Meet Britain's Full-Time Jedi Knight: 'I Refuse to Change Who I Am'
"I am 45 now and have accepted that I will probably remain single for the rest of my life," Kevin Cottam said
“Just because I live my life as a Jedi, it doesn’t mean I’m a massive Star Wars fan, it’s a way of life for me, it’s a belief,” Kevin Cottam says.
The 45-year-old from Rhyl, Wales, has been called Britain’s only full-time Jedi by The Daily Mirror. Cottam wears full-length robes and carries a lightsaber at all times – but it’s not because he’s a movie fanatic.
He said he found Jediism while researching religion online after becoming frustrated by the rules of Buddhism.
“Before becoming a Jedi, I was a Zen Buddhist, but I was frustrated with the different precepts and mandates that came with the religion,” he wrote in an essay for The Guardian. “I researched other religions online and came across the Djedi of ancient Egypt, which inspired the Jedi in Star Wars.”
Cottam explained that his dedication to Jediism began with his embracing its core principle: compassion. He said that his friends and family thought his new faith was “cool” – until he decided to forsake all other clothing in favor of the Jedi’s robe.
This sartorial change brought a significant turning point in the former chef’s life.
“My girlfriend of six years left me, as she did not want to be seen in public with someone dressed like me,” he recalled. “I had been happy with her, but I also had my faith to follow and if I lost that, I would no longer be who I am.”
In addition to its spiritual benefits, Cottam delights in the positive attention his Jediism brings.
“The reactions I get can be mixed, but children always ask if they can have their photo taken with me, and I m happy to oblige,” he wrote. “I find that the greatest reaction is from women over 50, who tell me they love the way I dress and the fact that I take great care with my appearance.”
However, he insists he does not wear the robe and carry the lightsaber for the attention. Rather, “it’s to keep me close to my faith,” he says.
While the robes are for religious purposes, he sees how they might keep potential girlfriends away.
“I am 45 now and have accepted that I will probably remain single for the rest of my life, but I refuse to change who I am,” he says.
He adds that if he were to find love again, he “would not try to convert them to Jediism.”
He adds, “That decision would have to come from them,” he says.