Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer of the week : COSPLAY MICHAEL

COSPLAY MICHAEL Age 9-years-old Listed on Cosplay Convention Connection as the nation’s youngest professional cosplayer
Leo Nocedo : How did you discover cosplaying?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I was just 4-years-old when I was at a convention with my parents and met a cosplayer named Josh Barber. He talked to me, like a real person and told me about his costume and how cosplayers work. I was hooked then & there and a few weeks later “Cosplay Michael” came to be.
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My first cosplay was Thor. It was a store bought costume and my dada and I had made a hammer and added some bits and parts to make it better. When I met Josh Barber, he was cosplaying Loki. We played and it was so much fun.
Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Right now I am working to make some of my existing cosplays better. I have an up-armored Robin I hope to debut soon, a Spiderman I can’t wait to wear at a convention, and I am working on upgrading my Captain America and my Thor cosplays, now that I’m a little older.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I have and I love contests. They are a lot of fun. I won my first contest at Space Coast Comic Con at age 6, and have won at SyFy Bartow for the past 2 years in my age catagory, and I won first place at Kissimmee Fandom. But, as much fun as that is, I prefer “playing” with other cosplayers.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I like sewing. I have learned a lot from my friend Amelia Poole at Harlequin Arts Cosplay and Crafts. I also like makeup work, and my dada and I are just now learning armor making with EVA. It’s a lot to learn, but I really love it all.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I really love location photo shoots. I can prepare more for them and I can work on poses and character. The one thing I rerally enjoy about Con shoots though, is that I get to work with so many other cosplayers.
Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I am a kid, so I love cosplaying my superheroes, but one of my favorites is my Joker Cosplay. Being the bad guy can be a lot of fun.
Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My favorite cosplayers are the friends I have made through cosplay. Amelia Poole with Harlequin arts cosplay and crafts, AZ Powergirl Cara Nicole and Lauren Edinger at Weyrwoman Cosplay are all some of my favorites, as is Bri Rivera from Florida Bombshells, and other boys I love are Josh Barber, who I still see at cons and Cecil Garner of Cecil Grime cosplay and Shellane and Dean at Cos-A-Commotion, as well as Mark from Mark Knight Rises. These are all pros in my opinion. I love them all.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My Robin is turning out to be quite detailed. The armor shaping, paintng, combining thrifted items and home made. It really is quite a lot. My Thrifted Doctor Strange is really detailed as well, making sure each item creates a real illusion of being Doctor Strange.
Leo Nocedo : What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Don’t be afraid of things you dont know. Just jump in and learn Make each cosplay your own, add touches that are unique to yourself while staying faithful to your characters Don’t judge. Everyone is unique and every cosplayer is celebrating what we all love, so accept the work for what it is, a passion project.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My Joker is my favorite. The makeup work was the first I ever did, and my suit is a great combination of home made and thrifted, and I love wearing it.
Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Well, I play a lot. I really enjoy it. Being in character, playng wth other cosplayers, so you can imagine that my cosplays often “break, tear and are tested.” My worse experience is when I accidentally ruined my cosplay before a contest I was really looking forward to. On the positive, I was able to change my entry and particpate as a different characer I had made up with my friend at Cookie Dough Cosplay on the spot.
Leo Nocedo : What’s your funniest cosplay story?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My funniest Cosplay Experience was while made up and cosplaying my horror character: Menace The Clown and I jumped out scaring people at a horror conventon. I jumped out and scared horror actor Miguel Nunez at his signing table. He chased me around and we became friends at that convention.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My first one. Even at 9, I still remember playing wth Josh, and how he made me feel as we battled as Thor and Loki. It was so much fun. My latest was a close second, when a little kid, the same age I was when I started to Cosplay, came up to me at a convention and very shyly asked if I would take a photo with him. Of course I did and told him how cool he was. I really loved that at only 9, I was somebody he looked up to, the way I Look up still Josh and all my friends in cosplay.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Not as yet. My adult family members aren’t as into cosplay as I am, but my Cousin wants to learn and I hope we get to do a marvel cosplay together someday. His favorite chracer is Black Panther.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My Joker print. It is so good. I really love it. Artist Josh Bauer made a paiting of it that I have on my wall at home, and I really love it.
Leo Nocedo : What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I Do a lot of shopping at Embellish FX in Orlando. They have awesome props, masks, pieces and so much more. I got my makeup there and they are so friendly and easy to talk to.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I get wigs from Embellish too. Most pre-styled or unstyled when I need. I prefer cospays without wigs, they get too hot.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Not really. My dad and I talked about it a long time ago, and I decided that while I wanted my costumes to have some of me in them, that the only rule would be that my character was recognizable as the character I was going for, so we test them out on family members before they debut.
Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Thor: Ragnorak Edition Captain America Captain Mal from Firefly The Joker Doctor Strange Robin Twiki from Buck Rogers Spiderman Superman Bucky: The Winter Soldier Jon Snow from Game of Thromes Harry Potter
Leo Nocedo : What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I was a panelist at Comic Con International in San Diego, known as San Diego Comic Con, where I cosplayed Captain Mal, and Jon Snow. It was a blast. I can’t wait to go back.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I do use props, but I prefer the freedom to play all day without. Fortunately, as a guest of most conventions I have gone to, I get to put props at our table or booth, so I can still play without them until its photo time.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I am 9. My parents just laughed out loud as we read that one. I guess that means I have lost quite a few pieces out there. But I do recall a few Harry Potter wands I haven’t seen in a while.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I have. I bought new Harry Potter glasses and a wand, to repalce that one I lost. I also bought the coolest Thanos Infinity Gantlet.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I like to do my own cosplays solo, but I always find a similar themed group to play with on the con floor. That’s the fun, we come out alone, but we make new friends and improvise our “play”
Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I’ve met most of my favorites, from My close friends to YaYa Han, but I have one I’d like to meet. Jessica Nigri. We have followed each other online, but I haven’t yet met her, and I’ll bet she’s fun.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Yes. I did Cosplay for Kids and Families panel at San Diego Comic Con. SO Much fun!
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays? I love both. Mostly I love coming up with an idea, and combining bought or thrifted items with homemade items to complete the work. I really like to make it my very own. It’s not just “The Joker,” it’s Cosplay Michael’s Joker. I think that’s what many actors do, so I like to do that too.
Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Remember, Cosplay is for everyone. When I was too little, sometimes, I didn’t understand what my adult cosplayers already knew and I thought there was only one way to be a cosplayer. But, I know that’s not true now. My cosplay friends helped me to know that. I would tell little me to have fun and let everyone else have fun too.
Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : As I grow up, I’m not sure what I want my cosplay to do. I want to be the kind of cosplayer that my friends, Cecil, Amelia, Cara and Mark are, and to help other little kids like me to get interested in sharing their ideas. I hope I’m like them when I grow up.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
COSPLAY MICHAEL : The most difficult cosplay I did was that of Twiki from Buck Rogers. It took my dad a and I and my brother a long time to make the pieces together, to learn the character and then the hardest part for me, was to wear it. It was very heavy and hot to wear. But, I met Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) as Twiki and we had a lot of fun, so it was worth it!
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : My Joker makeup is very hard to get right. I keep trying to get it just right, but it tends to change each time I do it, or depending on what grown ups help me.
Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : To me a “pro” cosplayer is one who is truly professional. It’s not about selling prints or autographs, its about representing the cosplay community by inspiring people with your performance and your craft. I think I’m a pro. I sell prints and make money, I play openly and try to show what cospay is about. I know others may have other ideas, bt to me, my friends and peers are pros, and I am so glad they call me one too.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : I love the people. I love my friends I have made cosplaying. That is the best. I think cosplaying should be as fun as it is hard, and my community makes it fun. I hope I am as fun to be around.
Leo Nocedo : Make up your own question!
COSPLAY MICHAEL : What is Cosplay All About?
COSPLAY MICHAEL : Cosplay is about sharing your creativity and your love of popular culture with a group of like minded people and letting that shaing create fun and friendship. I love cosplaying because it helps me to share, make friends, play and learn all at once. I have been cosplaying since I was 4-years-old, for 5 years. I started doing photo-ops and selling prints 2 years ago, at age 7. I hope cosplaying stays fun for me into my adulthood, because it has been so much a part of my childhood. My parents always tell me that I learned as much from my cosplay friends as I have from them, so I want to be the kind of cosplayer that teaches and inspires little kids the way my cosplay friends have done with me.

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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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