A self-proclaimed Awkward Human Being (that’s an A.H.B if you’re into acronyms), Nicole Marie Jean is a nationally recognized cosplayer hailing from San Diego, California, who fell in love with this particular brand of self-expression due to its stunning confluence of beloved pastimes with the creation of art and fashion.
Yep, cosplay was the means to take Nicole’s love of all things geeky (comics, movies, books, video games, and anime), and grant them live-action representation through carefully constructed costumes and adroitly crafted, character-specific accessories. Once she dipped her toe in the proverbial cosplay pool, Nicole threw off the inflatable, alligator swimmies and dove in head first.
Now, Nicole is a busy, busy gal. Between hitting conventions, judging cosplay contests, constructing costumes, crafting fine jewelry, and parading around in her “Lady Bane” attire, she has a LOT on her plate. Thankfully, she was able to eke out a little time and answer a few questions for us in the following, exclusive interview. Okay, Nicole; let’s get to it!
1. How long have you been cosplaying?
“I have been cosplaying since 2011.”
2. What was it that attracted you to cosplaying?
“The thing that attracted me most to cosplay was the idea of bringing together both creativity and art and your love of various fandoms and creating this magical thing called cosplay. I’ve always been an artist and very much into things such as comic books, superheroes and sci-fi so I fell in love with the idea of cosplay.”
3. At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue cosplay professionally?
“I never had a plan to pursue anything professionally when it came to cosplay. I didn’t even know that was a thing. It was kind of just about being in the right place at the right time. When I was first cosplaying it wasn’t necessarily the big phenomenon it is today so what I was doing caught a lot of attention.”
4. How many conventions do you attend per year?
“I attend from 1-4 conventions a month depending on what conventions I’m invited to.”
5. Do you make your own costumes?
“I do make my own costumes. It’s what I enjoy most about cosplay.”
6. How long, on average, does it take to create one of your elaborate costumes?
“My costumes, even some that look quite simple, can take me 100+ hours.”
7. What kinds of materials do you use when creating your costumes?
“I use materials ranging from recycled trash to thermoplastic. Nothing is off limits.”
8. What’s the average cost to create one of your costumes?
“I have a bad habit of ignoring my costs when it comes to cosplay. I try to avoid looking at the receipts!”
9. What was the most difficult costume to make? What did it involve and how long did it take?
“My most difficult was probably my genderbend Comedian. It’s always a challenge taking a male character and redesigning it as female, especially because females tend to have curves and you have to adjust to that. My Comedian costume’s chest plate was something I had to step away from over and over because of its challenges. That lasted a few months.”
10. Which cosplay are you especially proud of? Oh, and feel free to name as many as you like.
“I have proud moments with most of them because I’m growing as an artist and improving my skills with each project.”
11. What characters/cosplay do we have to look forward to in the future?
“I have a giant list of cosplays I want to get to. You’ll probably see a lot more genderbends/male characters in the near future. None in particular.”
12. Who’s your favorite Superhero and why.
“My favorite superhero is Namor the Submariner. I’m a little obsessed with him. I have boxes of Namor comics, every action figure I’ve been able to find, posters, prints, etc. He is such an entertaining character with his sarcasm and wit. I like that he’s very much a lady’s man and has this swag about him and ultimately, he’s an incredibly powerful character.”
Hmmm. That is a VERY interesting answer. Namor definitely has fans, but you don’t hear from them too often. Anyway, he’s a Marvel guy, which segues perfectly into our next question:
13. Do you prefer Marvel to DC, DC to Marvel, or…(*gasp*) both?
“When it comes down to it, I’m a Marvel girl. My love for the X-Men runs deep.”
Okay, you’re an anime fan. Let’s address it.
14. In your opinion, what are the top 5 anime series of all time?
“Forever my favorite: Gundam Wing Mobile Suit. Also, Cowboy Bebop, Pokemon, Fairy Tail, Fullmetal Alchemist.”
You’re a video game fan….
15. In your opinion, what are the top 5 video games of all time?
“Final Fantasy 7, A Link to the Past, Asherons Call, World of Warcraft, Duke Nukem 64.“
16. Besides Cosplay, you’re an artist/designer/sculptor. Could you talk about the kinds of items you make? And is there a creation you’re especially proud of?
“I make a lot of hand-sculpted items based off of popular fandoms. My proudest pieces are the baby Ewoks I handmade.”
17. Did you major in design/sculpting, or was this simply a natural talent?
“I never majored in art or design. It comes naturally to me. When it came to art even in my younger school years, I didn’t like being told how I should create something. I just let my creative mind do the work.”
More Nicole Marie Jean? I can help you with that.
Help support her future cosplay and crafting endeavors by heading on over to her Patreon page! Go! Finance an artist! We dare you to be remotely nifty!
And as a Superherostuff.com partner, she has her very own Superherostuff page detailing the actual product she’s modeled for us!