Y’all, I’m so hyped! I’ve been following Sean for a while on Instagram now and as a gender-bending cosplay advocate (superfan) I really think he embodies the type of cosplayer that just NAILS IT. You know? That cosplayer that just KILLS IT! Just OWNS IT. He has taken his life experiences and passions to heart and that has translated to becoming a role model to others, especially other cosplayers. I still pinch myself when I think about how he agreed to do this interview and learned so much more about him. While not a cosplay veteran, he could have fooled me because he certainly has the grace and costuming down for one. With even just a few years of cosplaying under his belt, I know he’ll go far. I, for one, will be cheering him on. -Carrie
Black Nerd Problems: So please tell us a little about yourself. Also how long have you been on the cosplay scene?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Well I’m 23 years old going on 24, I was born and raised in Kissimmee Florida and have lived there most of my life. At the moment I work as an overnight front desk agent at a resort in Orlando. As far as hobbies go: cosplay obviously is my number one, I also enjoy drawing, swimming, going to the movies. Just you’re average things really. My first convention was Megacon 2014 and I have been cosplaying ever since. I was truly inspired by the art of cosplay and it truly has become my biggest passion.
BNP: Like many Millennials who watched Sailor Moon growing up, it’s credited for not only being a gateway anime but for featuring girls and women with their struggles and triumphs in lineups that usually catered to more male dominated programming in the U.S. It will forever have a place in my heart and now that I’m an adult I love that I’m hearing more and more stories from all the many people who also sat down in front of televisions and watched it: including the queer male experience, an often silenced voice. Sailor Neptune is your favorite character, can you tell us why that is and how she is a champion to you?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Everyday I would run home from school and plop in front of the tv to watch Sailor Moon, even my mother understood that it was Sailor Moon then homework haha. I’ve always had an obsession with strong female characters and the show was everything I needed. As a kid being gay I always struggled with being bullied for my “feminine” personality. To be honest, the show made me feel better about who I was, you could be powerful AND fabulous. When it comes to the cast I never had a favorite, I just liked all of the girls equally. Now when I first saw Neptune it was love at first sight.
I remember staring at the screen like “Wow! Who is that?!”. Just her elegance and grace alone got me, then watching her more and more I fell in love with her entire persona. The fact that she was an artist as well as a musician, and completely fierce in battle to top it off. Everything about her amazed me as a kid. A huge plus for me was knowing that she was gay also, even though in the English dub she and Uranus were “cousins” to me it was totally obvious what was really going on. I related to her like I’ve never related to any other character, that’s why she’ll always be my number one.
BNP: As I’ve told you before, personally I am a big fan of gender-bent cosplay. I love seeing people use their cosplaying skills and create their own interpretations of their favorite characters and OWN IT. Your gender bent takes on the folks you cosplays as are amongst your most popular ones–what lead you to pursue these?
[quote_left] I’ve seen a lot of genderbends that come across as “funny” or could be taken as a joke. I wanted to really make people say “wow that’s perfect”. [/quote_left] Mernicorn Cosplay: Like I said before I’ve always been obsessed with strong female characters, so growing up all of my favorite characters were women. When I stepped out onto the cosplay scene I knew that my first cosplay would be Sailor Neptune and I knew the exact direction I wanted to go with it. I wanted it to be true to the character and I wanted people to take me seriously. I’ve seen a lot of genderbends that come across as “funny” or could be taken as a joke. I wanted to really make people say “wow that’s perfect”. I also think doing genderbends give the cosplayer their own creative spin on the character and I think that’s what sets us apart. It’s one of those things where I can just let the creative juices flow and interpret the character how I want.
BNP: What are your thoughts on Cosplay culture and how some people attempt to police people’s bodies? While not a cosplayer myself–as a fan I still hear and read such awful soundbites like “Spiderman isn’t that color” and “her slutty ghostbuster isn’t cute”. There is just…really so much to unpack when seeing what some cosplayers have to endure to do something for fun, something that I think most of y’all truly enjoy. On that thought, what do you do to steel yourself against such awful people?
[quote_left] Of course it does but when I’m in cosplay I’m in the zone, I am the bomb.com and nobody can tell me otherwise. You are your own biggest fan and you have to show the world they can’t bring you down[/quote_left] Mernicorn Cosplay: At the end of the day, people are going to have their opinions of your cosplay but you just have to shake it off and keep your head up. Growing up I was made fun of and bullied a lot and I definitely think that helped me become a lot stronger. To this day people will make negative remarks on some of my cosplays, whether it be a rude comment at a Con or a nasty post on one of my photos. Does it get annoying? Of course it does, but when I’m in cosplay I’m in the zone, I am the bomb.com and nobody can tell me otherwise. You are your own biggest fan and you have to show the world they can’t bring you down.
Amazing edit by @8bit_fuzion_graphics #angewomon #angewomoncosplay #digimon #digimonadventuretri #cosplay #genderbend #genderbendcosplay A photo posted by Sean Gonzalez (@mylittlemernicorn) on
BNP: I’m so stoked to know another fellow Team Mystic member! How goes your Pokemon go adventures? Have you gone to any Pokemon meetup events?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Yaaas Mystic! Haha I’ve been pretty obsessed with Pokemon Go lately, there’s a park right by my house that is the best for catching Pokemon. I’m there all the time now and it’s really cool, the game is definitely bringing people together in my opinion and that’s always great. I did go to one meet up and it was amazing! The turnout was unbelievable, literally, hundreds of people catching Pokemon. A lot of love and laughs going around.
BNP: So you happen to know another cosplayer that I adore, Gamagoomorira. She’s even referred to you as her “(cosplay) senpai”. (That was such a feel good story!) How does it feel to have other cosplayers looking up to you? Have you meet any others?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Yes! She is the absolute sweetest! I remember meeting her at Megacon and she was sooooo excited, even asked for a second hug. (I’m a huge hugger lol) It is honestly an unbelievable and humbling feeling to have people who look up to you. I feel truly blessed to have people who love my work as a cosplayer and take the time to show their love and support. I even had someone who wrote to me saying I gave him the confidence to come out to his family, definitely hit me right in the heart. Just one more thing that makes it all worthwhile.
BNP: As I started following you I realized that the actual first cosplay of yours that I saw was your fantastic Pixie cosplay a while ago! Not too long ago on IG, I noticed that you were wearing it again after it not being in your possession–Are you planning to wear it again soon to another con?
My #wcw goes to this gorgeous lady! One of my favoritest people on the planet and one of my most wonderful friends ??? #xmen #xmencosplay #pixie #psylocke #xmenapocalypse #fredericklovesyou A photo posted by Sean Gonzalez (@mylittlemernicorn) on
Mernicorn Cosplay: I absolutely love Pixie and it was one of my favorite and most well received cosplays, after getting it back I do really want to wear it again but it needs a little refurbishing. I’m working on some big projects right now but once I get some time Pixie will definitely be spreading his wings again. 🙂
BNP: You’ve got to take a cross-country trip by driving–quick pick five animated characters that would make the trip bearable!
Mernicorn Cosplay: Oh gosh! Ummmmm lets seeeeee… that one is pretty easy actually. I would have to say the entire Belcher family from Bob’s Burgers. Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise. I literally watch it every single day and a road trip with them would be perfection.
BNP: I have to congratulate you on being chosen as one of the cosplayers for the Men vs Cosplay calendar! I love that Cosplay has been gaining more avenues to showcase the many people who take part it in. When did you first come across this project and of course, how did feel upon receiving word that you’d be included in it?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Thank you so much! I came across it probably about a month or so ago when a friend of mine had also been selected. When I looked into it further I knew I had to be a part of this. In my opinion, cosplay seems to be a female dominated sport, so the fact that the calendar focuses on male cosplayers is awesome sauce. So I sent in my little application and waited. It took a while to get a response so I really thought I hadn’t made the cut. When I finally did receive the email I was to the moon with excitement. I ran around the house telling everybody, I was sooooo happy now the whole family wants calenders.
BNP: Is there anything you’d like to say to your younger self when you first started cosplaying that might ring true to first-time cosplayers?
Mernicorn Cosplay: Just believe in yourself and never give up. There are times when I’ve gotten so frustrated when I mess up a piece of armor or a prop and I just have to sit back and remember why I do this in the first place. I love to cosplay and I love the cosplay scene, it brings so many amazing and creative people together and that’s pretty great.
BNP: Lastly, what cons or events are you attending in the future that people can find you at?
BNP: Big Cosplans, indeed!
Additional Photo Credits:
Battle Damaged Sailor Neptune Photos by Papanotzzi
See more of this Cosplayer on his Instagram account and see the progress of all his newest cosplans!