Meet Minnesota Cosplayers: Mako Senpai, Alana Profit, Tre’ Da Marc, and Jonathan Palmer

After Briana’s great article, “The Importance of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay,” we thought you might like to meet some of the local black cosplayers here in Minnesota. This is the third of three posts over three days celebrating #28DaysOfBlackCosplay by introducing you to some awesome Minnesotans and their awesome cosplay!

Previously: “Meet Minnesota Cosplayers: Cyril Cosplay, Master Trekkie, Ninjabearbear09, and Brichibi Cosplays

Mako Senpai

Mako Senpai has a cosplay page on Facebook and a profile on DeviantArt.

Mako Senpai as Static (Photo by Loyal KNG, Edit by Cosplay FX)

Mako Senpai as Static. Photo by Loyal KNG, edit by Cosplay FX

Hal Bichel (TCG): Why is cosplay important to you?

Mako Senpai: Why is cosplay important to me? Well, cosplay is important for me because it stopped a lot of negative influences in my life, it helps me change for the better, and to look at things from a different approach. Cosplaying, I would go as far to say it changed my life, from the people I’ve met, to the different shows that I’ve watched with life lessons to be learned from each of them. Cosplay taught me the importance of budgeting, getting my own house, setting priorities for myself, time management skills, and learning something that was difficult for me and applying it to real world situations. They don’t teach you that in school, but cosplay, I would say, has taught me that, and I’m grateful to the people who have showed me this. I love cosplay, because I’ve met people I would never have met in my life. Cosplaying has also given me a job to travel around the United States to work for this small company called Dial-Up Games and Toys. I go and cosplay while selling merchandise, meeting other cosplayers—new and old ones. It’s an honor and blessing and I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

Mako Senpai as Vandal Riven (Photo by Cryo Moon )

Mako Senpai as Vandal Riven. Photo by Cryo Moon

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Mako Senpai: I have many inspirations but the two inspirations that kept me up and moving is Jihatsu and Kadu=Out Cosplay. These two are my inspiration because at one point in my life I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself, why do I keep cosplaying, what is my purpose to do this, even though people laugh and mock me at the conventions I go to? I keep doing it because I want to make a name for us black cosplayers. I say you don’t need to be a certain skin color, shape, height, weight, or whatever. Cosplaying is a fun experience for anyone and when I found out there are more black cosplayers out there besides me, it gave me the motivation to not give up. Because I didn’t give up, I made friends in that stage of my life that most people don’t get the privilege to have—people supporting me and my decisions, not only in the cosplay community but in real world opportunities, congratulating me on my life accomplishments, and pushing me to strive higher and to keep running for my dreams. Jihatsu is a good friend of mine after only meeting him in 2014, but we both share the same thoughts and opinions on things, and it’s a relief to know I have someone to talk to about issues and things with.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

Mako Senpai: To all the Minnesotans out there: cosplay is a form of art it is different and diverse and brings a lot of people together. I know people who come all the way from Nebraska, Texas, and California to come to these Minnesota conventions. It is something you should come and see with your friends and family; see a different culture and way of things. The cosplay community is really nice and light-hearted and any cosplayer is willing to tell you about how they got into cosplay and how nice the community is, if you ask. I can’t remember how many people I’ve told about cosplaying and now they have their kids going to conventions once or twice a year because they’re having a good time with all the people and events that go on at conventions. You’re never too old or too young to get into cosplay. Even if you’re not into the dressing up, coming out for a day or two is also comforting, as well, to see something new that you wouldn’t expect to see.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Mako Senpai: I go to every single Minnesota convention. That includes my favorite, Anime Detour, as well as Animmineapolis, Meta Con, Anime Fusion, CONvergence, and Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con. Then, with my company, I’m at out-of-state conventions (mostly comic cons) and such—I usually keep those dates posted on my Facebook Page.

Mako Senpai with South Park cosplay group

Mako Senpai with South Park cosplay group.

Alana Profit

Alana cosplays with MN Superheroes United. They have a page on Facebook.

Alana Profit as Elisa Maza/Belle . Photo by Stray Things Photography.

Alana Profit as Elisa Maza/Belle. Photo by Stray Things Photography

TCG: Why is cosplay important to you?

Alana: It’s funny, because when I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween, but now I will take any excuse to dress up and go out in public in costume. Since attending SpringCon a few years ago, I have become aware of and involved in this whole world of costuming and volunteering and it makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile with this increasingly-favorite, slightly ridiculous pastime of mine. It automatically breaks down that sometimes awkward social barrier, and has enabled me to meet some wonderful people. Whenever I meet a little girl while in costume, especially the minority ones, every minute of looking for reference pictures, lost hours of sleep from staying up late to finish a costume in time for an event, and every dollar I spent on materials immediately becomes worth it because I like to believe that they see at least a little of themselves in me, and are reminded of the fact that they matter.

Alana Profit as Sorm. Photo by Jonathan Palmer.

Alana Profit as Sorm. Photo by Jonathan Palmer

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Alana: If it wasn’t for Storm, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into costuming in the first place. I watched a lot of TV when I was younger, and X-Men: The Animated Series was one of my favorite shows growing up. When I finally was old enough to make my own decision on whether or not I wanted to dress up for Halloween, she felt like the natural choice for my first real costume ever. Not only did I find an animated show that I liked with a main character that looked like me, the show got bonus points because she was a leader of the team and kicked some serious butt. The rest, as they say, is history. When considering new costumes, I am innately drawn to characters who look like me (or who I can make myself look like) and have personality characteristics like mine. They have to look cool, too, of course, and I have to feel comfortable about and in what I’ll be wearing.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

Alana: The people I’ve met through costuming are not only good friends, but also are a wealth of knowledge and resources–and not just in the costuming realm. Something that I try to remind myself of is that we all start somewhere, so if you’re interested, pick a character and just jump right in. Minnesota has costumers of all levels and ability, and 98% of the people you meet are going to be awesome and welcoming and want to squee with you. You may not love your first (or third, or 15th) costume, but you’ll come to appreciate the process, regardless of if you choose to make, buy, or assemble your costumes.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Alana: You can typically find me at MCBA’s MSP ComicCON and FallCon, but chances are also pretty good of running into me at charity events or special events, usually scheduled through MN Superheroes United.

Alana Profit as She-Hulk. Photo by Silverfoxviz

Alana Profit as She-Hulk. Photo by Silverfoxviz

Tre’ Da Marc

Tre’ Da Marc has a fan page on Facebook.

Tre' Da Marc 's Pawstar cosplay

Tre’ Da Marc ‘s Pawstar cosplay.

Tre' Da Marc as Blade

Tre’ Da Marc as Blade.

TCG: Why is cosplay important to you?

Tre’ Da Marc: Cosplay is important to me because it allows people to express themselves freely as anything they want to be regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or timeline paradox. I am a burlesque performer located in Minneapolis, MN who specialize in classic tease and Nerdlesque. Nerdlesque is when a burlesque performer decides to cosplay a character and brings the character’s story to life by using the art of tease. Nerdlesque is the reason why I started to cosplay more in the last two years.

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Tre’ Da Marc: I don’t really have a cosplayer who inspires me. I do really like Yaya Han’s cosplays. However, if had to pick for Nerdlesque inspiration, it’s a tie between Stella Chu, and Bazuka Joe.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

Tre’ Da Marc: I have met many wonderful cosplayers in Minnesota/the Midwest. They are the most friendly, artistic, talented and nicest people you will ever meet. They are not shy about helping other cosplayers, and make people feel welcome and wanted in the community. They always have fun events outside the con season and are a great way to network and create new friendly bonds with one another.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Tre’ Da Marc: I have only been to Anime Detour, AniMinneapolis, and Meta Con. I eventually wish to go Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, Convergence, and Aselia Con one day. However, due to traveling and expenses from attending Burlesque festivals and Burlycon (a burlesque-education convention), I will be taking a break from attending Anime and other types of fandom-based conventions for the time being.

Tre' Da Marc as Sub-Zero

Tre’ Da Marc as Sub-Zero.

Jonathan Palmer

JP cosplays with MN Superheroes United. They have a page on Facebook.

JP as Zorro

JP as Zorro.

JP as Captain America

JP as Captain America.

TCG: Why is cosplay important to you?

JP: Cosplay is important to me on two levels: education and outreach, and helping others. I use cosplay in my work as a way to engage youth in civic responsibility and helping at-risk youth find a better path. Cosplay not only helps create a nonthreatening and often fun environment, it also can help engage them more when they see a favorite character or creation. I can also relate any subject or provide any example of a subject, concept or experience to superheroes (the majority of my cosplay). You want to talk about remembering where you come from? Let me talk to you about Luke Cage. You want to talk about oppression and persecution? Here’s what the X-men go through. Trouble with making ends meet? Here’s what Spider-man goes through.

From a helping others standpoint, I do a lot of it for charitable and nonprofit functions through MN Superheroes United and Project Superhero. It’s a chance to make kids smile and inspire and that is the best part. Overall, it’s just fun.

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

JP: Truth be told, two of my friends, Damon and Yancey Thrift, are the biggest inspirations to me personally. I had been doing cosplay for a couple of years and had a pretty decent Golden Age Green Lantern until I ran into the two of them. Damon was dressed as WWII Captain America and Yancey was Golden Age Green Lantern, and Yancey looked like he really was Alan Scott (Green Lantern’s secret identity). The detail was so amazing, I said right there I had to step up my game, and I would never have a costume that wasn’t as if I’d just stepped off the pages. In the comics world, I have an affinity for the classics and the outsiders. I do a fair amount of Golden Age or classic characters and for the most part stay away from the ones everyone is doing. I like to be original or at least unexpected.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

JP: It’s not just for kids anymore. Cosplay is an awesome activity that is productive, fun, and relatively harmless. But even more so, it’s everyday people. For the most part, we’re not doing this professionally, meaning we don’t get paid. We do it because we like the craft and we like bringing characters to life, for ourselves and others. It’s a labor of love that has its own reward in join doing a good job.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

JP: Always CONvergence. MCBA’s MSP ComicCON/SpringCon and FallCon, Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con, and anything else that seems fun.

JP as Doctor Fate

JP as Doctor Fate.

Are you a Minnesota cosplayer who would like to be featured on Twin Cities Geek? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject, “Meet Minnesota Cosplayer [Your Name]!” All skill levels are welcome.

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