Entertainment

Destiny Mendoza’s Folklórico Sailor Moon Is The Kind Of Cosplay We Deserve Right Now

Cosplay is a versatile and extremely interesting form of fandom in which people dress up as different characters from movies, anime, manga, video games and all different form of pop culture. Cosplayers form communities based on their fandom and get together in conventions such as the extremely popular San Diego Comic-Con International, in which creators, producers, and audiences get together for a few days of extravagance and fun. 

Cosplay is to be taken seriously, however, as it is the way in which some young people (or even not so young) find an outlet to express themselves. They go to great lengths to get the costumes just right, and form networks of help and support that become key for many cosplayers’ social lives. Suena bien, no?

Cosplay is popular all throughout Latin America and within the Latino community in the United States. For cosplayers from a minority background, this fandom practice is key in both forming tighter communities and expanding their circle of friends. 

Cosplay matters because fan cultures are an important element of society.

The Internet and social media allows us to be super active when it comes to sharing what we know and what we love. As – Gwenllian- Jones writes in the essay Phantom menace: Killer fans, consumer activism and digital filmmakers: “Fans combine conspicuous, enthusiastic, consumption of official texts and spin-offs with their own creative and interpretive practices. Fans are viewers who do not merely watch films or television programs but also write fan fiction and cultural criticism, produce fan art, scratch videos, websites and so on, and who seek out other fans with whom to share their enthusiasm. . . .Fans are distanced from ‘ordinary’ consumers because their modes of consumption are considered excessive”. Cosplayers wouldn’t say that their fandom is excessive, though, and they are constantly trying to fight against people who stereotype them as nerds!

But what is cosplay anyway?

Credit: blue_haired_girl_ / Instagram

Costume + play: cosplay. The term generally attributed to the journalist Nobuyuki Takahashi. Cosplay is a big part of otaku culture, which is the consumption of Japanese content in non-Asian countries. Cosplayers are fans who wear detailed makeup and elaborate costumes modeled after their favorite anime, manga, and related video game characters. Cosplay is also based on Kawaii aesthetic, which basically means cuteness! (Pikachu anyone?). Some speculate cosplay was imported into the U.S. by anime and manga fandoms as Japanese popular culture became widespread after the Second World War. 

So where did cosplay originate then?

Credit: blue_haired_girl_ / Instagram

Says Winge in his essay Costuming the imagination: Origins of anime and manga cosplay: “One side speculates that cosplay began in North America, during the 1960s, when people dressed as and role-played their favorite science fiction and fantasy characters, such as Spock from Star Trek and Robin from Batman (Bruno 2002a). This type of costumed role-playing (not yet called cosplay) spanned a variety of genres and may have inspired Japanese anime and manga fans to dress as their favorite characters”. Arguably, cosplay started in doujinshi marketplaces where amateur manga and magazines were sold. Cosplay was a promotional/marketing tool for new titles.

Cosplay is sometimes as time-consuming as a full-time job.

Credit: blue_haired_girl_ / Instagram

Cosplayers leave nothing to chance and plan every single detail of their persona! Says Winge: “A cosplayer researches and studies an already existing anime or manga character with a keen eye for detail, in order to create a cosplay character. The interpretation usually takes shape by reading or watching the chosen character within its given medium (i.e., manga, anime, or video game)”

Cosplay is a form of expression, even some call it art. It also gives some plenty of confidence.

Credit: runningamazoncosplay / Instagram

Says this Brazilian cosplayer who prides herself on being Latina and an advocate for girl power: “I cosplay female characters that make me feel powerful and confident. Wonder Woman encompasses everything I believe in, and that’s one of the main reasons I cosplay her so often. Still, there are so many other amazing female characters out there that make me feel powerful and help me inspire girls and women out there to be more and see our infinite potential. Yesterday was one of those days where I needed an extra boost of self-confidence and empowerment, and so, I cosplayed Wonder Woman in the morning and Hawkgirl in the afternoon. .My battery is now recharged. ❤️♀”. 

It gives fans a chance to create a more complete and inclusive version of their favorite superheroes.

Credit: runningamazoncosplay / Instagram

Wonder Woman has been an inspiration for decades. The recent film and its star Gal Gadot have revived the key role that the amazon Diana has in popular imaginations of what it means to be a heroic and self-sufficient lady! Wonder Woman cosplay is a classic that will never get old.

There are some amazing Latina cosplayers! Enter Destiny Mendoza.

Credit: blue_haired_girl_ / Instagram

Look at this amazing Sailor Moon costume! She got it all perfect and also references her Latino roots! Look at that gorgeous skirt and the headpiece that reminds us of religious symbols, la virgencita pues! Destiny was featured in the blog Cosplay in America, which brings together la creme de la creme. She explained the logic behind her costume: “I remember seeing so many people making their own interpretations of all their favorite characters and I was just in awe of all the creativity, it’s amazing! I just decided if everyone can do that, why can’t I make two different things I love, my culture and Sailor Moon, into one? It just felt like the perfect idea, especially in this political climate, to introduce people who are not familiar with Mexican culture to see how beautiful it is” 

Specialist cosplay blogs le echaron flores due to her amazing creativity. Enter the folklorico twist to a Japanese anime classic.

Credit: blue_haired_girl_ / Instagram

Mendoza explains: “I used an old Folklorico dress as a reference and looked up many “how-to” videos but I also researched many dresses from various places in Mexico. I decided to not use as much fabric as a traditional dress even with that decision my skirt used over 12 yards of fabric! The hardest part was figuring out how to implement Usagi’s accessories, like what can stay the same or what needed to be redesigned in Folklorico style. I also had Sailor Moon playing in the background as I was working and I like to think that helped a lot as I worked.” Just wow! We love it! 

Some Latinas use cosplay to send political messages.

Credit: cosplaydimensions / Instagram

Patriotism? Check. Pose? Check. Latino power? Check. Back in 2020?

And also to celebrate diversity.

Credit: jennocide_cosplay / Instagram

Look at this powerful Peruvian-Canadian, totally slaying the Pocahontas look!

And look at her interpretation of a classic 90s MTV animated character.

Credit: jennocide_cosplay / Instagram

She says on her Insta: “Thrift store Cosplay vs Character ???? Jane Lane ❤️ Daria was one of my favourite tv shows growing up, the humor and social commentary were on point, I like to think I’m a mix of both Daria and Jane—- but Jane is definitely my clothing aesthetic outside of cosplay lol ✌”. 

READ: A Migrant Mother Details The Death of Her Daughter After ICE Detention In Emotional Testimony

20 Creative Latina Cosplayers Who Will Inspire Your Next Comic Convention Look

Fierce

20 Creative Latina Cosplayers Who Will Inspire Your Next Comic Convention Look

@cosplayofcolor / Twitter

At comic conventions, fans from all over gather to celebrate comics, movies and TV shows. Between their special guest stars and exclusive content, comic conventions are like a wonderland to the millions of devoted fans who visit them. At these cons, the most creative ways to show your fandom some love is to cosplay.

Now that this year’s Emerald City Comic Con is over, comic convention season is in full swing. However, you don’t have to live in California or New York just to get into the cosplay goodness. Smaller conventions still pack in just as much fun and you’re guaranteed to find one close to you. With all those events, the cosplay options are endless.

Get in character and start planning your outfit because these looks will give you major inspiration.

1. Momo Kurumi Cosplay

Instagram / @momokurumicosplay

Latina artist, seamstress and cosplayer, Momo Kurumi lives by the philosophy that cosplay is for everyone. The award winning designer has participated in cosplay since 2007 and has done over 100 looks. Most of these costumes are completely self-made. Momo range is incredible; cosplaying anime characters, comic heroines, and Disney princesses. However, it’s her Chel cosplay — the South American native from “The Road To El Dorado” — that is especially giving us life.

2. Nerdtastic Mel

Instagram / @nerdtasticmel

It seems like there isn’t any look that this Afro-Latina cosplayer can’t pull off. A self proclaimed nerd, Nerdtastic Mel serves looks ranging from adorable Pokémon and beautiful Disney Princesses to a spot on Hermonie Granger and creepy cute Wednesday Adams. Be sure to check out her 90s cartoon looks as well for a shot of nostalgia.

3. Art by Renna

Instagram / @artbyrenna_

Cosplayer Art by Renna — real name Amanda — is just as comfortable in sexy looks as she is in her sweeter ones. If you catch her at a comic convention, she could be anyone from Mary Jane Watson to Maleficent. However, cosplay isn’t the only place she’s confident. Amanda is also a boudoir and lingerie model.

4. Iced Coffee Mel

Instagram / @icedcoffeemel

Iced Coffee Mel is a Columbian cosplayer practicing her craft in Toronto, Canada. Whether she’s working anime or comic characters, she completely transforms into her roles with impressive authenticity. Check out her quirky Mina Asido, her sultry Black Cat or her amazingly cool Sombra to get a feel of Mel’s versatility.

5. Jennocide Cosplay

Instagram / @jennocide_cosplay

Peruvian-Canadian cosplayer Jennocide is a queen of the head-to-toe look. Besides making sure her costuming is always on point, her attention to prop and accessory fabrication takes her looks to another level. Additionally, Jennocide is a master of makeup. Her Vemon, Gamora and Scar makeups are works of art. If that isn’t enough, her take on Zatanna is more than magical.

6. Moxxi Shenanigans

Instagram / @moxxishenanigans

Cosplayer and costume creator Moxxi Shenanigans’ looks are as diverse as they are creative. If you’re looking for inspo for your video game cosplay or are just curious to see a really impressive Gizmo costume, her Insta is a must-see. Besides well-known characters, she also creates her own — like her “Stars War” inspired Jedi Ariel.

7. Joanna Mari

Instagram / @joanna.mari

New York-based cosplayer Joanna Mari specializes in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy. A skilled prop fabricator, her expertise come in handy for characters ranging from Wonder Woman to Raven from “Teen Titans.” Her reimaginings of sweet cartoon characters like “Pokémon,” “My Little Pony” and “Carebears” into knights, warriors and mages is a thing of beauty.

8. Stephanie X Moon

Instagram / @stephaniexmoon_

Chicago cosplayer Stephanie X Moon likes to bring some sex appeal and a healthy dose of horror to her costuming. An alternative model, her pin up looks reimagine scary movie creators like Chucky and the Bride of Frankenstein. In addition to her spooky styles, she also gets inspiration from comic books; bringing to life characters like Scarlet Witch and Cat Woman.

9. Chicago Princess Sarah

Instagram / @Chicagoprincesssarah

As her name suggests, Chicago Princess Sarah is an Illinois-based cosplayer. A singer and artist, she works with the other talented character actresses at Chicago Princess Parties, a company that provides magical experiences for Disney lovers. Besides looking like a princess, she has to embody that character’s personality and vibe. Sarah has played everyone from Belle to Esmeralda but we’re partial to her Elena of Avalor — Disney’s first Latina princess.

10. Adonia GameGoddess

Instagram / @gamegoddess4ever1

Cosplayer Adonia GameGoddess is a Puerto Rican jack of all trades. Costume designer, prop maker, gamer and otaku, she brings her passion and talent to her looks. A regular guest at comic conventions around the nation, Adonia is at home whether she’s playing Green Latern Jessica Cruz or Bunny Bulma from “Dragon Ball Z.”

11. Cin’Von Quinzel

Instagram / @cosplayofcolor

Body positive cosplayer Cin’Von Quinzel is a self-taught costume maker from New York City. The Puerto Rican model and performer isn’t afraid to flaunt her curves in her unique takes on characters like Mercy from “Overwatch” or the Pokémon Vaporeon. As a plus-sized Afro-Latina, Cin’Von represents two marginalized groups in the cosplay community. Still, with looks like her impressive Hela cosplay, there’s no doubt about why she’s made a name for herself.

12. Ivvy Dream

Instagram / @ivvy_dream

Though she calls herself a “cosplayer in training,” Ivvy Dream’s collection of characters is already very impressive. The Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan artist mostly works with inspiration she finds from Japanese anime. You’ll find a Poison Ivy and Elmyra in her reprutoir, but she also seamlessly encapsulates Diane from “The Seven Deadly Sins.”

13. Surely Shirley Cosplay

Instagram / @surelyshirleycosplay

Lover of all things anime and manga, body positive cosplayer Surely Shirley is a crafty member of the cosplay community. Costumes like her take on Amethyst from “Steven Universe” and her Hinata from the “Naturo” series are spot on. However, it’s looks like her Bowsette (a female Bowser) that will really make an impression on you.

14. Ivy Doomkitty

Instagram / @ivydoomkitty

With over 300k Instagram followers, Ivy Doomkitty is one of the most popular Latina cosplayers in the world. Based out of LA, the international model is also a content creator, a pin up model and an advocate for body positivity. If you check out her previous looks, you’ll find sexy cosplays like her Ms Marvel and Jessica Rabbit. However, her Bison from “Street Fighter” proves that Ivy has her costuming down, head to toe.

15. Gabi Rupee

Instagram / @Myladygabriella

Atlanta cosplayer and self-proclaimed “anime trash,” Gabi Rupee’s cosplay looks are just as animated as her interests. The Brazilian-American gaming video creator draws on her love for Japanese animation to craft creative looks like her Captain Deku — a mashup of “Captain America” and “My Hero Academia.” As imaginative as that look is, we can’t help feeling that her Faye Valentine of “Cowboy Bebop” fame is positively spot on.

16. Julia Rose

Instagram / @diary_of_a_rose

Whether you love anime, video games or Disney characters, cosplayer Julia Rose has a look for you. Her adaptation of Pajama Party Ariel from “Ralph Breaks The Internet” is too precious for words. Her Princess Serenity from “Sailor Moon” is more than ethereal. Also, Julia’s playful Disneybound looks — like Edna from “The Incredibles” — are just as creative as her full costumes.

17. Phoenix Skye Cosplay

Instagram / @Phoenixskyecosplay

Phoenix Skye is a LGBT Dominicana that embodies that cosplay is for everyone. A body positive advocate, she documented her substantial weight loss through cosplay. She showsnl ws ithat no matter the size, she could rock her costumes. Check out her Gender-bent Joker for a real taste of her talent but we also can’t get enough of this gorgeous Moana look.

18. Yani Luv

Instagram / @yani.luv

“Teen Titans,” “Space Jam,” “My Hero Academia” and “Steve Universe.” These just a few of the fandoms multi-talented cosplayer Yani Luv has explored. The Afro-Latina Boricua utilizes both self-fabricated props and impressive body painting skills to embody her characters. While Yani cosplays plenty of human characters, we’re partial to her absolutely adorable take on Retsuko from Sanrio’s “Aggretsuko.”

19. Iza Ragnhildr

Instagram / @izunacosplay

Fashion design student Iza Ragnhildr should get extra points for practical application. Whether she’s cosplaying each and every favorite video game protagonist, the Cuban-Mexican artist fully transforms herself. A great example of this is her killer take on steam punk Poison Ivy.

20. Theophania Cosplay

Instagram / @theophania_cosplay

Video games and anime are usually Theophania’s go-to when it comes to cosplay. Besides her cute cosplays, the Houston-based Mexican Puerto Rican is a part of the Jammingers — a live action movie about a team of music-based superheroes. Her human Judy Hwa wazopps will also make you want to check out her incredible Disney cosplays.

Kayden Phoenix Is Changing The Face Of Graphic Novels With Her Female Superhero Named Jalisco

Culture

Kayden Phoenix Is Changing The Face Of Graphic Novels With Her Female Superhero Named Jalisco

jaliscosuperhero / Instagram

Batman. Superman. Spiderman. The great superheroes always seem to be men. While we do have Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Super Girl, Storm, and others, for the most part, they’re always white. Thanks to Latino creators we know have superheroes that look like us, that tell our story and reflect our heritage. One such heroine is fighting back in a very cool and stylish way.

Meet Jalisco, a powerful Latina superhero that fights crime through the tradition of folklorico dance.

Credit: kaydenphoenix / Instagram

We love that right off the bat we know Jalisco is of Mexican descent and that she’s a dancer that has a passion for her culture. Jalisco is also facing the kind of violence that your typical male superhero doesn’t encounter. She’s fighting the violence that plagues women in Mexico at epidemic rates.

Here is the basis of her story: “Jalisco’s a humble girl that lives on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Her mom takes her to the park to cheer her up with folklorico dance, and out of nowhere— Jalisco’s mom disappears. Jalisco goes to the cops, who brush her away. She goes home in hopes that her mom is there, but she’s not. Jalisco ends up going to the bar to ask for help- anyone’s help. Again, everyone snubs her. So Jalisco sets off on her own to find her mom. Luckily for her, she gets saved by a band of Adelitas. They all know the fate of her mom but can’t tell her about the rampant femicide. Instead, Adella, the matriarch of the Adelitas, says she’ll train her so she can learn to protect herself. Jalisco says she just wants to find her mom. Adella tells her about Malinche, the traitor to our gender and the leader of the femicides.”

This is Kayden Phoenix, and she’s a director, writer, and creator of the graphic novel that centers around Jalisco. 

Credit: kaydenphoenix / Instagram

In an interview with mitú, Phoenix said the initial idea behind Phoenix wasn’t merely to create a graphic novel. She didn’t feel like her culture was represented in the arts and did something about it.

“It just kind of happened naturally,” the Boyle Heights native said about shifting gears from her business background from Loyola Marymount University, to directing, writing, and eventually creating a graphic novel. 

“I just started writing and realized no one had seen my work, so I thought ‘let me direct,'” Phoenix said. She adds that she basically had to teach herself how to create an entire project from scratch. Phoenix eventually founded the Chicana Director’s Initiative, a nonprofit that aims to be a network of Latina creatives and also to provide diverse content. 

“That’s when I began creating Latina superheroes because, why not, we don’t have any.”

Credit: santasuperhero / Instagram

Phoenix uses her “why not” mentality as the prerequisite to starting any creative project. If she feels there’s a need for something, she doesn’t wait for someone else to maybe do it, she does it herself. 

Phoenix has created a magical world all her own. It’s not just Jalisco that she thought up, but also five other Latina superheroes that will one day unite and fight crime together. One of those superheroes is Santa, a social justice warrior,  who exists in the same universe as Jalisco. 

The origins of Jalisco derives from Phoenix’s life and history. Her mom was her inspiration, as was the birthplace of her grandmother.

Credit: kaydenphoenix / Instagram

“I grew up watching my mom dance folkorico,” Phoenix said. “They had a really cool troop, and they would dance at the county fair. They were doing everything. I learned all of that because I kind of had to, but now I really appreciate it.” She adds, “I thought to myself, ‘well, who is my superhero?’ It’s my mom.” 

What advice does Phoenix have for people who want to start their own creative endeavor?

Credit: kaydenphoenix / Instagram

“Just go do it,” Phoenix said nonchalantly. “My mom never told me no. She would say ‘do you want to play the piano? go do it. Do you want to do this, then do it.’ She never said no to me. So if you have a passion for something go do it.” 

Click here for more information on Jalisco and the team behind it. 

READ: Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie Becomes Marvel’s First Bisexual Superhero And It’s About Damn Time