GCCW Super Fan Kat Caraway’s Farewell

Gulf Coast CW Super Fan

All good things must come to an end, and today is the last day in my Gulf Coast Super Fan feature month. As a farewell I wanted to tell you all a little bit of my experience as a Super Fan and with the Gulf Coast CW as a whole. As an added bonus, I put together a special cosplay based on the illustration created for me by Steven Moore, GCCW July Super Fan. Check that out at the end of this blog!

The GCCW “Star”:

My journey with the GCCW started a few years ago when they were doing a search for the network’s star (basically a featured personality, i.e. the “face”). I saw some posts about it on Facebook but to be honest, I didn’t think much of it besides that it sounded like fun. I had no intentions of auditioning for the star until one of the final round of auditions. While I was laying in bed, I saw a friend of mine and local radio personality, Matt McCoy, post about it on his personal Faceebook page. There was about an hour left for auditions and I thought, what the heck why not, and headed to the station. During my audition, three judges asked me questions that I’m sure was a way for them to inspect my personality to see if I was fit to be what they called the “star” of the network. Pretty much the only part I remember was when they asked if I had any special talents. I told them that I was a performer so I could sing for them or that I used to be a former collegiate and competitive cheerleader so I could tumble for them. By request, I took off my mic, tucked in the flannel shirt I was wearing (which complimented my ripped up black jeans and combat boots) and threw a back tuck. They seemed enthused so I’m sure they hadn’t seen anyone else do that during their audition. Later on I found out that I was selected to be in the top 15 and this next round of voting was up to the community. We were asked to create a video of why we should be the GCCW star to be posted for a final round of community voting should we be chosen to be in the final top three. I was so proud of my video. I spent days travelling to different locations in the area that I felt really showed my personality and love for my community. I filled the video with a voiceover of me sharing the qualities and traits I believed I had to be a great representative of the station. When voting came to a close I discovered I was not chosen to be in the top three, and while I’d like to say I was heartbroken, I actually wasn’t. Sure I was bummed because I worked hard on my video and the idea of being a representative for a tv show network sounded like a lot of fun, but truthfully, I didn’t even plan on going to that audition in the beginning and I really didn’t expect to make it in to the top anything much less the top 15 so I was just grateful for how far I’d gotten and the experiences I had through it all.

When the top three finalist came out the only one that stood out to me was this super bubbly blonde girl that I had heard of before the star search so since I wasn’t in the running anymore I couldn’t let my voting go to waste and I voted for her. I thought that if I wasn’t still in the running for this position and couldn’t vote for myself I wanted to vote for someone who was deserving of it. In the end, that blonde girl was voted to be the network’s star! Tori B. is a fantastic representation for the network as well as our community because no matter the topic, her enthusiasm is contagious and radiates through the screen when she makes an appearance. As I mentioned before, I knew of Tori B. before all of this but we had never actually met in person. It seemed like we were always attending or working the same events and just never crossed paths. I plan to write a separate blog one day featuring Tori B. and our experience meeting as well as some interview questions I want to ask her, but we did end up grabbing coffee together so we could formally meet and I’m glad we did that because we are so much alike! I’m a firm believer on the view point that whatever happened in our past plays a big part in where we are at now in the present and where we will be in the future, so even though I wasn’t chosen to be the GCCW Star, I’ve had some amazing opportunities that I’ve been able to experience since then that I wouldn’t trade for anything- being a featured Super Fan for the GCCW included!

GCCW Super Fan Experience

I honestly don’t remember if it was an email or a text message but by some form of written communication Tori B. reached out to me about a fun project she was putting together for the Gulf Coast CW network. Soon after I had a phone conference with her and one other rep from the network with more information on the project as well as expectations of us as creative partners. Basically, the network would feature one creative a month that they dubbed a “Super Fan” where they would share any content created by this creative. These individuals ranged from illustrators and gamers to cosplayers like me! I was scheduled to be the featured creator for the month of September. Leading up to my feature I came up with content ideas for my different platforms and I got a fun backstage tour of the CW network facility- they also gave me a super cool CWag bag filled with goodies. I will not lie, this month has been a little challenging for me. I did have a previously planned trip at the beginning of the month so I was unable to focus on producing content, however that was only short term, once I was home I was back on track working on my content. A few weeks later, my future sister-in-law was faced with a sudden loss of a close family member and while I didn’t know this person very long, I was excited to basically have them as part of my family and the effects of her loss were felt within our entire family. Following that tragedy, our area was hit by Hurricane Sally which resulted in a tree landing on my house completely crushing my porch and damaging my roof. We were also without power and running water so I was displaced from my home for days. Thankfully my brother-in-law lives a few minutes away and was fortunate to still have both power and water. During this time I found it difficult to focus and find inspiration to do anything creative. I fortunately have not struggled too terribly much as so many others have this year but needless to say, with the way 2020 has been going it did seem to hit close to home (literally) all at once. Something I try to remind myself, it’s not what we’re given, it’s what we do with what we’re given. That can be interpreted in many different ways, but in my particular situation I take this as- Sometimes we, ourselves, have no control over what has or will happen but we do have control over how we handle the things life throws at us. There was nothing I could do when I heard a crackling sound in the middle of the night and less than an instant later an entire tree was on my house like three feet away from where I was sleeping, I can only pick up the pieces and rebuild. We have to decide how to deal with the hand we are deal. In trying times it’s tough to remain optimistic, but we owe it to ourselves to push forward.

As my Super Fan month comes to an end, I’m thankful for the experiences it has given me, like being introduced to some other amazing local creatives and having another platform to share the stuff that makes me happy! This month was nothing short of challenging, and coming up with specialized content for my spotlight month was also, in it’s own way, [creatively] challenging, but I am elated to have had this opportunity and I know this experience will remind me to continue pushing my own personal boundaries when it comes to the content I create.

GCCW Logo Cosplay

As I mentioned above, the GCCW Super Fan for the month of July, Steven Moore, came up with some amazing illustrations for each featured creator. As a cosplayer, I immediately knew that I could use this as part of my featured content by creating the costume throughout the month and debuting it with my final farewell. My favorite thing about the illustration is that it’s based on me! For other cosplays I’m wearing wigs and doing my makeup as that particular character does but since this was me I could just, well, be me! I sourced the main costume pieces like the body suit, boots and gloves from Amazon but the cape was a little tricky. I couldn’t find something already made that looked even remotely similar to the illustration so I decided to attempt to make it on my own. I remembered that I had some scrap fabric similar to the color of the illustration from a previous project that might be enough to make the entire cape- and it was! It was just enough. I took some measurements of my neck for the collar, draped the material over my mannequin and began cutting the shape of the cape. I’m glad my mom put me through sewing classes when I was younger so the easiest part of this process was just hemming up the ends and attaching the collar to the rest of the cape. The look was finally complete! Since the illustration is heavily super hero influenced I thought the perfect location to do this special cosplay shoot would be in the Downtown area, somewhere that you can see the main buildings that make up our unique skyline. As the month was drawing closer to an end I didn’t have a lot of time to execute this shoot. A friend and I planned to take photos of each other but on the day of our planned shoot it was raining a lot. Since we were both pretty much ready we decided to head to the spot and wait out the rain in my car. As the rain quickly passed a rainbow was clearly visible right over the city and we took that as a sign to go for it and take our photos. I honestly think if it didn’t rain my photos wouldn’t have been as unique because the puddles offered some great opportunities for reflection shots and we were able to use the rainbow for my friend’s photos (she was Marilyn Monroe, check out one of her shots below too!). I don’t think I’ve ever felt more confident in a cosplay and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that it was based on myself!

All this being said, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a featured creator for this special project and hope I get to work with the Gulf Coast CW again in the future!

Bonus Image: @shortprincessprobs as Marilyn Monroe

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE OF KAT’S COSPLAY BLOG!

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