I know Zeena from Instagram. She’s a Kamala Khan stan much like myself. She has an incredible sense of fashion and hits up Cons not by herself but with her son and significant other, sometimes cosplaying with them! She’s a phenomenal cosplayer out of New Jersey who adds her own twists on characters and while I don’t usually handle the cosplay columns on the site, but I really wanted to interview Zeena myself. I hope you enjoy your introduction to her if you aren’t already familiar with her and follow her cosplay adventures from here on out.

BNP: Please tell us a little about yourself.

Zeena Elena:  I am 30 and originally from NJ. Now I split my time in NJ and NYC. I work in the non-profit sector specifically with organizations that focus on HIV/AIDS. I always loved the idea of cosplay and bringing my favorite characters to life. As my son got older and showed an interest in all things nerdy I thought conventions and cosplay might be something we can do together.

BNP: What was your very first cosplay and how involved were you in the making of it?

Zeena Elena: My very first cosplay was the Uma Thurman version of Poison Ivy from the Batman & Robin movie.  I hadn’t yet mastered the art of using a sewing machine so; I bought a white bodysuit and ombre dyed it shades of green. Then, I hand sewed the leaves onto the dyed bodysuit.

Zeena Elena

BNP: What is your favorite fictional character that you love or mostly relate to and why?

Zeena Elena: Kamala Kahn is my favorite fictional character. She is a young Muslim girl living in New Jersey who discovers she has these awesome powers. I am from NJ and half Pakistani. As a person of color, I rarely see people in comics that look like me then; here comes Kamala with almost the same background as me. Mind blown!

Zeena Elena

BNP: I MUST ask since I grew up in Los Angeles and I’m a California girl–Is New York truly the base of operations of everything nerd, regarding Comic-Con? What is the appeal there–what is it about the atmosphere there?

Zeena Eleena: I’m not really sure what the appeal is. I think each city has it’s own nerd culture which sets the tone for that city. Personally for me the allure was the fashion and design schools here in NYC.

Zeena Elena

BNP: It seems you have a little nerd, a baby blerd on your hands as well! Do you mind telling us a little about him? When did you start bringing him to conventions? As a mother to a young black boy in these days where it seems even young black men are seen as a threat in cosplay/with cosplay props, do you have any reservations to him cosplaying?

Zeena Elena: My son is 7. He started attending conventions when he was 5. I started him at the smaller local conventions just to see if he could handle the crowds and all the walking. This fall we attending NYCC, his first big convention. I think that He has found a hobby that he really enjoys. When I read about Darrien Young and the other acts of violence against young black men it does make me concerned but I think the change needs to come from policy rather than our actions.

Zeena Elena

BNP: Lastly, what are your goals and dreams for the future, cosplay or otherwise?

ZE: My next big cosplay goal is to learn how to make armor. I plan on taking on a cosplay that has a large armor component next. I really want to start working with new materials and learn that skill. Also, I hope that in the future this can be a hobby that my son and I share as he grows older.

Check out her Facebook page!

Photo Credits:

Sally Jupiter – NaterPix

C3P0 – Everybody Loves Tony Ray

X-Men Pin up group shot – Patrick Sun

Doctor Who-Everybody Loves Tony Ray

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  • Carrie McClain is writer, editor and media scholar. Other times she's known as a Starfleet Communications Officer, Comics Auntie, and Golden Saucer Frequenter. Nowadays you can usually find her avoiding Truck-kun and forgetting her magical girl transformation device. She/Her

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