Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer of the Week: Jackie Sonnenberg

Leo Nocedo:  How did you discover cosplaying?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  It kind of went together with researching costume ideas for haunted houses as I am a haunted house actor. I then decided to go to conventions for fun as my favorite video game and movie characters.
Leo Nocedo: What was your first cosplay?
Jackie Sonnenberg : Midna from the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The thing is someone offered to make me Midna and I accepted because I did not think I could do it myself, only when I got the costume some of it did not look completely right. I ended up fixing a great deal of it and that was almost like a whole new costume I myself had made. I then realized that I didn’t give myself enough credit and that I could do it too.
Leo Nocedo:Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Jackie Sonnenberg : Yes I have, and I have won and placed in a few! I won Best Craftsmanship at Spooky Empire, placed 2nd at Fantasm, 2nd at Necronomicon, and won Rising Star at Anime Central.
Leo Nocedo: Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  I like sewing, and the fact that I don’t use a machine might make me seem like psychopath, but the truth is I enjoy sitting on the couch late at night working on something without the noise and hassle of a machine!
Leo Nocedo: Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  I bring my book characters wherever I go, I am always excited to debut new ones and try their characters out with people, but at the same time I love the familiarity and recognition of bringing older ones back. I love being remembered and recognized, because it means I did something to make an impression. 8: Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Leo Nocedo: What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  My puppet Bottoni to date has all that and then some, including an illusion of a scissors going through his stomach and out his back. He’s got holes in him everywhere complete with hand-made moth larvae made out of clay crawling out everywhere! The Lamb prop also has so much love in it to look like a real lamb. I cut craft fur in pieces and placed it all on the exact way that fur would look over a taxidermdy sheep form, and made and painted his eyes wicked and bloodshot, with one a moving lazy eye.
Leo Nocedo:What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  Use foam or anything light for anything that would be heavy to wear, and nothing else. Do not strain your body in weight you think you can handle for only 10 minutes, because you’ll be wearing it for MUCH longer than that. SHOES! Your footwear (even barefeet requires careful stepping and caution, and cleaning) needs to be stable and comfortable. Wear any shoes you are considering around the house to break them in and see how they feel being in them for long periods of time. Any shoes you make or add things to will need to be stable enough to not fall apart. Shoes falling apart would be one of the worst things to happen. Fold over any edges of cotton fabric and either sew or glue down, because all edges fray, and they never stop!
Leo Nocedo:What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  To date, when my prop Lamb’s head wasn’t glued down yet (or enough) and it fell off just as I was rolling him into a hotel. I did what I could to be careful with moving him around but that bit of slapstick for a horror character is something I can only laugh about looking back.
Leo Nocedo: What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Jackie Sonnenberg : Well, the above answer can work there too 😛 In all honesty I get a kick out of people’s reactions when they see my horror versions of Mary and her little Lamb. They are stricken and don’t know what to think and naturally that prompts my introduction to my work. It’s always a riot to bring that prop with me to the bathroom and all the startled scares at that thing coming around the corner. But hey, everyhere Mary went the lamb was sure to go, right?
Leo Nocedo: What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Jackie Sonnenberg : In general I really think they all are the best because of what I do with them that is important to me and my brand. I interact with people to introduce them to my work in a way that’s fun and informative. The best interactions are those that end in a sale. I’ve had people take my pamplet handouts, pull out their phones, and order book copies right in front of me! Who needs a booth??!
Leo Nocedo:Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  Pre-styled, it saves me the hassle of trying to get something I want. My socialite vampire lady Felicity needed a fancy style that I would probably mess up.
Leo Nocedo:What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  The big ones include: Wizard World Anime Central MegaCon Spooky Empire
Leo Nocedo: Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  Yes plenty! They typcially have been introductory sessions for people who were new to costuming so we got to cover all the basics. I like telling people that they do not have to make everything from scratch in order to do a good costume, and not to try to do too much at once. Planning and orchestrating costumes is overwhelming when you are doing something for the first time!
Leo Nocedo: Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  So, this depends on what it is. If I have something that is specific, there is no way I’d just find a piece that could pass for it. If it is simpler, I like buying pieces I can just alter and add to something.
Leo Nocedo:If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  No, things made out of aluminum foil do NOT look good. STOP.
Leo Nocedo: What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  I think any haunted house character I’ve done in the past, but I don’t mean difficulty in creating makeup designs, or wearing prosthetics or latex, I mean the challenge of keeping it intact all night! I have learned to work with different kinds of makeup that last longer, and things like barrier spray helped!
Leo Nocedo: What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Jackie Sonnenberg :  There is no such thing as a “pro” cosplayer… and I feel like people have the wrong idea about this. True, there are plenty of people who do outstanding work and are recognized for it, but at the end of the day it’s a hobby for most, and that is all. The people that have a way to weave it into their careers are people who are already professional models and entreprenuers and business owners who have a product line and services revolved around costuming, and they just happen to cosplay themselves to help sell said products and services. Examples are: Seamstresses and costume makers, beauty and skin care lines that sell makeup and brushes, photographers, people that have their own supply of fabric and crafting materials, etc. Yes, there are models, but the point is they already WERE established models. Competitve cosplayers enter competitions, but winning that cash prize is a chance that they have with thousands of others. It’s a reward, and an amazing one, and wins come from skill and dedication and passion. The good thing about cosplay is that anyone can do it. The bad thing is that anyone can do it.
Leo Nocedo: What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Jackie Sonnenberg : I love that I incorporated costuming and character performing into my career, and it is a unique way of branding and marketing. I introduce people to my books by first introducing them to the characters. It allows me to bring 110% of my creativity, because I am bringing more to the characters than what I have in the pages. I interact with people in the way I think the characters would interact, and sometimes it makes me think on my feet. No one knows them like I do, and sometimes I feel like I can bring more to them in person outside their stories.
Leo Nocedo: Make up your own question!
Jackie Sonnenberg :  1. What books have you written: I have a growing standalone collection of books inspired by classic nursery rhymes retold as horror stories, with most of them completely original from the classic. MY SOUL TO KEEP is a paranormal story about a cult with deadly intentions, THE LAMB WAS SURE TO GO tells of Mary and her little Lamb as the Antichrist, and THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED is a vampire story about a child raised in secret as a blood donor All these are on Amazon as ebooks and paperbacks! And please visit my website at
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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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