I first met Kudzumai Kinomis, a Second Life furry horse avatar who’s an estate manager and DJ for an underground furry club in SL, on Facebook of all places. There I knew her as a strikingly attractive brunette studying for a degree in new media at a European university. In SL, however, as I later discovered and as you can see below, she lets her furry flag fly:
“I haven't always been a furry or a horse in SL,” Kudzumai tells me. “I started out as a normal human, but after a while I came in touch with a couple of people from the furry community. The transfer was made quite gradually, first by adding a couple of ears and a tail, and eventually by buying my first furry avatar.” Before becoming a horse, she was at various times a cat, wolf, fox, even a dragon. But after finding some avatar enhancements that suited her, she embraced her horse persona:
“What you see on the picture is a mix between Uchi Desmoulin's ringtail and Aventity's equine... I really grew into this skin and the species. I think a horse simply suits my character best and when I think of it, as a little girl, I always loved horses too.” She smiles at that, and then tells me what she wants to express, as an anthromorphic horse:
“I don't really consider myself to be a horse,” she tells me.”I'm still me after all, and it might be a cliché but it is the inside that matters after all. The outside is merely a way of projecting certain characteristics of my self.
"For example, I consider myself a bit of a matriarchal person, I love being around my family and friends, taking care of them... I think that kind of behavior you can find in horses and their herds too. It's like... a romantic view of that animal and myself as a person.”
As you might have guessed, she first explored Second Life for her new media degree, and came to it with some skepticism:
“SL was often used as a virtual world case in my studies, but not with very good reviews. We heard about the sexual problems that arise, using fake identities, etc. That was the reason for me to give SL a shot and see what the fuss was all about for myself.”
She also conducted Resident interviews for her research, and gained a fuller picture of the culture:
“I think during all those years I've seen the good and the bad side of SL, but I stuck around after all. For the new experiences, all the people to meet and also still as an object of study.” And, of course, for spinning tracks as an anthropomorphic equine for a club full of rocking furries.Photos courtesy Ms. Kinomis
UPDATE, July 2015: RL photos removed by request.