Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Nerdbot Cosplay Spotlight: Hey Jay

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Stephanie Sandmeier
Cosplayer, Host of Nerdbot's "What's Better" & "Foodie Function", cast-member of MyxTV's "The Doll Life", fashion show coordinator for Anime Pasadena and usual front-desk chick for Nerd Knights. I like cute things, love disney and dinosaurs, writer and actor.

I love seeing how cosplayers embrace and deliver characters. It brings me joy to see cosplayers let their hair down in cosplay and real life. I am so happy to introduce this cosplayer from Florida, Hey Jay. 

Please introduce yourself to the readers.

My name is Jay 🙂  Huge Sailor Moon fan, gamer, and cosplayer.

How do you go about getting into character? What’s the process you go through?

I usually start with one of two things: how I connect to the character or if I can actually visualize myself as them because of their design. I love when I have some idea that I think is pretty cool and implement that.  

Please tell us your favorite cosplay memory.

It would have to be from Dragon Con a few years ago. My best friend and I dressed as Deku and Bakugo from My Hero Academia when we ran into some kids while we were leaving the building. The kids’ eyes LIT UP when they saw us. They immediately knew who we were even though we did not go for complete accuracy and were so incredibly happy. We took pictures with them, and it was that moment that was so heartwarming. What really drove it home for me is that they didn’t say I was “Girl Bakugo” or anything like that. To them we were treated like we were actually Bakugo and Deku and it was just awesome to see. 

What are the three of the most essential things to have with you when cosplaying at a convention?

POCKETS! I need pockets or SOMEWHERE to store my phone and things or I will be miserable. Next thing I would say is some cool friends to be around. I love great energy and vibes. It makes the convention more fun. Last thing is probably a spare battery because I love being on the con floor for a while and taking photos/videos. 

As a POC cosplayer have you experienced any challenges? How did you overcome these challenges?

As a black woman who cosplays, I have encountered challenges mainly online. The internet is just a troll’s playground, and people think they can say just anything to you while protected by the phrase “well it’s my opinion”. I have received nasty comments regarding me using natural hairstyles in cosplay mainly, which is probably my favorite thing to do while cosplaying and a few other things. Being a black woman, I tend to get the “_____ isn’t black” comments, which are VERY annoying, and I see my fellow black cosplayers receive the same thing, especially those who have a darker complexion and it just isn’t cool. I love being a black cosplayer and trying to lift up everyone in this community when people try to tear us down. I have found community within the community, and it made everything more “bearable” for me. A hobby shouldn’t be just “bearable” though. People should honestly keep their hateful comments to themselves or you know…..just not be hateful at all.   

How would you encourage fellow POC to cosplay characters they love?

I always tell people to cosplay whatever calls to them! Don’t worry about accuracy if it isn’t your thing because that is not the only way to cosplay. Oftentimes, people are intimidated by these people who they have deemed the “perfect” version of a character, and they wonder how to compare. Cosplay is truly about fun so do it your way.

What changes do you hope to see within the community in the future?

I hope to see more inclusion. More photographers at conventions who are not afraid to shoot cosplayers with darker complexions because “they don’t know how”. More black and POC cosplayers as guests for various conventions. More diversity in panels and the industry. Just more. The community is more than what is constantly represented and I firmly believe that there is shine that can be given out that wouldn’t dull anyone else’s light. Does that make sense? LOL

You can find more cosplays and other fun content from Hey Jay on her Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

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