The Rise of a Cajun Cosplayer
Guest blogger: Morgan D.
Edit and layout: James Perkins
My name is Morgan, otherwise known as @morganitecosplay, and I have been cosplaying full-time for a little over a year now. Born and raised in New Orleans, the arts have always been an important part of my life and journey.
I was always trying to get out of New Orleans growing up. While I loved its food and people, I always felt out of place somehow. Studying music throughout high school and college, I have lived in a couple of different cities such as Chicago, Northern Michigan, as well as several summer music programs across the country. I definitely learned to appreciate it more while I was away and as I grew older. There really is nowhere else like it-the food, culture, and people.
Probably my favorite aspect about living here, is that you can literally walk up to anyone and start talking to them like you have known them your whole life. Especially after experiencing Hurricane Katrina, I feel the City definitely has found a new found unity and togetherness. We had to really come together to rebuild our city. Mardi Gras is truly a one of a kind experience. Growing up I was actually pretty sheltered, so my family and I did not attend a lot of the bigger parades in the heart of the city. In recent years we have been able to go to as many parades as possible! We actually marched in one of the smaller parades called Chewbacchus (i.e. Chewbacca from Star Wars) which is basically a giant nerd fest of awesomeness! We marched as the Krewe of Avengers and it was so much fun. We are hoping to continue the tradition as things start to open up again. There definitely was a big whole in my heart not having Mardi Gras [Covid-19 restrictions] this year. It is definitely a fun way to combine costuming with basically having two months of partying.
I have always had a strong passion for movies and all things geek! My other interests include animals, escape rooms, and traveling!
Cosplaying has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It perfectly combines my love of these characters and expressing myself through art. As someone who has always struggled with body image, weight, health, etc. this has given me a special confidence. It has been a huge motivation to try and exemplify these characters that inspire me to be stronger, more selfless. It makes me so happy to see how much the cosplay world has diversified. We still have a long way to go, and sometimes it seems like an uphill battle.
One of the major highlights of this past year has been to be selected as a winner of the Zack Snyder Justice League Cosplay Contest! I truly put my heart, soul and some literal blood, sweat and tears into my Mera build. And the crazy thing is it is still a work in progress!! While cosplaying for me is all about having fun and spreading joy and positivity, it still means the world to receive validation, especially by people you have looked up to. Without a doubt, I can say this with full confidence: Zack Snyder TRULY appreciates and cares about his fans. We all felt so comfortable talking with him and he was so down to earth. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him especially after everything he has been through. We will continue to fight to #restorethesnyderverse ! Another amazing bonus has been the opportunity to video chat with his Assistant Costume Designer Stephanie Porter! Zack personally helped coordinate this for us which has been so unbelievable. We had such an amazing conversation with her about how one would get into this business, different processes, materials, and just connected on our shared experiences of costume making. This will be a time in my life that I will never forget and will never stop being grateful for.
Mera Build from Zach Snyder’s Justice League Cosplay Contest
While I have come a long way from who I was, I still go back and forth between feeling like I am wasting my time and that I will never fulfill my dreams. At the end of the day, I must make it about pure fun, and that has to be enough. It is often an internal struggle between letting myself dream and accepting realities. Social media does not help with this a lot of the time, as it is so easy to get caught up in how many likes and follows you receive. I know at the end of the day; those things do not define who I am and my happiness. Every like, share, save, follow, and positive comment means so much to me, and I try to always focus on the amazing community aspect to all of this. I see other cosplayers achieving things I could only dream of and think “well if they could do it, why can’t I some day?” There are so many skills I want to learn and become more skilled at i.e., armor building, casting, makeup, wig styling, etc. So many facets of cosplay to explore!
I often regret waiting this long to get into the cosplay world sooner, as I truly believed that only skinny girls could be successful at cosplaying. I thought I would get made fun of and body shamed entirely. While there are a lot of sad internet trolls out there, 99.9% of the community is very accepting and encouraging, as I believe we all want this to be a safe space for anyone and everyone to express themselves through cosplay. The friendships and connections I have made within this last year have surpassed any expectation. I know I will continue to treasure these friendships for the rest of my life.
I originally started this website focusing on me presenting my portfolio and creating a “how to” blog. But as the pages developed I began discovering my love for cosplay, costuming and prop fabrication. I have met many wonderfully talented artists and new friends on my quest to become a better cosplayer myself. I even started a Featured Cosplayer page and have also now began inviting these artists as fellow bloggers here. I’m pleased to present Morgan as my first guest blogger and I’m sure you’ll have found her to be as exciting and wonderful as I have. JP