I recently watched the documentary on Jessica Nigri put out by Rooster Teeth and I'd love to share my thoughts on it! Read the article below for my deepest thoughts inspired by Jessica's honesty in the video.
If you exist in the cosplay community at all, you've probably heard of Jessica Nigri's documentary. If you haven't watched it, I do recommend it. It's great to see her history and perspective and get to know her a little deeper.
You can sign up for a free trial membership on Rooster Teeth, or support them and splurge for the whole $2.99 a month. Her'es the video link:
It's a 50 minute documentary that explores her history as a child, moving to the US, and holding on to her nerdy interests for dear life. The following thoughts will likely explore spoilers, so go forth at your own risk.
When you get into the interview, and you see what kind of loving, supportive, and creative parents she had, and the childhood she was blessed with, you can immediately understand why she is the way that she is. It's truly beautiful. Nothing can prepare you for what comes next.
She speaks about moving to the US as a pre-teen from New Zealand and being bullied into changing her very being. She went from a proud geeky child, thrown into US culture where makeup matters and social standings are important at the age of 12. She found herself in a position where she needed to change her voice. She forced herself to adapt a permanent US accent because it was "weird" being a kiwi and no one could understand her.
This floored me. There's nothing more emotional than seeing someone so open and vulnerable about who she is, and how she stayed strong through it all.
We all were children once, and we all have our stories and mountains we've overcome. It seems like we've all had a phase where we were teased or bullied for something we liked, or because we were different.
I was bullied. My family was pretty old school. I have memories of wanting to wear low rise pants because they were starting to trend and were so popular but my mom thought they were inappropriate. I was in junior high. Fitting in was important. I ended up sneaking around my mom, changing clothes at the bus stop, and just doing what I could to fit in.
I ended up with friends who weren't real friends. They just seemed cool and put up with me. I was whatever they called the DUFF at the time. It wasn't until the end of junior high, literally months before summer when I found my best friend. I started hanging out with the misfits and was genuinely happy. I wasn't afraid to be teased anymore. I wasn't doing things to be popular.
I stuck with that best friend all through high school and we're still best friends now. I truly can't imagine where I'd be today without her. I think she was the ultimate beginnings into me becoming a nerd.
I was never into anime, video games, or comics for the majority of my childhood. I was a crafty girl, I liked origami and weird cut out stuff, and doodles, etc. I also LOVED making my own Halloween costumes (literally no surprise in retrospect).
In the summer of high school I decided to change schools. I transferred to a catholic high school to be with my best friend. I met tons of new friends, many of who are still with me today. This chain of events led me to new nerds, new fandoms, new interests.
I always had a genuine interest in anything anyone recommended to me. My best friend had a love for anime, another friend was a total disney nerd, and another was a total comic nerd. We'd spend hours playing video games like Lego Batman. I started to become interested in the games more and would play them with my brother out of interest rather than boredom.
I even started attending comic conventions. It was an annual thing and I became obsessed with it. I remember seeing cosplayers and simply thinking they were mascots or paid actors. I never considered it as a hobby. It never crossed my mind, I never had an urge to google it.
It wasn't until I started online dating and it was right around the Edmonton Expo that I learned about cosplay. A potential 'suitor' we'll say was super excited to meet Jessica Nigri and I was like "lel, who?" and after a quick google search I was in awe. Truly awe-struck. She was an extremely popular cosplayer. I learned the word cosplay. It was sudden realization. These people weren't mascots. They were extreme fans, and they made their costumes.
It was only a week or two before the expo but I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted to dress up. It was simple, but I put something together. Lady Deadpool was so quick, and so easy. I wore a Deadpool t-shirt, with a red tutu. That was it. But I was still stopped for photos. People still wanted a photo of me. I was thrilled. I was hooked. Cosplay was the coolest thing ever.
Jessica has inspired so many people to cosplay, to join this hobby and stay creative. Not only that, it's such a confidence boost to become a hero, to become your idol, your favorite character. Even more than that, you get to bond with other fans and create lasting friendships.
Whatever your thoughts on her are, just look at what she's done for the community with minimal effort. She's inspired. People cry when they meet her. People are grateful just for her being. I'm not here to tell you she's amazing and you have to think that. But that's what I think. She's humble and talented as hell.
SHe mentions in the video wanting to be better at empowering others, she wants to show that cosplay is for everyone, no matter what. I think we could all do better with this. I understand the small amount of guilt, feeling like you're not doing enough for others.
The documentary was really great to see Jessica's history and it inspired me to share mine. That's powerful storytelling, and she definitely has a story to tell. I definitely encourage you to watch the video, and always consider someone's past before judging their present. <3