We had the good fortune of connecting with Charlie Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charlie, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
As a group of activists, environmentalists, and humanitarians, Animaru’s goal is to share the message that even small changes towards helping the earth can make a big difference for future generations. By combining the theme of endangered animal awareness with the popular maid cafe troupe, we are able to spread this message across a wide audience, reaching many different people. We hope that our guests, fans, and friends can take something positive away from each of our events. Sustainability is a process, and just like Animaru continues to learn and grow, we hope that our actions and words of encouragement can gradually lead to a greener earth.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been a performing artist for as long as I can remember. As a child, I always loved dancing and making music, and that passion has only grown in my adulthood. I am very lucky to have a variety of outlets for my passions, such as my own personal idol career as “Charlie Marmalade”, my idol duo, Exploring the Cosmos, and, of course, Animaru Maid Café! In my journey towards becoming a vocalist, dancer, and musician, I have learned the value of having a solid support system and knowing that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. For a long time, I believed that asking for others to help me in the creative process would lessen the value of my art, both for myself and others. This is, of course, not the case. Having the input of friends, family, and other artists is an invaluable asset for any artist that wants to grow and truly hone their craft. This is reflected in Animaru through the consistent growth and success after I asked other team members to help me with behind-the-scenes work. Letting go of my control over Animaru, the group that I created from scratch, and love as if it were my own child, was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my performance career, but also one of the most rewarding. Today, almost 2 years since its creation in 2019, Animaru is a well-known maid café in the industry, with fans from all over the world! We have worked with a variety of charity organizations, as well as other maid café groups, who have graciously agreed to collaborate with us on projects big and small. We have a variety of ongoing projects, such as our Ethical Exchange video documentary series on YouTube, which aims to share the environmental impact products that we use every day and provide alternatives that will aid in the path towards sustainability.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite local coffee shop is Copper Star Coffee, located in downtown Phoenix. The building itself is an old gas station and vehicle repair shop that was converted into a quaint coffee shop! They even kept the garage door, which they open up when the weather is nice. On the weekends, they host live music, and their baked goods are handmade fresh daily! Another of my favorite shops is located in downtown Scottsdale. True to the name, Alien Donuts is an outer-space-themed donut shop, complete with a huge portrait of an alien abduction via UFO that you can pose under for an Instagram-worthy photo! Rumor has it they’re even opening a second location! The final place I would like to share is a collection of gorgeous murals that were painted by local artists in order to cover up messages of hate speech that had been graffitied on the walls. These 7 murals were made with love, promoting ideas of togetherness, freedom of expression, and the beauty of nature.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is absolutely no way I could run Animaru by myself, and I am so lucky to have an incredibly supportive staff behind me. In particular, I would be lost without my three group admins; Haley (“Maid Aqua”) and Yume (“Maid Uki”), who have been with me from the very beginning, and Brooke (“Maid Lottie”) who just recently joined us, but is already pulling more than her own weight in helping the café run smoothly. Without these three, Animaru wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are, and continue to be!
Animaru Maid Café Suarez Digital Alex Leiva