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.