To finish off the SCK Awards, we have an interview with Kaila, who you voted as the second most Kawaii Person of 2015. With so many projects on the go and her own brand of kawaii positivity, she’s a real inspiration so I hope you take the time to read Kaila’s thoughtful answers and advice.
Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! I’m Kaila Ocampo (a.k.a. Rainbowholic), a kawaii lifestyle blogger based in Japan. I am also the team leader of Kawaii PH, a kawaii community in the Philippines that promotes cute culture as an empowering movement. I’m also the founder of JapanLover.me, a website that is all about sharing the worldwide JapanLove. My current work as a Creative Director in Japonisme International mainly revolves around Japan Lover Me Store & Kawaii PH Store and I manage a lot of passion-fueled blogs / websites with friends. As you can tell, I really like keeping myself busy and productive, hehe!
Where do you live and what’s it’s like there?
I live in Saitama, Japan. It’s an hour away from Tokyo by train. Life here is pretty quiet & simple. I really like living here!
What was your first experience with kawaii culture and why does kawaii inspire your work?
I cannot exactly pinpoint when it was but I think we can blame the anime Cardcaptor Sakura for making me love kawaii. At that time (when I was around 11-13, couldn’t remember haha), my fascination over cute culture really inspired me to do a lot of things out of love and to start dreaming about living my Cherry Blossom dreams in Japan. At around that age, I began experimenting with HTML codes, Microsoft Paint, and Notepad so I could make a “shrine” website for Cardcaptor Sakura. I’ve made a couple of blogs / websites after because I’ve always loved fiddling with codes. Years later, here I am, still creating and jumpstarting web-related projects.
Kawaii changed my life in the most positive way. I had low self-esteem and a mountain of self-doubts. I never thought that I could build my name from scratch even if my circumstances that time were really unfavorable. My childhood dream (living in Japan) felt so far-fetched during my younger years. Honestly, everything still feels a bit surreal right now.
But through kawaii and combining it with my love of sharing my work online, people started to get to know more about my passion and lifework. I never imagined that I would have the enough confidence to start “Kawaii PH” with my friends (we were only 5 in the group years ago, but now we’re over a united thousand). I never expected that people would actually appreciate my posts about my daily Japan life when I restarted my blogging hobby here. I used to be that girl who would rather prepare the slides for a powerpoint presentation during a group work and just stay at the back and let others present and talk. I had little faith in me and it was hard for me to put myself out there (100%). After embracing the non-superficial kind of kawaii and embedding it to my lifestyle and mindset, I became that woman who would initiate and collaborate with fellow like-minded people on projects that can inspire and somehow, create a difference in this world.
Based on my experience, I learned that it’s easier to look kawaii by putting on dolly-inspired make-up and wearing frilly pastel clothes than .. to actually feel kawaii internally. I’ve been there before, and I really struggled in that phase. I realized that indeed.. “kawaii is a state of mind” (quoting Kyary Pamyu Pamyu). It’s not only about the external additions or fashion. It’s about the quirky, unique, positive, and happy child-like dreamer you inside. And this is the message that I want to share through my blog entries, creative projects, and the like. That even if you love Rilakkuma and you’re already beyond 30/40/50, that fact does not make you childish and immature. That even if you are wearing a red big bow on your head (channeling Kiki from Studio Ghibli, haha), you can be a game-changer CEO and be featured in Forbes. :)
What cute products or characters can you never resist buying for yourself?
Rilakkuma used to hold the #1 spot in my heart (I even used the #Rilakkaila hashtag whenever I’d post about Rilakkuma lolol) but now.. I’m a total Gudetama convert.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a super fun book project with my friends Ashley & Allie for Our Kawaii Tokyo (A Kawaii Tokyo Travel Guide). We’re targeting to release it just in time for spring / sakura season. I’m also in the middle of organizing Kawaii Market 2016 to be held in Manila this coming summer with Kawaii PH team. During my spare time, I teach blogging / basic photoshop / life hacks / etc.
But my actual day job / work is all about Japan Lover Me Store wherein I handle orders / come up with creative campaigns and promotions (for Sukajan / Souvenir Jackets) with my efficient teammates both based in Saitama and in the Philippines.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened since you started your blog, shop etc.?
The most exciting that’s happened since I started my blog (Rainbowholic) is when people started to go and read my blog for motivation and morale boost. For others, it may be shallow and not really that exciting (as compared to having notable features, blog opportunities, etc.) but for me, it is. The best feeling ever was when somebody told me “Thank you for being YOU” (made me teary-eyed) and when they shared with me their past struggles turned into #AchievementUnlocked dreams. My blog is my ongoing legacy and I will continue to use it as my platform to share my love for the redefined meaning of kawaii.
What’s your dream ambition?
I have a lot of entrepreneurial dreams (such as physical store for Kawaii PH Store in our Kawaii PH Building / Rainbowholic Cafe) but my ultimate goal in life is to build a preschool for the less privileged in Manila / in the Philippines (Kawaii Academy? Haha) with Kawaii PH. Still a long way to go because I’m still slowly building myself and my career. Many people have helped and believed in me to get where I am today and it is just right to multiply my blessings by sharing these with others. My dream is to be able to reach the point where I can invest in others’ dreams too.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to create their own kawaii blog?
To those who want to create or start your own blog, my advice would be.. Blog your dreams. And surprise yourself later. I blogged my Japan dreams before and have been surprising myself since then. If you want to start your own self-hosted kawaii lifestyle blog, you may refer to this tutorial. I’ve also uploaded some blogging tutorials at Kaila Sensei and you can read those here. Want to become a better blogger? Here are some of my tips! Hopefully, you would find these links convincing enough for you to start your dream blog! ^^
Where can we find you on the internet?
- blog: www.the.rainbowholic.me
- instagram: @rainbowholic
- twitter: @kailaroo
- shop: www.rainbowholicshop.com
And finally, our readers picked you as the second most kawaii person of 2015, just 0.1% behind Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Here’s a few of the reasons they thought you should win:
Kaila has an inspiring, positive attitude and I love reading her blog about cute and fun things in Tokyo. She’s achieved a lot.
Kaila’s story is inspiring to all who read it, and she deserves recognition for her incredible efforts in promoting Kawaii to the rest of the world!
Kaila has done a great job in creating a blog/website/and community based around the idea of Kawaii. Her blogs are always so fun to read, and are really inspirational, both in the way of starting your own business and going after your dreams, as well as incorporating cute things into your everyday life.
I think Kaila of Rainbowholic should win because she is not only kawaii on the outside. She promotes the idea of kawaii being more than just a cute culture, it’s a happy culture where you can be you and be kawaii at the same time, and I think that is the real essence of being a kawaii person!
Kaila has greatly inspired many people to live their life in a cute and positive way. She believes in kawaii being more than just a pretty face.
How do you feel about placing so high and the comments everyone left?
Wow, thank you so much for sharing these answers with me, SCK! I feel very overwhelmed and my heart is overflowing with gratitude. Thank you to everyone who nominated / voted for me! I feel more inspired and motivated to blog after reading these. :”) Maraming Salamat! どうもありがとうございます！
Thank you Kaila! If you enjoyed this interview, check out the rest of our Super Cute Creators series to read about more inspiring kawaii creatives.
(all photos by Kaila Ocampo)
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.