Lizette is a special education teacher in New York who loves to cosplay and is a fan of anime, comics, and anything else pop culture. She has been cosplaying since 2006. She shared her love and appreciation of anime and Sailor Moon with me while answering my questions regarding her life and her love of cosplay.
Lauren W: Do you consider yourself a geek, and if so what fandoms do you enjoy other than cosplaying?
Lizette Johnson: Yes, I consider myself a HUGE geek. I love all things pop culture. I’m a big anime/animation fan as well as a comic book geek. Japanese anime is my big geekdom. I’ve loved it as far back as I can remember, Voltron being one of the first anime I watched religiously.
LW: How did you learn about cosplaying and what made you want to take part in it?
LJ: A friend of mine begged me to come to an anime convention in North Carolina back in 2006 called Animazement. I finally caved in and went. When I saw so many people dressed in costumes of some of my favorite animes I literally lost my mind! I loved it, and from then on I knew I had to get dressed up for any convention that I went to. It went from just doing 1 costume to doing 2-3 now if it is a 4 day con like NYCC. I will dress up all four days. I love the attention, I love taking pictures, and I love it when people recognize my character.
LW: Has any conventions or cosplaying experiences stood out to you as your favorite, and what made it your favorite?
LJ: I would say Animazement because it is also known as a very heavy Sailor Moon convention and that was I cosplayed as Dark Sailor Mercury from the live action Sailor Moon. People were truly impressed with how the outfit came out (thanks to my seamstress Terryann Harding of Un-Re Designs). People were amazed on how I pulled it off (I’m only 5 feet tall) and it has easily been that one cosplay that anyone who meets me or sees me online recognizes me from. Plus, when I got back to NY, this is the cosplay that got me knocked up. I found out I was pregnant a month later.
LW: When you aren’t cosplaying at conventions, what do you do for a living and what are your other hobbies?
LJ: I am a special education teacher for the NYC Department of Education during the day. My night and weekend job is a personal trainer/group exercise instructor/Zumba instructor/kickboxing instructor. My hobbies other than watching anime include working out, karaoke, and playing baseball.
LW: Some cosplayers that become famous or professional cosplayers use a nickname instead of their own in association to their craft. Do you have one or prefer to use your own name?
LJ: I usually tell people my name but I also go by Sailor Xtasy (my other persona). It doesn’t matter to me.
LW: What are your thoughts on professional cosplayers? Do you oppose this idea, or would you like to become one?
LJ: I like the idea of being a professional cosplayer but my first love will always be teaching. I cosplay as a hobby and if I pick up some extra cash on the side by modeling for a photographer I wouldn’t mind at all. I think professional cosplayers are great if I was making my own stuff, but since I pay someone I choose to keep it as a hobby.
LW: So it’s clear you are a huge fan of Sailor Moon. Who would you say is your favorite character? Also, do you enjoy the manga, old anime, or new anime more?
LJ: I’m such a huge fan of Sailor Moon that my wedding is a Sailor Moon theme from the wedding dress to the decorations and the cake. I can definitely relate to the main character/heroine of the story, Usagi/Sailor Moon. I am a crybaby and klutz who is very loyal to my friends and will do anything and everything in my power to protect them and my family. I love the manga, the old school anime, and I am REALLY loving the new anime which is based off the manga!
LJ: It depends on the voice actors. Like, I hate the American voice actors for Naruto Shippuden, but I love the voice actors for Full Metal Alchemist and Bleach. Right now I’m watching Fairy Tail. I love the voices in English as I’m getting used to the Japanese. But my hubby won’t watch anything subtitled; he prefers dubbed. I’ve been watching anime for over 20 years. I still have VHS straight from Japan. I’ve learned certain Japanese words because of the subtitles. I just know how to read quickly and watch the action at the same time.
LW: Are there any other characters you would cosplay from sailor moon or any other anime?
LJ: I’ve done Princess Sailor Moon (live action), Sakura from Naruto Shippuden, Chun Li from Street Fighter, Nel from Bleach, and a Vizard from Bleach. I am currently working on a top secret Sailor Moon cosplay for this NYCC which is based off of a villain. I am also working on Kurama (the nine tailed fox from Naruto Shippuden), Vulpix from Pokemon, and I would love to do Lucy and/or Erza from Fairy Tail and Blair the Witch from Soul Eater.