Raven Steel’s interview with SayoNay Cosplay
Born out of love and out of destiny she’s one of a kind and a native of Maryland. Though she might be only five feet tall, she towers over beauty and style. Her cosplay wear of makeup and glitter outshines anyone in the darkest of day. Her name is SayoNay, a lovely island woman that instills Nigerian and Jamaican culture. She is with us today for a chance to know the woman behind the cosplayer. She’s funny, quirky, but above all offers beauty and grace-filled with a lifetime of knowledgeable experience to share unconditionally. So please give a warm American welcome to my guest, Ms. SayoNay cosplay!
Raven: Thank you so much SayoNay for allowing me into your happy realm.
SayoNay: Thank you for having me here today. I appreciate it and I can’t wait to answers these questions you have in store for me.
Raven: It is a tradition of mine to offer some words of advice, words of encouragement, or just words if you should ever be at your lowest. If these words can bring you out of your misery, then I’ve done my job. Here goes, “When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “Plot Twist”! And move on”.
Raven: I’ve delayed this interview long enough. Please, SayoNay, tell us about yourself.
SayoNay: Thank you so much. I was born and raised in Maryland and I’ve lived here my entire life. My birthday falls on April 20th which makes me an Aries/Taurus cusp. Though, I do find myself to be much more Taurean than Aries. I only speak English fluently but in the past, I took a year of Latin in High School and 3 years of French. I wanted to minor in French in college but noticed that the courses were more expensive than others. So, sadly, I held off on it.
Raven: What are your natural hair and eye color? How tall are you?
SayoNay: I naturally have black hair and dark brown eyes. I’ve stumped a lot of people with this question. With only 5 feet tall, from the floor to the top of my head, I am incredibly short. Some believe that I am 5’5 for some hilarious reason. This may be due to my having long limbs perhapses? Even wearing heels doesn’t help when I’m out.
Raven: What starts SayoNay in the morning hours of the day?
SayoNay: The moment I wake up, I always have to check my Facebook notifications. It’s become a habit now, especially if I have followers responding to content I’ve recently posted. I’m not as cool as everybody else who has mastered Tik Tok or Instagram for that matter. Facebook is easier to navigate for me.
Raven: Is there a childhood secret you are willing to confess right now?
SayoNay: I think only one person knows this but I used to have crushes on anime villains and from anime shows. It’s hilarious! For most of my life, When I was a kid, I was a huge stickler for following rules, a “Do-Gooder”. But many of the heroes I’ve found were boring and so typical. Villains always have such dynamic backstories. It made me attractive to them. I still feel the same way today. I know, I’m Twisted.
Raven: Back when you were little, what sort of child were you growing up?
SayoNay: Surprisingly, this was by far an incredibly difficult question to answer. It’s funny how we perceive ourselves as children do not necessarily equate to how people perceive you. I worked hard to be a good girl as a kid. I was a well-mannered child. But, I had a lot of issues with my self-confidence. I’ve always wanted to make people laugh and make them feel good even though I was battling my inner demons. All in all, people saw me as a very joyous child until I arrived in Middle School. My self-confidence and self-esteem turned on me and has carried over into my early adulthood.
Raven: Were you ever bullied at school?
SayoNay: I didn’t have any major issues in school for the exception of Middle School. I disliked it. The drastic change from elementary school to middle was a culture shock. I remembered back in school, I was picked on for “sounding like a “White-Girl” or sounding too proper to be black. All innocence was lost the moment I walked through those middle school doors.
Raven: Girl. Those kids are still recovering after I said, You’re so poor, a used cigarette was yo heater for your room and I stepped on it!
Raven: Sorry. Just a Flashback. Please, go on.
SayoNay: Also, I’ve always battled with eczema since I was a baby and made it my duty to hide it from my classmates from school. Kids can be so evil as hell! I hid it for years just to avoid ridicule.
Raven: Is there a personal name you go by like a nickname from friends or family?
SayoNay: Most of my family and friends call me by my first name. But on occasion, I’ve been called Nay, Naynay, Shanay-nay (ugh), Shay, SayoNay, and SayoNayfunmi (shortening of my Nigerian middle name).
SayoNay: Actually, “SayoNayNay” is a combination of both my American name, (Shanay) and my Nigerian name (OluwaSayoNayfunmi). I wanted to pay homage to my heritage when creating my cosplay name.
Raven: The name, OluwaSayoNayfunmi should be at a National Spelling Bee!
Raven: Are you an animal lover?
SayoNay: I love animals. Especially dogs and bunny rabbits. Not much of a cat lover. Cats are hilarious a-holes and remind me too much of myself. They don’t want to be bothered. They want to be fed. Love to be petted and scratched. And enjoying the occasional troll from time to time. Cats are humans.
SayoNay: Give me a pet that wags their tail and begs at my attention and loves me the moment I walk through the door. That’s why I love dogs so much. They just want to be loved and express it so well to me. The only cat that I would ever consider getting, is that naked cat. The Sphinx speaks to my soul because they all have the same look on their face like why am I here? I love it.
Raven: I could say there are some men out in Maryland that would fit that description.
Raven: What sort of child costume you were back in the day?
SayoNay: I remember being deathly terrified of spiders when I was a child. So one Halloween, I decided to overcome my fears by dressing up as Spiderella. That was probably one of my most iconic Halloween costumes that I can remember. That and as a pink ranger from Power Rangers.
Raven: Were you always the child who loved to dress up for fun/entertainment?
SayoNay: I always enjoy dressing up. I have my mom to blame for that wonderful cosplay fetish I have. She would always dress me in the cutest outfits when I was a child. Some of my favorite outfits were when she dressed me up in a sailor outfit with a matching hat.
SayoNay: Wearing costumes and dress-up was always a wonderful escape for me from how I usually dress. I was always a modest and fashionable girl, thanks to my mother.
Raven: Flashback now. How old were you when you started cosplaying. What made you do it?
SayoNay: I was 23 years old when I first started to cosplay. I was in downtown Baltimore in 2013 when I saw Otakon for the first time. Seeing everybody dressed in cosplay had me completely in awe. Since then, I’ve cosplayed almost every year.
Raven: What was your first cosplay?
SayoNay: My very first cosplay as Poison Ivy from Batman.
Raven: How did you feel as people started to notice as Poison Ivy?
SayoNay: As Poison Ivy, I was nervous and excited at the same time. Since I’m a plus-sized, figured gal, I didn’t know how people were going to receive me or how I was going to deal with negativity or even criticism.
SayoNay: But I knew that I wanted to create something of my own and to feel powerful and confident. So, I bought a catsuit off of eBay and I decorated it with leaves and Vines. To top it off, I bought an underbust corset to embellish my Daisies. It was such a euphoric experience.
Raven: Is there a Science Fiction character that best matches your personality?
SayoNay: I am Mako from Kill la Kill 100%. Just give me food, friendship, and a gentle giant, my Boo, to gas me up 24/7. That’s me.
Raven: What does SayoNay love to do when she is not cosplaying?
SayoNay: When I’m not cosplaying, I love to catch up on sci-fi tv shows/movies, anime, and “bakery runs”. I have an unhealthy obsession with baked goods. And if that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right!
Raven: Amen, Sister!
Raven: What sort of music, books, or shows that get your cosplay groove on?
SayoNay: I am a huge nerd when it comes to anything sci-fi, horror, action, and fantasy. That has been a constant since I was a child. I grew up watching Sailor Moon, Reboot, Yu Yu Hakusho, The Fifth Element, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Craft, and Halloweentown to name a few.
SayoNay: The webtoon, Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, has been a major inspiration on my bodypainting journey. I love how each character is diverse and has its style. Whether I’m in a cute mood or diabolical cosplay mood, there’s a character I can easily cosplay from that comic while putting my spin on it.
Raven: What are some things you love about your city?
SayoNay: I grew up and spent the majority of my life in Columbia, MD. I’ve always appreciated the diversity that I witnessed growing up. I was exposed to different cultures, food, and friends of various backgrounds. Anyone younger than 21, it’s an incredibly boring place to live since it’s pretty quiet compared to other cities nearby. But it has its suburban charm that I’ve grown accustomed to.
Raven: What was it like living in Columbia, MD.?
SayoNay: I can honestly say that my town is a great place to raise a child. Boring, but pretty safe. Crime is relatively low. People kept to themselves. You might have the occasional nosey neighbors here and there.
SayoNay: The town of Columbia is a mixture of middle and upper-middle-class residents so Starbucks, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Costco, before the pandemic, were annoyingly packed. The schools had a mixture of various cultures and diversities which played a part in a lot of Interracial dating. I saw more interracial dating in Columbia than anywhere else in Maryland back in the day and still is today.
Raven: I’ve always wanted to ask. For the record, can we dispel any myth or legendary “Things” about the black woman?
SayoNay: This is a great question. There is an ongoing myth that black women are unbreakable and unneeded of emotional support. The myths that we can handle everything and anything by ourselves without having our emotional glass to replenish.
SayoNay: We need support. We need love. We need encouragement. We need time. And we need that space to help express ourselves without ridicule or being ostracized. Be it society or even our community, Black women are graceful and ethereal beings. We need that energy as often as possible to remind ourselves how wonderful we are.
Raven: What is your favorite time of the year?
SayoNay: Most people I know look forward to Christmas, gifts, and Christmas carols. I, on the other hand, start my countdown to Halloween in August. There’s no stress in getting ready for Halloween. It’s a lovely time to see everyone’s creativity and their cosplay spin, no matter what the age. You get a chance to see the neighborhood children with their parents that you might not even see for months on your block. And witnessing the candy swapping and trading among children and even adults is hilarious. Everything is all in good fun with a creepy, cute, and macabre vibe. I live for it all.
Did you have a good sense of humor?
SayoNay: I feel like everybody believes that they have a good sense of humor in them. All I can say is that I do tend to make people laugh. Whether being silly, acting childish, or telling an occasional crude and inappropriate joke (sorry mom).
Raven: Tell me a joke, if you can?
SayoNay: My nieces and I were making up fish jokes the other day. Mine was pretty wack.
“What type of fish can you find on the ground?” – A Rockfish
SayoNay: *Elvis voice* Thank you. Thank you very much.
Raven: Nice one!
Raven: Do you feel you have lived a past life?
SayoNay: Absolutely. I can see myself as a suave gentleman wearing designer suits with 3 dogs.
SayoNay: I’m definitely a Velma. I love to wear fitted clothes but I generally cover up just out of habit. I try to analyze situations before jumping head first. Plus, my squint struggle is real when I have to read without my glasses.
Raven: Does SayoNay battle at the supermarket for toilet paper?
SayoNay: I’m not that petty when it comes to diving for the last roll of toilet paper on the supermarket shelf. There was one time that I did slyly finesse an employee to give me an entire case of toilet paper from the back that they had hidden from everyone else. I have no shame.
Raven: If I was being interviewed by SayoNay. What question would you ask Raven Steel?
SayoNay: Have you ever dated any of the cosplayers that you interviewed or ask them out on a date?
Raven: The answer is NO because I’m forever cursed to smell like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. It makes all the female cosplayers go insane!
Raven: That’s it, people. It’s in That Books! SayoNay, thank you so much for being a wonderful person both inside and out!
SayoNay: Thank you so much, Raven. I had a good time answering your questions and hope your readers will become fans of mine.
Raven: It’s my pleasure and duty to make you so loved. If I could ask about where can our readers find more information about SayoNay?
SayoNay: No worries, you can find more of me and my artwork on Facebook @ “SayoNay cosplay” and IG @sayonay_cosplay
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This has been a Raven Steel Exclusive!