Interview with Steampunk’d Judge, Kato, Part 2

Welcome back for the conclusion of our chat with model and entrepreneur Kato, one of three judges on Steampunk’d, the new steampunk reality game show from GSN.

Read part one here.


Airship Ambassador: As a judge on the show, what were the factors you used in assessing each contestant’s work?

KATO: Their understanding of the steampunk aesthetic, their ability to apply their own take on it and their craftsmanship with creating something of quality with limited tools and materials.


AA: How often was there some involved discussions amongst the judges in choosing a winning, or losing, design?

KATO: Every bloody episode! The amount of back and forth between Matt, Thomas and I was insane. We were allocated on-camera time to deliberate but the behind-the-scenes discussions continued and often ended in yelling at each other.


AA: Now THAT would be entertaining to watch! Of course, all the viewers would be yelling back from their couches and chairs, too. What are some memorable moments you had during filming?

KATO: The energy became more and more intense each episode as the contestants were put under greater pressure, so in attempt to counteract that, there was often a lot of banter and humour between the other judges and I and sneaky jokes with the contestants. By the end of filming, we had several inside jokes and quotes and the audio tech people had to put up with all of it as we were miccd the entire time.


AA: Fellow judge, Matt King, mentioned that you and he would do Alan Rickman impressions of feedback to the contestants. We really need to get a recording of that! Were there any items that you just craved to take home with you?

KATO: Yes! I can’t spoil the show and tell you which items, but if you watch each episode, you’ll know for sure!


AA: How much did you get to interact with the contestants, other judges, and the production crew?

KATO: I could only interact with the contestants during work assessment, presentation and elimination. That was kind of brutal because I loved (almost) all of them and just wanted to hang out or assist them in their creative process. I spent A LOT of time with my fellow judges because our dressing rooms were all next to each other and a fair amount of time with the production crew, who were just fantastic.


AA: What were some challenges for you personally during the filming?

KATO: The most challenging factor was trying to make the most educated decision I could on which contestant would be the next to be eliminated based on what little time I was able to spend on set with them. I wasn’t able to witness everything that went on during each challenge, so it was painstakingly difficult at times.


AA: When people watch Steampunk’d, what would you like for them to take away from the show and what was created that they could apply to their own work?

KATO: I would hope that this show will introduce mainstream America to the genre of Steampunk and inspire people to create their own pieces and apply it to their own homes and lives.


AA: How was it coming home and getting back to your regular schedule and life?

KATO: I was happy to return home. I actually took a 5-day trip up the California coast, calling in on friends along the way and stopping at a few beaches to swim in the ocean. As soon as I arrived back in Olympia, I was packing and prepping for the next appearance at a Steampunk event in Utah.


AA: Life can be rough like that J What suggestions do you have for people who are thinking of applying for a possible season 2?

KATO: Be confident in your talent and ready to learn. Be prepared to adapt and pick up new skills as fast as possible and be ready to work under incredible pressure.


AA: Now that the show has wrapped, what comes next for you?

KATO: I’m wrapping up convention season at the end of September and then I’ll hopefully have finalized a massive new licensing deal for Steampunk Couture that’s currently in its first phases. If that goes through to completion, it’ll mean a complete business change for me. That’s all I can say at this point without jinxing myself.


Best of luck with the new venture, Kato! Thanks for joining us in this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!

Keep up to date with Kato’s latest news on her website.

Also, check out her exhibit pages at The Steampunk Museum.

Follow the latest news about the show on the Steampunk’d website.



Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Interview with Steampunk’d Judge, Kato

This week we are talking with model and entrepreneur Kato, one of three judges on Steampunk’d, the new steampunk reality game show from GSN.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Kato! I’m so glad you could join us, it’s great to catch up with you again!

Kato: Hi Kevin! It’s my pleasure.


AA: What an amazing experience to be on the first steampunk reality show on TV. As a brief summary, how was it for you?

KATO: Oh my goodness, where do I start? It was an honour to be chosen as a judge on the show and although I’ve been involved in the film and television industry before, I’ve never been in front of the cameras, so this was new territory for me.


AA: We’ll talk more about the show in a bit but first, how long have you been involved in the steampunk community and what brought you into it?

KATO: I’ve been a part of this wonderful scene for exactly ten years after I created the very first steampunk clothing company.


AA: And that would be Steampunk Couture. What is your background and experience in designing and creating things, and how did that lead you get to create your own company?

KATO: I studied fashion and textiles at art school in the UK and was hell bent on becoming a fashion illustrator, but found myself leaning toward the role of designer after teaching myself to sew and eventually discovering that my passion is for business investing and start ups. I eventually created an S Corp to house all the brands I now own and the majority are Steampunk-themed.


AA: That’s a nice transition from finding and pursuing your passion to making it all happen for yourself and having control. What is it about steampunk as an aesthetic that appeals to you?

KATO: It’s a beautiful and unique style that stands out from the crowd yet is timeless and respectful. It’s one of those aesthetics that has something about it that appeals to almost everyone who beholds it.


AA: What are some designs or materials that tend to really capture your interest?

KATO: I’m currently obsessed with the more post apocalyptic lean that current steampunk fashion trends are taking and excited about pushing those boundaries in my work and expanding people’s view of what Steampunk styles will look like tomorrow, so in terms of materials I drool over distressed leathers and patina’d hardware


AA: The post apocalyptic 1800s look isn’t seen much at conventions. It will be intriguing to see your new pictures. What is something that you’d like to create but haven’t done so yet?

KATO: I can’t tell you that or I risk some talented maker stealing the idea when they read this interview. 😉 But the in-the-works items are playing cards and collectable figures as well as two new brands.


AA: It’s always important, and fun, to create new products. How has your work changed over time? What are some key lessons you’ve learned along the way?

KATO: I’ve just continued to push and expand my own understanding of what I deem to be Steampunk in style. It’s no good re-creating the same thing we’ve seen other artists create. Key lessons I’ve learned along the way are business streamlining. There’s no joy or benefit to reap in being successful if you don’t know how to play the IRS game.


AA: How did you first hear about the show and the opportunity to actually be on it?

KATO: The network kept pestering me! Actually, Pink Sneakers approached me a year prior in regards to wanting to create a docu-follow show around my photography company. They were looking to house me and several of my models in one abode and film us “getting along” with each other. It was to be called “The Steampunk House”. The outline and character bios were established for the show but then it inspired something even bigger and they asked me if I’d like to be a contestant on this new show. I said, “no, but if you need a judge let me know” and I got the part.


AA: What was your interest or motivation to be on the show?

KATO: My erotica work utterly dominates everything else I do as a professional business person, so my personal motivation to be on this show was to let the Steampunk community know that I do a lot of other things than just get my huge knockers out sometimes and that I actually know what I’m talking about when it comes to the steampunk work and creative, multi-media practices.


AA: Haha, it’s certainly reassuring to most, and probably confusing to some, that lurking behind the supermodel looks is a savvy and creative entrepreneur. All steampunks can take inspiration and motivation from what you’ve accomplished. Once you were selected to appear on the show as a judge, what preparations did you have to make before you left for Los Angeles? What were you leaving behind or had to put on hold while you were away for filming?

KATO: I take pride in being a little savvy when it comes to my business running itself in my absence, so I just had to debrief my awesome staff a couple of times before I abandoned them for a whole month. I had, however, just bought my first house so it pained me to leave that behind when I’d only just moved in days prior to leaving.


AA: Can’t wait for the housewarming invitation! Without giving spoilers, what interesting things might viewers see in each episode?

KATO: They’ll see amazing use of innovation, improv and skill development. Some makers arrive with one specialized talent and leave as freakin’ experts.


Time for a quick break in chatting with Kato.

Join us for the conclusion where she talks more about being involved with the show.


Keep up to date with Kato’s latest news on her website.

Also, check out her exhibit pages at The Steampunk Museum.

Follow the latest news about the show on the Steampunk’d website.


Published in: on August 26, 2015 at 5:27 pm  Comments (4)  
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Steampunk’d Episode 1 review by J.W. Kinsey

Reposted with permission from Facebook

By Josh Kinsey

My potentially weekly review of the Steampunk’d TV show that premiered a few nights ago, addressing the hows and whys of a bit of what “transpired”:


In the first hour of the competition, introductions were made amongst our new team: I had never met nor was I familiar with the abilities of my new teammates. I quizzed the group to ascertain abilities and interests, and the general consensus was because of my design and fabrication background that I be Captain. The only thing the show then revealed was the final sentence of that long conversation: which intentionally made me look domineering and wanting control, which was not the case. I only wanted to succeed as a team.

Next to address is Morgan declaring we “should make a plan”. I reply “No, not yet”: edited in such a way as to present me as arrogant and domineering. There was a significant reason I said No: how can anyone formulate a plan when we had no idea of what tools and construction materials we had available! We hadn’t even been out to the Punkyard yet! (Which is the very next thing I had the team go out and walk through.) As any Maker with a modicum of abilities knows: one first needs to know what materials, tooling, and part supplies are at your disposal before you can begin any planning and design work!


During the process of delegation and assigning tasks, I spoke at length with Tobias to see if he could handle designing and building the Rube Goldberg device, as he was also in charge of the story, at his behest. He assured me adamantly that he could build it himself and needed no assistance. Apparently he could not…. but I am the arrogant ogre that ‘threw Tobias under the bus”!

My disregarding of the RB device with Willeford: this was a joke taken massively out of context. It was also a bit strategic: I wanted to know how the judging would transpire. Two out of three, or all or nothing? Kind of important information to have in the scheme of things! Again, the producers played it out as though I was being arrogantly disrespectful: perhaps I was. But the RB device was conceptualized with parts ready to go within the first beginning hours of the build. It was not “flippantly disregarded as unimportant” in the least.

And finally, I was the first one of the group asked who should be sent home during the Elimination. I stated to the judges that as Captain of the losing team, that I was ultimately responsible, and therefore that I should be sent home. Next to be questioned, Tobais was extremely noble and assumed responsibility for his actions and told the rest of the team to declare him the “weakest” member and send him home: again courteously noble and admirably brave. He volunteered, as did I. Again, none of that was shown.

josh-living-room-2J.W.’s Living Room

As to my design being “country” and with a weird color palette: the walls incorporated a complex wainscot design, with a custom made cornice (I had to fabricate my own crown molding with a table saw and router, as none was available). The window also included a custom made fretwork assembly that included many upcycled turned components and corbel brackets. All extremely Victorian elements if you know your architectural history. The wainscot fabric panels were also typical of Victorian interior design. The colors were intentionally bold, as the theme was Retro-Futurism: I projected a concept with solid design roots in Victorian interior design forward into Art Deco, essentially skipping the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements: approximately 40 years into the “future”. Thus the bold stripes and bold color palette. There was a logical plan to my madness, and it was absolutely not “country”….

Overall, my team performed admirably considering we had very little time, very limited materials, and the complete lack of knowledge of who each other was and their associated abilities.

Tune in next week for some more “reality TV”!


Follow J.W. on Facebook

and his website

and read his page in The Steampunk Museum


Published in: on August 21, 2015 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment