Interview: Moco Latte, Cosplayer

Home to several conventions of a wide variety, including the oldest anime convention in the country, Dallas, Texas is home to a large and growing geek community. This is also the home of 23-year-old Jazmine, a cosplayer from the Lone Star State. Jazmine has cosplayed dozens of characters from anime and video games. She’s also won awards for some of her creations, which she makes and sews herself. She goes by Moco Latte in the community. Her huge variety of costumes can be found on her Facebook page, where she also details the progress of her projects.

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1. When did you first realize that you were a geek? What was the moment?

I first noticed I was toward the beginning of middle school. I loved Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball, but the two had always had a following. Even outside the nerd community, they were popular. However, when I began watching more anime, playing a lot of video games, and watching a lot of sci-fi shows, I realized that not everyone thought that stuff was cool, and maybe even found it a bit strange that I loved it so much.

2. When and how did you start cosplay?

I first encountered cosplay around 2005, when I went to my first anime convention in Miami, FL. My mom and I attended the cosplay contest. There was this awesome Paine cosplay from Final Fantasy X-2, and I was so amazed by how spot on she was. Seeing all the cosplays made me so excited, and I thought to myself, “Wow, you can be the characters! I wanna do that someday. So in 2007, I got a sewing machine for Christmas and began my cosplay journey.

3. Which costume of yours was the most difficult to create?

My Blue Rose cosplay from Tiger and Bunny has definitely been the most difficult so far. You’d think it would be the armor. There was so much trial and error with that cosplay. I scrapped two failures before I was finally able to get it right.

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4. What’s your favorite convention to attend and why?

Oh gosh, so many! I really love A-kon and Anime Matsuri – mainly because I get to see all of my friends. Everyone’s there, so it’s great to see people I haven’t seen in a long time. I also love Anime Fest, it’s a really chill con. I attended San Japan for the first time this past year and loved it. I foresee a bright future with that con.

5. What fandoms do you belong to?

I like to consider myself as someone who just enjoys many shows and games, but if I had to pick fandoms I actively participate in, it would have to be the A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), Beserk, Legend of Zelda, Evangelion, and Final Fantasy fandoms.

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6. You have a couple of tattoos related to some of the fandoms you love. What was the decision process in getting these tattoos?

I had always had an interest in tattoos. yet I never really considered getting any until recently. I knew that I didn’t want something generic. People always get roses, stars, or something of the sort. The first design that came to mind was Vivienne Westwood’s Orb and Sceptre design. I’ve always loved fashion, and Nana is one of my favourite shoujo manga. I thought it would be perfect as my first tattoo. I also have one on my chest – it’s the brand of sacrifice mark from Beserk. I wasn’t a big fan of the TV series way back when, because the art just threw me off, haha. But I started reading the manga and watched the Golden Arc movies, then I fell in love! I knew I wanted something Beserk-related to be my next one. I’m trying not to go overboard. My third one will be Sailor Neptune’s symbol and I’ll stop there, haha.

7. If you had no budget limits, what costume would you like to create?

I would love to do a lot of the armor designs from Shun’ya Yamashita’s artbooks. The character designs are so intricate and look amazing. Also, some character designs from the Sakizou artbooks.

8. Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start cosplaying?

Dive into it! Don’t second guess yourself. It’s a great way to unleash your creativity. Research the areas you’re particularly interested in, and the journey starts from there. You might fail every now and then, but don’t get discouraged. Practice makes perfect. No one ever perfected their craft in a day. It takes time.

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Photographer Credits: Aperture Ashley and Kuragiman/Brian Navy.

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