What’s going on heroes? Cosplay Cafe is back in action folks! Today we have Jazmine Cosplay coming into the cafe. It was an honor to sit down and chat with her. Be sure to click the social media links down below to keep up with Jazmine.
1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager?
I grew up in Central Alaska, so my free time was very clearly separated between summer and winter. In summer months, I was out riding my bike, imagining zombie battles with friends, playing video games at the store, and building model rockets and RC cars. In the winter, I played computer and console games, read sci-fi books, watched and recorded movies, and wrote my own stories about superheroes and magical transformations. I was pretty hyperactive, but also outgoing and friendly. I would talk with anyone, but not everyone wanted to talk to me. I’ve realized in retrospect that I was probably a bit annoying, even to my friends, and maybe that’s why they would forget about weekend meet-ups or suddenly have other things to do after school.
2. Did those things influence who you are today?
My childhood had a major influence on who I am these days. I learned to work with people but also to entertain myself when I was alone. I learned the basics of storytelling, which helps with my writing and role-playing. I love the outdoors but also don’t mind sitting at home all day. I appreciate all kinds of movies and video games are still one of my go-to stress relievers.
3. How was BlerDCon for you this year? For it being its first year, I had a great time.
I think BlerDCon did wonderfully for its first year! The venue was great and for a first-time convention, it had a great selection of panels, artists and creatives. Hilton was so gracious to give me my very first personal panel, and I was honored to help out LGBT HQ with one of their panels. I can see BlerDCon getting at least twice as big next year.
4. Continuing with BlerDCon, how did your panel go this year?
I wish I’d practiced my speech! I had a vague idea of what I would say for weeks leading up to the convention, and I finally laid out a 10 slide rough draft only two days before. Then, at the convention, I put together the slide and cards, still not sure what kind of display screen I’d be working with. I was dressed in my gray Catwoman costume with my hair down, so I looked a bit like Anne Hathaway. I was so thrilled at the turnout! I had at least 15-20 people in attendance, most of them in cosplay. The video projector wasn’t as visible as I would like, and there was no sound system so I couldn’t play a video I wanted to play, but that was okay. Just going through my cards and the slides, I kinda got ahead of myself and it felt a little muddled. When my intro was done, I asked for any questions, and there were none! So I just kept rambling about my love of cosplay and how supportive the community had been off my transgender journey.
Once the questions did come, they were a little surprising. One person asked who I idolized in the LGBT community, and I said RuPaul, because he has been able to succeed as a drag queen and gender fluid individual. At one point I mentioned that my feminine aesthetic was ‘Sexy Teacher’ or ‘Hipster Librarian.’ Someone followed up on that by asking what my masculine aesthetic was. I had never thought of that because my male appearance was just a default ‘me.’ I said I probably identified as 90’s grunge, with jeans, t-shirt, sneakers and a flannel shirt. The only downside was my breast pads! I had forgotten to bring my bra to the convention, so the stick-on forms started to slide down as I got warm. Luckily I was seated, but I had to go out and fix my boobs afterward before I could get any photos. A BlerDCon staffer had live streamed my panel, but for some reason, the file didn’t save, and so far I haven’t seen any pictures from the panel. This bums me out because I’m big on photos and video of important events. Next time I’ll be sure to have a dedicated videographer.
5. What is one thing you love about the cosplay community?
The cosplay community is so accepting and welcoming. Before I had officially cosplayed at a convention, I was very worried about how I would be received, both as a crossplayer and a cosplayer who bought my costumes rather than made them from scratch. Then, at Awesome Con 2016, I was so happy to be so graciously accepted. My first cosplay was Dark Phoenix, and when I had another Dark Phoenix come up and say I looked better than she did (my wig was better), that really made me feel great. Many of the other cosplayers I met at that first convention are still my friends today. No cosplayer has every questioned my motives for cross-playing as female characters, and they’ve always given me their full support.
6. Off topic question, favorite food?
My favorite food is spaghetti, or just about any pasta. The sauce is optional, but usually a red meat sauce. I know this for a fact, because one time while deployed on an aircraft carrier, I had pasta five meals in a row. Lunch, Dinner, Lunch, Dinner, Lunch. I even carried around my own bottle of parmesan cheese just in case they forgot to put it out.
7. Do you have a cosplay that you love wearing?
My favorite cosplay is Zero Suit Samus Aran from Metroid and Super Smash Bros. She was the first cosplay that I bought and planned on doing, but because of the timing of Awesome Con’s cosplay contest, it was the second cosplay I wore. I’ve played many of the Metroid games, and beaten almost all the ones I’ve played. Samus has always appealed to me for her straight-forward, no-nonsense attitude, her beauty, and her ability to kick ass. Dressing up as Samus makes me feel powerful; Mostly when I’m wearing the 6-inch wedge heels that make me 6’4”.
7. Second off topic question, what is one thing you’re looking forward to this year?
This year I’m looking forward to hopefully attending The Continuing Voyage Star Trek Convention in Parsippany, New Jersey, in September. I hope to get Gates McFadden as the final autograph on my Star Trek: The Next Generation cast poster.
9. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself as you’ve gotten into cosplay?
Since getting into cosplay, I’ve learned that I have a better eye for fashion and crafting than I thought. I’m still learning to sew, but while building my Catwoman cosplay, I came up with some unique techniques that have impressed even more seasoned cosplayers. Crafting is one of those things that you just have to bite the bullet and DO. Don’t worry about how it turns out, just start and keep moving forward. Learn from your mistakes and you will get better.
10. Do you have any cosplays you can hint at?
I have a few cosplays that are almost done and ready to debut. I designed a prom dress for Samus based on Princess Rosalina’s dress. A friend drew a nice image for me, and then I had a seamstress in Thailand build it. It turned out great but was too big, so a local seamstress is taking it in. The plan is to take it to a convention and wear it at a formal ball, after a full day of wearing my Zero Suit. I also have a Spider-Girl suit and a crocheted Toothless hoodie/dress that I need to debut at a convention. I also have a pink Chun Li dress that needs to be taken in and boots. Lastly, I have plans for three Star Wars cosplays: Genderbent Anakin from the beginning of Episode III; Genderbent Luke from the end of Episode IV; and Rey from the end of Episode VII. Why those three? They all use the same lightsaber! Beyond that, I have nearly 100 ideas! Send money!
11. What conventions can people find you at this year?
I’ve had to cut back on my convention activities a little due to financial considerations. I originally tried to do a convention once a month, but the tickets and the hotel bills and the cosplay costs were starting to build up. I hope to attend at least one day of Baltimore Comic Con in September; Popcomiganza in Dunkurk, MD, in November, and MagFest in January. I might lobby con at others here and there, depending on my schedule.
12. Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you who or what you can or can’t cosplay. Cosplay is about love. Love of the character; love of the fandom; love of the setting; or love of the look. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend or how much you look like the original. Love what you cosplay, and cosplay what you love. <3
As always thank you Jazmine for taking the time out to chat. It was great having you on and I hope to run into at a convention one day. The above links are where you can find Jazmine official social media pages. So click and give a follow.
Coming into the cafe next is….
RiRiSmi Official is coming through, so until then I’m out!