*Requested by Cherri (I probably wouldn’t have written this otherwise)
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Dakota Rose Ostrenga/Kotakoti, KiKi Kannibal Corporations, or Bravo Models (ha I wish). I do not own any of the photographs of persons listed. Also: Please note that I do not hate Dakota, or harbor any ill feelings towards her. Thank you.
Being the person I am, it would be hard to not know about Dakota (Kotakoti). She’s everywhere- YouTube, Twitter, Nico Douga, even spamming the front of my Tumblr. She’s known for being cute, doll-like, and impossibly unrealistic.
I followed Dakota and her sister during their scene days, back when I used to think Blood on the Dance Floor was the shit, and MySpace was the biggest social media website around. (What, like four years ago?) Back then, Dakota had frizzy, damaged hair, multiple piercings, and a penchant for raccoon eyes.
Dakota was, and still is, an avid photoshopper. This picture here is heavily Photoshopped, but all of her scene-phase shots are. How do I know? I used to watch Dakota and Kiki’s Stickam streams (back when that was still a website), and I know for a fact that she was a little heavier then than she appears in this photo.
I used to sit in front of my computer watching their streams and thinking “Wow. They’re so cool.” That’s before Dakota and her sister started using homophobic and racial slurs openly during their Stickam streams. I have always been (and always will be) a heavy believer in equal rights, and suddenly, Dakota and Kiki weren’t so cool anymore. When they started mocking Asians, I drew the line. I couldn’t sit there and be a fan of someone who would openly say such hateful things, so I deleted her from my connections on MySpace and decided to pretend she didn’t exist.
As you can see from this shot, Dakota was very much the scene queen back then. I remember how she used to claim to have invented/brought back the “leopard-print hair”, in the same way that Kiki is credited with bringing back “the stripes”. As far as I know, neither of them can be credited with that, but it is just a hairstyle, and not something to throw a fit over.
Dakota Rose has never been ugly, in my opinion. But she has said many ugly things, and that makes her ugly in my eyes, no matter how beautiful she looks. I am aware that she has come back and apologized, but as someone who watched this first hand, it can be hard to forget. I am willing to give her a second chance, but I haven’t seen anything redeeming from her yet.
When I chose to ignore Dakota and Kiki was around the time that there was the whole scandal with Kiki’s way-too-old-for-her rapist boyfriend (now deceased). Shortly after that Kiki and Dakota seemed to fall off the face of the Earth, and I outgrew my “scene” phase. I still appreciate both the music and clothing style (yes, the music is death metal/Skrillex/Emotional, not just scene), but I no longer own nine pairs of “artfully” ripped jeans or apply my eye makeup with such a heavy hand. When I outgrew this phase, I assumed that Kiki and Dakota would continue to insult and degrade people through the Internet, and paid them no mind. I gradually began watching anime and reading manga. I then began listening to Morning Musume and AKB48. The rest followed.
Dakota must have been going through her own metamorphosis a bit after I was, because I never saw hide-nor-tail of her when I took to the J Culture scene as strong Gorilla Glue sticks to your fingers. She was probably practicing her Photoshop skills at an undisclosed location, contemplating how to make her comeback- this time without her sister there to overshadow her.
As to be expected, she exploded in Japan like a firecracker.
She had the look- big eyes, a small nose, and doll-like lips. When I first stumbled upon her via Nico Douga, I did not see Dakota Rose Ostrenga, the “scene” chick from MySpace that I had stopped following because of her horrible attitude. I saw a pretty, too-good-to-be-true doll. Right away, I knew something was up. I have seen “living dolls” like Venus Angelic is person before, and none of them looked this… Barbie.
Here’s a few snaps of some of Dakota’s Photoshop mishaps (happens to the best of us, I will say). She obviously liquified her… everything… and wound up leaving those lovely whirlpools behind.
I have a hawk-eye when it comes to Photoshop, despite knowing almost nothing about retouching itself. I could see that Dakota (or Kotakoti, as I knew her at the time) had edited herself thinner, and done quite a number of things to her eyes (digital false eyelashes, brightening, adding shine, and enlarging). When I checked out some of her social media, I was a little less than amused when I realized she was lying about Photoshopping. To be clear, I DO NOT have a problem with Photoshopping- if you can do it well, why not?? It just perturbs me to see someone who obviously Photoshops deny it so heavily. Plus, she had hundreds of unassuming fans praising her for her natural beauty, and begging for makeup/skin care advice. I draw the line there, giving a bunch of twelve year old who don’t know any better false information. (But I don’t hate Dakota, I swear) If someone asks me what I do to keep my skin clear, I won’t say “oh, just soap and water“. I’d give any honest answer, because your fans deserve it. Face it, Koti, you’d be just another high school girl without them.
Even though I want to be nice and chalk this up as teenage foolishness, I can’t really do that. “Oh, I was just a kid,” does not justify using homophobic and racial slurs. I am a good bit younger than Dakota, and I know not to use those words/phrases because it hurts people. Anyone would know that- my four year old sister knows that!
Dakota, doing that is not okay. Did you ever once think there might be Asians watching your stream? Did you ever think that you might actually hurt one of them?
Dakota has also stated that she makes her own clothes in the comments of some of her videos, even though I know that you can find those shorts and that shirt on TaoBao for 3USD. I think this is just… wrong.
This image via ExposeBarbie shows just that.
When I look at Dakota standing up in photos, you can tell that she has tried to make herself look taller by stretching out her small frame. I am 5’10” and around her “weight”, and my proportions are nothing like her’s. Dakota and I have very different body types, but you can get the gist of it from comparing the two of us. Dakota pushed her crotchline upwards to create something similar to the manolo tip look (when a model stands on her tiptoes in water/when her feet are out of the shot to create the effect of longer legs), but ended up looking awkward and forced.
I don’t understand why she’d try to fake being supermodel height… In Japan, the ultimate standard for attractive is “cute”. Most guys probably wouldn’t think “Oh, she’s cute!” when you’re as tall as they are. That doesn’t mean tall girls are any less beautiful, but when I think of cute, I think of small, sparkly things that I can fit in my pocket… Plus, as soon as she walks out of the house, everyone will know she is not 5’8”.
Dakota, you’re beautiful the way you are. Would it kill you to be a little more honest? You have a very lovely non-Photoshopped face, as you can see here, on this image via Tumblr:
In my opinion, Dakota is extremely attractive without the Photoshop. If she admitted to Photoshopping, I’ll bet a lot more Westerners would like her, as well as Japanese (because they appear to be getting wise to her tricks). Dakota, please, just be honest. It will make you a better person, and in turn, more people will like you.
I hope I didn’t upset anyone with this article. I really don’t hate Dakota… –Pei