The Geekiary’s Convention Cosplay Bowl was created in an effort to bring more convention and cosplay content to The Geekiary and to showcase the cosplay talent we encounter. The winner of MomoCon’s Cosplay Bowl was Mo Vermenton, a cosplayer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. We ‘sat down’ with Mo to talk about his cosplay, his geek activism, representation, and what being a cosplayer means to him.
Mo is such a kind, warm person, and his passion for cosplay and for volunteering is infectious. I happened to meet him while I was getting lunch at MomoCon. In a bright green Green Lantern suit and matching contacts, he was almost impossible to miss. I was beginning to grow weary while I was looking for cosplayers who were interested in participating in the cosplay bowl. Mo was totally down for it, and I got some great shots of him at the CNN Center in his Green Lantern cosplay, which ultimately won him first place in the cosplay bowl.
The Geekiary: Did you make your Green Lantern cosplay? If so, how did you make it? If you didn’t, do you usually make your cosplays, commission them, or a mixture of both?
Mo: Green Lantern is one of my favorite costumes to wear at cons and volunteering events and one of my favorite characters, but unfortunately, I can’t take the credit for the creation of that costume. That honor belongs to local designer Walter Dean. I commissioned both Green Lantern and my Val Zod Superman. Since the original design, along the way I’ve made a few minor tweaks, changes and additions to help make this version of the character my own. I do this with the majority of my cosplays; I commission them and the make changes that individualize my version of the character. I’m an amateur at sewing, crafting and building, so I leave the heavier lifting to those much more talented individuals who make this their craft.
G: How long have you been cosplaying?
M: I wanna say that I started cosplaying sometime around 2012/2013, but I can never quite remember. I do remember being at Dragon Con and seeing all of these awesome people dressed as characters I loved and thinking how much fun it would be to do that.
G: What’s the first cosplay you ever made/wore?
M: My first cosplay was Hancock (from the Will Smith movie of the same name). That was my safe way into the cosplay world and it was mostly comfortable cosplay.
G: Is there a cosplay-related skill you’ve been wanting to learn?
M: I’d love to learn how to machine sew. I mean, my sewing skills are very, very basic, and I’d love to one day be able to mend some of my costumes and even try my hand at making one from scratch. I have an old machine my mom gave me, I just haven’t had the guts to try it out and experiment with it.
G: What are some characters you’d love to cosplay, if possible?
M: Like so many other cosplayers, I have a list of future cosplays I’d love to execute (time and money permitting): Joe from Gatchaman, Goliath from Gargoyles, a Stan Lee version of Batman, and Marvel’s The Sentry are just to name a few.
G: Have you had any fun fan interactions while cosplaying?
M: When I first started cosplaying, I was in awe of how welcoming and supportive the cosplay community is. Some of the best interactions have been with fellow geeks who have the same level of love and caring for the comics, movies, and TV shows as I do. But that pales in comparison to the interactions I’ve had with children when I volunteer. They make the experience, and seeing how much they light up when they see their favorite character come to life, it’s such a humbling feeling.
G: Please talk about the importance of representation in media.
M: Growing up as a child of the late ’70s/early ’80s and a fan of comics and cartoons, the amount of characters of color were few and far between, especially in the mainstream. That helped form my appreciation of these characters and how important it is for the next generation of fans to see themselves in the characters they love. I love being able to cosplay as characters like Green Lantern, Black Panther, and Nick Fury, because I can see how others, especially kids, react. It’s a very small contribution on my part, but my hope is that it will add to the forward momentum of representation in geekdom.
G: Tell us about your volunteering and community activism!
M: Honestly this ties in quite a bit with my motivation surrounding cosplaying characters of color. At first I just wanted to find ways to use my costumes beyond just attending conventions; I wanted to get more out of the experience of being a cosplayer. I joined a local volunteer organization called the Cosplay Volunteers of Atlanta and immediately fell in love with what they did. It’s such a worthwhile, humbling, and extraordinary feeling being able to give back using my cosplay. It feels so great to see the look in a child’s eyes when they see their favorite character live and in person, especially when I know that in many cases their circumstances (whether it’s related to their medical condition or social-economic status) wouldn’t allow them to see these characters at an amusement park or any other venue. Now that, in part, has become my main focus and motivation for volunteering, aside from exposing the families we serve to characters of color they might not see on regular basis in the mainstream.
G: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a cosplayer?
M: I have to say by and large I’ve been fortunate in my time being a cosplayer and haven’t really endured too many struggles or drama. If anything, my biggest challenge is me and my own issues of self-worth, self esteem, and body image. I feel like I will always be my own worst critic and that will always supersede others’ perception of me.
G: What are some things you want to tell to people who are just beginning to cosplay?
M: First thing is be true to yourself, don’t let anyone else’s expectations or “standards” dictate how you cosplay. To coin a phrase from my good friend BarrFoxx Cosplay: “Cosplay Your Way”. Don’t let your weight, age, gender identity, race, or sexual preference keep you from cosplaying a character you love. This is supposed to be fun and sometime that gets lost in our need to seek the approval of others.
Also, don’t let your skill level be a hindrance either. Not everyone is a seamstress or builder or crafter or tailor or engineer. We all have different talents and different levels on which we operate. Just because someone is more adept at something, doesn’t mean they were born knowing how to do it. If you want to learn and grow in your craft, do it. If you want to stick to doing things very basic and without a lot extravagance, do it. I’m a firm believer in the idea that cosplay is FOR EVERYONE.
You can find Mo on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Check out his other amazing cosplays in our gallery below!
We have yet to decide when we’ll have another Geekiary Cosplay Bowl because, let’s be honest, conventions are pretty chaotic already, but stay tuned for future announcements!
Bekah has a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Anderson University and is the Executive Assistant at Saga Event Planning. She is a frequent convention attendee and cosplayer and co-hosts The Geekiary webcast “The Bitching Dead”.
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