Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer of the Week: Jennifer Stroup

Leo Nocedo : How did you discover cosplaying?
Jennifer Stroup : I had always seen cosplayers on TV and Instagram, but I never really thought it was for
me until a few years ago. I wanted to work as a face character at Disney, but that never panned
out, so I started seeking out opportunities in my area instead.
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Jennifer Stroup : Ariel, in her “Kiss the Girl” outfit.
Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
Jennifer Stroup : Elsa, Scarlet Witch, possibly Snow White
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Jennifer Stroup : No.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Jennifer Stroup : Sewing, although I still have a lot to learn in that department!
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Jennifer Stroup :  I prefer going to specific locations. I really value immersion in photoshoots, so I try to
look for settings that make the most sense for my characters.
Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Jennifer Stroup : Disney princesses!
Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Jennifer Stroup : I really love Amber Arden’s Disney cosplays. She is very creative when it comes to
mashups, and her craftsmanship is beautiful.

Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Jennifer Stroup : Princess Merida!

Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay  story?
Jennifer Stroup : My first Merida wig was a cheap wig from Amazon. It wasn’t very good, but it got the job
done. One day I was walking in a Christmas parade when a few strands of hair from the wig got
in my mouth. The hairs were so long, and it was very hard to try to get them out of my mouth
while walking in this parade and staying in character. Ultimately, some of the strands made it so
far to the back of my mouth that I felt like I was choking! I ended up coughing and my eyes were
watering, so I had to just break character for a moment to really fish the hairs out of my mouth. I
hope no one noticed!
Leo Nocedo : What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Jennifer Stroup : When I cosplayed Ariel, kids used to love taking my stuffed Flounder from me. One time
a little girl really tried to run off with it!
Leo Nocedo : What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Jennifer Stroup : One time as Merida, a little girl told me that she didn’t think of herself as a princess
because she liked parkour, and in her words, that wasn’t a very princess-like thing. I told her
that a princess always follows her heart and does what she loves to do, so she could still be a
princess and do parkour if she wanted to. She smiled and so did her dad, and it really made
Merida’s day!
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Jennifer Stroup : My husband has gotten into cosplay recently. He plays Green Arrow, and when he’s in
costume and I’m in character as Merida, we refer to ourselves as the “Emerald Archers.”

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Jennifer Stroup : Pre-styled. I’ve never really tried to style my own!
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Jennifer Stroup : When I played Ariel, I used to get mistaken for other characters all the time. Someone
called me Cinderella once, just because I was standing next to the Fairy Godmother. I’ve also
been mistaken for Princess Anna while in costume as Ariel.
Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Jennifer Stroup : Ariel, Merida, and Black Widow

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a
prop around all day?
Jennifer Stroup : I really enjoy carrying a bow as Merida, and kids always seem to love it!

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
Jennifer Stroup : I prefer to cosplay with my volunteer group, Costumers With A Cause (CWC). I love
seeing the look on kids and adults’ faces when they get to meet their favorite hero or princess!
Not every child or parent gets to go to Disney World to meet characters, so I love that we bring
that magic to the community as a group.

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Jennifer Stroup : Right now I buy all of my cosplays, but I’m hoping to make my own some day!
Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Jennifer Stroup : Get into it sooner! It’s a wonderful creative outlet, and cosplaying as a volunteer is one of
the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Jennifer Stroup : I would love to be Ariel in her full mermaid tail!

Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Jennifer Stroup : I once did a mashup of Ariel and Pennywise, which was much more than I had ever
done makeup-wise. Professional clown makeup is surprisingly hard to work with!

Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a "pro" cosplayer?
Jennifer Stroup : For me, it’s all about making magic. I don’t cosplay to the level of being invited to cons,
nor do I make money from my cosplays. However, when happy parents tell me that I made their
child’s day, or that they think I’m on the same level as a real Disney character, I feel like a pro. A
big reason why I limit my cosplay lineup is because I want to make sure I can truly inhabit a
character while interacting with people.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Jennifer Stroup : Wearing costumes is fun, but nothing compares to seeing the look of wonderment on a
child’s face when they meet a real-life princess or superhero. My favorite characters have
always brought me so much joy, and I love being able to pass that on to the next generation!
Leo Nocedo : Make up your own question! Which skills do you think are the most important when it comes
to interacting in character?
Jennifer Stroup : Improvisation is so important while interacting in character. You just never know what a
child (or even an adult) might say, but you have to be able to improvise and hold a conversation
while staying true to your character. Along that same vein, it’s crucial to know your character’s
background and story. You don’t want a child to know your story better than you do! Moving
forward, I also want to learn more sign language so that I’m able to be more inclusive in my
interactions with the community. I know a few key words and phrases, but there’s a lot more I
could learn!

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Leo Nocedo is a cosplay photographer who has been using a camera for the last forty years in many forms , in the military and professional studios in Miami and New York city . He got his start in cosplay photography attending conventions with his brother Juan Nocedo . He keeps on doing what he does to honor his late brother .

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