Despite being introduced to cosplay only two years ago, the next cosplayer we interview for Cosplay Corner has become a well-known and easily recognizable figure both online and at conventions. It doesn’t take long to discover that virtually everyone has an opinion about Jessica Nigri. While her beauty is obvious, we wanted to take a deeper look at the young cosplayer. What we found was a surprisingly level-headed, down-to-earth girl who doesn’t let online negativity get in the way of her love of all things nerdy.
Can you tell us a little about yourself; how old are you, where are you currently located, and what you’re doing (school, work, etc)?
Jessica: I am 22 years old currently located in Phoenix, Arizona, going to school for Journalism!
When did you first cosplay and what attracted you to the hobby?
Jessica: I first started cosplay not knowing what cosplay was! It was 2009 San Diego Comic Con, someone bought me a ticket to the convention for Christmas, and suggested I dress up! I’ve never ever heard of cosplay before this moment and I thought, ‘heck I love Pikachu, let’s dress as Pikachu’! Little did I know what I was getting into [laughs]!
You enjoyed a meteoric rise to cosplay ‘fame’ and there are a variety websites, tumblrs, and fan pages dedicated to collecting photographs of you. Were you expecting to receive so much attention for your cosplay? Has it been strange adapting to life as an ‘internet personality’?
Jessica: I had NO IDEA this was going to happen! So when it did it was hard at first! People tried to add me like crazy on Facebook so I had to create a fan page instead to control the traffic, because BOY there was a lot of it! I do have a personal page, but that’s for family. As far as the fan sites and tumblrs, they are very nice with what they post and I appreciate them very much : )
What does cosplay mean to you personally and how would you describe yourself as a cosplayer?
Jessica: Cosplay to me means friendship. It means finding other people who totally dig what you dig and getting along because of the intense amount of likeness between the different groups of people. As far as describing myself as a cosplayer? I would say I am very new and laid back. I still have so much to learn. I can’t wait to gain more skills and really go after costuming this coming year.
Your style of cosplay has attracted a bit of controversy within the online cosplay community. Do you find it difficult to rise above the negativity and gossip that circulates online?
Jessica: It was VERY hard to deal with and sometimes still is. I feel like it was a really great experience though to, I guess, receive so much hate. Because now? It just rolls away into nothing. I don’t care what the “trolls” say about my costumes or about me, because; yes, they may know my costumes and they can go to town saying they are bad. I don’t care [laughs]! Also, when they say I am fake and blah blah blah, I don’t care about that either. Why should I waste my energy trying to make haters (who will always hate) like me? The people that take the time to get to know me are the people whose opinions I care about. : ) Don’t feed your pearls to pigs.
In contrast, do you feel like the environment at conventions is more friendly and positive?
Jessica: I find comic book conventions are FAR more positive, mostly because I believe the audience and attendees are much more mature. Although I totally dig anime conventions for the AMAZING figures you can get there; comic conventions are more positive, more broad, and bring in a more dynamic crowd.
Do you make most of your own costumes or do you collaborate with others?
Jessica: I make all of my costumes with the exception of help received for my Panty costume, which I didn’t really like anyway [laughs].
If you had to identify the most important aspect of your work as a cosplayer, what would it be?
Jessica: It would have to be the fact that I am very personable. I make up for my lack of skills with my exceptional loyalty as a friend and the fact that if you really need help, I will always be there. [Laughs] Not really a cosplayer trait? I think somewhat as a lot of cosplayers in our day and age are far too obsessed with getting noticed (be it by amazing costumes or simply starting drama) and will do pretty much anything to get it.
You mention in a few of your online profiles that you are a bit of an ‘exercise addict.’ Can you describe to us your daily exercise regime?
Jessica: Oh, hell yeah I am! I love to run, hike, swim, run, jump, run and RUNNN! I typically run 4-6 miles a day (I am currently training for a marathon so that number will be rapidly increasing soon). I also love to hike… A LOT.
Do you have any advice for new cosplayers?
Jessica: Have FUN. If you aren’t having fun you are not doing it right.
What are your future goals and plans? Do you have any upcoming costumes or conventions you’d like to tip us off to?
Jessica: I know for sure, Arizona Comic Con this January! Other than that, I would say that the convention scene is rather docile right now. Time to buckle down and make some righteous costumes! But you will have to wait to see them! : )
Want to stay up to date on all things Jessica? Check out her cookie crumb trail below: