a blast making the costume. Another is My Peacock costume – because it was made into a commercial sewing pattern last year by McCall’s Patterns! Another is Arkham City Catwoman because love posing in this costume, and it’s super comfortable. Selina is such a multi-faceted, fantastic character. Then there’s Carmilla, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: I loved the total transformation of this costume, and creatively it was the biggest challenge I encountered at the time.

TEMPO: What were your most, and least, expensive cosplays?
Yaya: I don’t think money has any impact on the quality of value of a costume. I’ve made costumes for as little as $20, and as much as $1500. But budgeting and shopping smartly is always key for me, because I started out cosplaying as a broke teen, and to this day still have the same money-saving mentality.

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TEMPO: What was the best moment you had doing your cosplay?
the coolest cosplays from a cosplay masterYaya: My best experience in cosplay was during San Diego Comic Con 2011 – I made a Daenerys costume based on the Song of Ice and Fire books, and met George RR Martin, who signed my costume! He told me to come to the Game of Thrones panel and invited me to come backstage and meet the actors, just as they came off the stage! It was a surreal and amazing experience, and I am so grateful to George for his generosity and kindness.

 

TEMPO: What are the challenges in cosplay that you had to overcome?
Yaya: My bigger challenge was when I quit my salary job in 2005, to start a cosplay commission business. It was terrifying, and I learned some very harsh life lessons since. Turning your hobby into a business requires a lot of discipline, time management, and non-stop work every day. It is still difficult sometimes for me to juggle all of the unpleasant business related tasks such as taxes, contracts, and other paper work. But even on my worst day of working for myself, I am happier than working for someone else.

TEMPO: How have people around you reacted to your success?
Yaya: My first ever costume was completely unknown – I made Kurama’s costume from Yuyu Hakusho, but did not use a wig, or put on makeup. No one knew who I was but the feeling of wearing something that I made from scratch was exhilarating! I also remember the feeling I had when someone asked me for a photo for the first time! Surreal and so exciting!
These days, people are so kind and welcoming of my costumes! I just debuted my Pokemon Go Trainer costume, and it’s been so fun to go around with other Pokemon Gijinka cosplayers, and to take photos together! The first time you put on a costume is definitely magical, and an experience worth all of the sleepless nights.

TEMPO: Which fellow cosplayers inspire you most?
coolest cosplays from a cosplay masterYaya: Oh my gosh, there are so many cosplayers that I admire! I feel so lucky because my travels have led me to meeting some of them in person, and I have even become friends with them! Kamui Cosplay from Germany, Laura Sindall and Cosplex from the UK, Ryoko and Rei from Russia, Aly and K from Australia, Nikita, Anshella and from France, Shinju from Romania… they are all cosplayers I have admired for years, and now am friends with! In the US I really appreciate the work by God Save the Queen Fashion, Punished Props, and Enlaya. There so many cosplayers that I love that it seems unfair to only name a few. There is a lot of talent and skill in cosplay, and it’s incredibly exciting to see new techniques and ideas being developed!

TEMPO: Describe a normal day in the life of Yaya Han.
Yaya: My life is split up in two very different worlds. When I’m home in Atlanta, a normal day would start off with answering important emails, then going to my warehouse to hold meetings with my employees, sign merchandise, and take care of other business related matters. Then I either have skype or phone call meetings, or I go run errands. In the afternoon, once all the business related tasks are done, I can finally lock myself in my craft room and work on a costume until the wee hours in the night.
I spend most of my weekends at conventions, so those days generally start super early, because I like to eat breakfast, and take my time getting ready in costume. I usually take 2 – 3 hours to leisurely do my makeup, prep the costume (ironing!) and get dressed. Then it’s a whirlwind of cosplay panels, autograph signings, photos, and programming such as judging a costume contest. I’m often in costume for 12+ hours per day, which can be very exhausting, but still as thrilling as the first time I cosplayed. If I’m lucky, I can sneak away for 30 min to an hour to do a photoshoot.
All in all, my life is 50 per cent sweatpants and hair in a bun, and 50 per cent glamorous globetrotting and event appearances, lol.

TEMPO: Any future plans that you would like to share with the community?
the coolest cosplays from a cosplay masterYaya: My two biggest projects currently are designing cosplay-focused patterns for McCall Pattern, and creating the Yaya Han Cosplay Fabrics Line for Jo-Ann Fabrics. Both lines are very dear to my heart, and require a tremendous amount of work. I will be continuing to create new items with McCall and Jo-Ann that are geared toward helping cosplayers. Of course I have more costumes to make: some from comic books, some from video games, and some original designs. I am also traveling to a lot of international events in 2016, and have really enjoyed getting to know the different cosplay communities so far. I can’t wait to come back to the UAE and meet more cosplayers in Abu Dhabi during Fun Nation!

TEMPO: Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring cosplayers?
Yaya: Cosplay is an art form, and a fan expression, so find the balance between both: have fun with each cosplay you put together, but also enjoy the exploration of creativity. Take advantage of all the great resources out there, from materials to tutorials. Google and Youtube can teach you just about any technique, and research makes your hands on work so much easier. Also, remember that anyone can cosplay, and that your body type, skin tone, gender, and size should not hinder you from becoming your favourite character.
TEMPO: How can people get in touch with you?
Connect with Yaya: www.yayahan.com or FB: http://facebook.com/yayacosplay

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The Tempo Creed

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Tempo Creed
The Tempo Creed

Your life matters. Nurture it.
The world is beautiful, embrace it.
Find meaning in everything you do.
Look at the sky, savor every moment.
Make it a point to smile, especially at those who sever you.
Be thankful, gratitude is a virtue.
Appreciate those who love you, show them (often) that you care.
Don’t be content with drifting – aim to soar.
Strive to make a difference.
Share with others, care about those around you.
Know that you can accomplish more by being kind.
Realize that often a little thing you do can transform another person’s life completely.
Dare to dream. Think big and be inspired by goodness.
Appreciate simplicity.
Know that life is not about how much you amass, but often how much you give away.
Don’t be timid. Live your life to the fullest.
Life is too short and too beautiful to just throw away.
To the skeptics, the doubters, and the naysayers we say, there is a place for art to inspire
…. love to conquer and for ideas to build communities.

 

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One Good Thing – A Story of Giving.

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Meet Bridgett Lau, Co-founder of One Good Thing, a business that sells innovative eco-friendly products such as Satellite Bluetooth speakers made from reclaimed wood, Messenger bags made from billboards and organic T-shirts.

Founded in 2017, One Good Thing was the result of an epiphany – a personal tragedy, a memorable trip to Asia, and the inherent belief that people are good people. But let Bridgett tell you her story …

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Tempo: How did you get started?

Bridgett: The idea was simple; to uncover great products all over the world that people would want but that also has a direct positive impact on the planet. It was to give these social enterprises a platform to expand their reach, and ultimately help people make easy, better choices with a halo effect.

Tempo: What you are passionate about?

Bridgett: In business, I am passionate about SMEs and start-ups. I am currently mentoring a number of individuals who are at various stages of growing their businesses.  After exiting my first business venture and three decades in sales, I feel that understanding business roadblocks and having the solutions to fix them is crucial if a business is to grow and achieve its goals. 

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In life helping people be the best version of themselves is my underlying motivation. It’s my “Ikigai” (a Japanese word which means the reason for being).

Tempo: Where you want to go in your life?

Bridgett: Wow that’s a tough question and honestly, I am here, I am doing what I want feels right. Pre COVID 19, we had started gaining more traction and with corporates and not just corporate gifting but corporates who are looking to join the circular economy. We are in a phase of padding out how we can help the local economy grow by giving waste a second life as we build a new way in a COVID world.

Tempo: What have you learned from your experience?

Bridgett: I am going to do the top three as my list is endless and changes weekly:

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  1. Do not underestimate GRIT. Prior to this business, I thought I had buckets of it but this business has tested me and it nearly broke me. The hardest part is not the beginning, it’s when you come out of the beginning when you think you should know what you’re doing but instead you might be running a different business than the one you planned.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. You hear this often but it really does need to be hard-wired into everyday decisions; it’s about the phrase “don’t worry about getting it perfect”. Your logo, the branding, your IG profile, your commercial model… ask questions of experts and try things out. You don’t know what is going to be “perfect” until you try.
  3. The power of your network. It is integral that you know how to bargain and how to develop relationships as a startup and also be genuine with who you are. We have grown by doing this every step of the way.

 

Click to visit her shop – https://www.one-goodthing.com/

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Lead meaningful happy life doing these 3 things

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 I have been helping a lot of people evaluating their lives and changing some of their priorities to lead a more meaningful and rewarding life.

I signed up with UC, Berkeley to learn more about why and how to create more happiness in life and today I work as happiness expert and blogger for Enritsch.com, a on-line and wellness platform. I also do my free Happiness Pep-talks driven by my vision to create a planet where people lead more flourishing lives. The science on happiness is here already, it just needs to be applied to people’s lives, corporates, and communities.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND HAPPINESS

Our subjective state of mind and our experience of positive emotions is partly heritable – up to 50% is determined by our genes – so if you ask the question “why are some people happier than others?”, about 50 percent of the answer lies in genetics. About 10 percent lies in our life circumstances (some of us are married, some of us are not, some of us have kids, some of us have not, some of us are more or less attractive, more or less healthy etc.) which leaves us with 40 percent that we – according to happiness science – can influence by intentional activity.

Happiness scientists have been studying very happy people to reveal the secrets behind leading happy lives, and here is some of their findings: Happy people are really good at relationships. Happy people are more grateful, philanthropic and helpful, and they tend to savour pleasures in their lives. Happy people are committed to personal significant life goals, whether it’s raising moral children, or building a house, or advancing in their career.

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Many companies and people are struggling at the moment due to downsizing, not only in Abu Dhabi but in the whole UAE, but even though they face extreme difficulties, they seem to hold on to the old way of doing business: the Industrial business paradigm with a constant focus on economic growth. Sadly this paradigm often fails to incorporate real meaning and pleasure in work, and as a result leave people unengaged and stressed in their job.

THE LEVELS OF HAPPINESS

I’m delighted to share four happiness practices that will increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Three Good Things

Journal and write down things that went well for you during the day, and make a mental investigation as to why they went well. It can be small things or relatively more important things, everything counts. Refocusing your mind on life’s good events and the positive feelings that came with them can make a real difference in how you feel.

Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation practice is a way of developing and boosting compassion towards others and yourself. Search for “loving kindness meditation” guidance on the internet, get comfortable, relax and gently follow the instructions.

Gratitude letter

Feeling gratitude not only increases your level of positive emotions, it also strengthens your relationships.

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Think about someone who did something you are extremely grateful for, but who you never thanked. Now write the person a letter expressing your deep gratitude and telling how they affected your life and why you’re so grateful. Plan to visit the person to deliver the letter.

AWE walk

AWE is a positive feeling and can be defined as the feeling of being in presence of something vast and greater than the self. We all know this almost divine feeling of experiencing something so beautiful, great or dislike that the only thing we can say is “awe”. Deliberately trying to plan for AWE experiences can increase feelings of happiness. When you are doing your AWE walk, make sure your cell phone is switched off, or even better, leave it at home. Here are some ideas for your AWE experience:

1. Plan for a hike in the mountains
2. Go to see the never-ending sand dunes in the dessert
3. Walk outside in the night and look up at the stars.
4.Watch the sunset from a beach
5. Visit a historic monument

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