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CCM Interview: A Deep Dive into the Creative Force that is J9lives

Get ready for an exhilarating journey into the captivating world of cosplay with our featured guest, J9lives! With a passion for bringing beloved characters to life, J9lives has left an indelible mark on the cosplay community. Her journey spans the enchanting realm of Disney princesses to the fierce battlegrounds of Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider.


Join us in this CCM interview, as we dive deep into her incredible cosplay adventures, explore her favorite fandoms, and get an exclusive sneak peek into her upcoming projects and collaborations. Don't miss this opportunity to get to know the creative force behind the cosplays, J9lives!


j9lives creative cosplays magazine

J9lives, it's fantastic to have you here. Before we dive into your cosplay adventures, could you take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers and share how your love for cosplaying began? What's the origin story behind your journey into the world of cosplay?


That was an awesome introduction! Sheesh you make me sound so cool! I’ll try to add to it… I’m a nurse full time and have been cosplaying since 2017. I remember the day I fell in love with cosplay like it was yesterday! I just watched Moana and laughed, cried, all of the above. I posted on Facebook how much I loved the movie and how I planned to dress up like her for Halloween. Right after that, an old friend of mine asked if I’d be willing to dress up like her for her daughter’s birthday. I quickly began looking online trying to find a premade Moana costume and honestly the adult costumes at the time were not up to my standards and WAY too expensive. I decided to learn how to make it myself with some inexpensive fabric, paint and a lot of velcro. After that I was hooked!

j9lives

You've embraced a wide range of characters, from Disney princesses to iconic figures like Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider. If you were to estimate, or if you know, how many different cosplays have you created since you began? Can you share some of the most memorable and challenging characters you've cosplayed, and what you've learned from those experiences?

Oh gosh, I couldn’t even begin to count! I recently sold a ton of cosplays that I either never wore or retired, but maybe we’re looking at 50? 75? I have no clue! Let me write them down and I’ll get back to you on that one! A memorable character would probably be Scorpion from Mortal Kombat since it was a huge hit at Dragoncon in 2018. My good friend Moxxi and I were trying to find our way around the chaos that comes with Dragoncon. She was dressed as Raiden so we kept getting stopped for pictures. People were saying things like “OH my God Mortal Kombat… AND THEY’RE CHICKS!!!” I would say when it comes to fandoms, people get REALLY excited when they see a character they love and/or grew up with.


Looking to the future, can you give us a glimpse of some upcoming cosplays or projects you're particularly excited about? Any hints about what fans can expect from J9lives?


My cosplan list is always growing! I currently have the armor for Xena that a friend of mine Avera Cosplay commissioned for me, so once I get that finished I will be showcasing that cosplay! Others on my list are Savage Red Sonja, Violet Sorrengail from the book The Fourth Wing, Nesta and Feyre Archeron from the book series A Court of Thorns and Roses and Tori/Darcy Vega (twins) from the book series Zodiac Academy! I really really want to get into more foam work and armor. My fiance Jason and I have a ton of materials to make it happen, it’s just a matter of when and where to start!



Who are some of your favorite pop culture characters? Are there any shows, movies, comics, books, etc., that you are really into these days that you’d recommend to readers who may be interested?


Ah this one’s tough, but in no particular order: X-men both the animated series and the comics, Conan: Age of Belit series (her character is just BEAUTIFUL), Wonder Woman (literally anything Wonder Woman), Buffy the Vampire Slayer including the original series, comics and spin-off/alternate universe books, and I’m big into fantasy books like Zodiac Academy, Fourth Wing and A Court of Thorns and Roses. If you’re not a big reader, audible and graphic audio are great too!


This year, you attended New York Comic Con for the first time and even had a Meet and Greet with fans. Could you tell us about your experience at NYCC and how it felt to meet your fans in person?


That was an overwhelming experience, but I’m so thankful that we were able to make that happen! At first, I didn’t think anyone was coming to meet me. I don’t consider myself famous or even having “fans.” I’m literally just here playing dress up trying to find some joy in this crazy world we live in, BUT a few people did come up to me to meet me and said they have been following me on instagram for a while! It was truly a great experience and I’m happy to share my love of cosplay to people all over.


Other than NYCC, you also traveled to other conventions. Have there been cons that you’ve attended that have compared in size of NYCC? Do you have an all-time favorite con that you’ve attended? Or maybe ones that you have yet to attend but want to in the future?


Other than NYCC, I would have to say Dragoncon has to be my all time favorite convention. People fly in from all over the world to attend, so I get the chance to connect and collaborate with a lot of photographers and other cosplayers that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to. Also their cosplay meetup schedule is unlike any I’ve ever seen! They have a meetup for almost every fandom!

Are there any memorable moments or interactions with fellow cosplayers or fans that stand out from your convention adventures?


Getting to meet some of the New York cosplayers for the first time at NYCC was an amazing experience. Most of them I’ve been following on social media for years, but when we met in person for the first time, it was almost like we already knew each other!


Cons offer so many things for those who attend. One of those features that helps draw many people in are the special guests who are invited, providing the opportunity for attendees to meet and take a photo with some of their favorite characters from movies, tv, and more. Have you had the chance to meet any of your favorite stars, and do you have any interesting interaction memories that will stay with you forever?


I’ll share the most recent one that happened in October at New York Comic Con. I've been a HUGE Buffy fan ever since I was about 12 years old. Recently a ton of the original cast reunited for an Audible Series called “Slayers: A Buffyverse Story” where Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) is the slayer! I was fortunate enough to go backstage and meet her as well as attend the panel discussing the series. I was cosplaying Faith Lehane at the time and we took some pictures together. I was shaking afterwards and I was fangirling so hard!


J9lives

Being part of the cosplay community allows for exciting collaborations. Can you share any memorable collaborations or group cosplays you've been a part of, and what you enjoy most about working with others in the cosplay world?

Ah yes! Back in 2018 when I was just a little baby brand new cosplayer, my friend and I connected with some other cosplayers back home in Florida for a big Disney/Star Wars mashup group! Her and I already had ours made, so we got about six others to join in! I’m a sucker for a good mashup cosplay and a group is even better. It’s amazing how creative everyone got with their designs. (Sith Tinkerbell- @airpotatolives, Jedi Pocahontas @epyradoes, Jasmine Solo @thelollibunny, Moana Rey @j9lives, Jedi Ariel @moxxishenanigans, Jedi Snow White @erikacosplay, Jedi Belle @dream_bane, Photos by @mykey2lyfe_creations)


In addition to your solo cosplays, you're teamed up with Jason Keith for Cosplay World. Could you tell us more about your involvement with Cosplay World and what it's like to be a part of that creative endeavor?


I have to humbly brag about this man and say how proud I am of him! Jason and his team do the work of maybe 40 people to put this convention together and you can tell they really love and enjoy the passion that comes with cosplay. I do not have a huge role in Cosplay World, but I do try my best to promote it and spread the word to my cosplay community in hopes that they would like to participate in the fun! I’m kind of the unofficial hype girl for it! I also do my best to make sure everyone gets fed and stays hydrated! I sponsored the green room at the Cosplay World year one and it was definitely appreciated amongst the guests!

When it comes to crafting your cosplays, are there specific materials or techniques that you particularly enjoy working with? Any favorites that you believe add a unique touch to your creations?

I can’t sew, so velcro and hot glue are my best friends. However, my favorite thing to do to add depth to my cosplays is weathering! I did a whole panel on little tips and tricks to weather and shared some secrets people use on television/movie sets to age clothing faster. I’ve dipped fabric in coffee, tea, rubbed dirt on it, cut it, burned it, baked it, ran over it with my Kia, YOU NAME IT!


As an experienced cosplayer, you must have picked up some valuable tips and tricks along the way. Do you have a few tips or insights for fellow cosplayers, especially those looking to enhance their crafting skills or presentation?


Don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out to another cosplayer! I’ve been to conventions all across the country (I’m counting about 10 states so far) and I have never met a cosplayer who didn’t want to share their process in how they put their cosplay or prop together. There’s also a ton of resources online (YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook) where people will share their tutorials and tips for putting something together. Also, don’t be afraid to suck at first. I literally had no idea what I was doing the first time I showed up at a con in a red and blue workout outfit, spray painted sneakers and some bracers dressed as Wonder Woman. You get better with your craft the more you practice!


J9lives

Cosplay photography is an art in itself. You have had the privilege of working with some incredible Photographers who have captured your character perfectly with amazing photos. Do you have any tips or advice for cosplayers looking to capture the best photos of their cosplays and create engaging content?


Definitely do your research on your photographer! Be familiar with their specific style before reaching out. If they’ve never shot cosplay photography before, it may be a little difficult to bring your vision to life. Have reference photos! ALWAYS! There’s only a handful of photographers (two of them I work with) that are huge nerds and research the characters before a shoot to make the process smoother. Oh and bring a friend if you’re meeting the photographer for the first time! ALWAYS!

Beyond the creative aspect, how has cosplaying influenced your personal growth and life outside the cosplay world? Are there any valuable lessons or skills you've gained from your journey?


Ok take this one with a little grain of salt. This community has people of ALL ages and all levels of maturity. You may run into one or two bad eggs that are in cosplay for the wrong reasons or feel as if they have some claim to a character because they look like them or have a more accurate cosplay OR have more followers (which about 47% of the time, they paid for their followers.) Maybe I’m a little jaded, seeing as how I deal with life and death on a daily basis with my job and have a better sense of what's important in life, but I don’t have time for all of that nonsense. I cosplay because it makes me happy. It’s good for my mental health and my form of self-expression. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to become friends with so many other cosplayers who do the same. I guess the lesson is this; if it causes you stress and takes away your joy, let it go and move on. That tip can be used in both cosplay and everyday life!

For those who are just starting their cosplay journey or considering taking their first step, what advice or words of wisdom would you share with them based on your own experiences and growth as a cosplayer?


Don’t overcomplicate it, just show up and have fun! That’s exactly what I did and still do!

j9lives creative cosplays magazine

Janine, it's been a delightful journey exploring your cosplay world. We appreciate your insights and vibrant energy. Before we wrap up, is there anything you'd like to say to our readers, and could you please share where they can follow and support your fantastic cosplay adventures online?


I’m mostly on Instagram and try to post my updates on there!

My handle is @j9lives and J9 Lives Cosplay on Facebook.

Thank you so much!



If you want to check out more of J9lives amazing work and others, grab your copy of Creative Cosplays Magazine Winter 2023 issue.


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