jessica merizan


What if I told you those judgmental Doctor Who cosplayers were plants? That Syfy told them they needed to cause drama with some of the cast so it would be a more interesting competition?

That’s not true, but you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? Because guess what, you want to demonize a dumb reality show. It’s A REALITY SHOW. Not only that, but it’s a show that somehow manages to showcase both the negative AND positive sides of cosplay. None of that shit was scripted; Jessica and Riki were both sick out of their minds, Becky DID go to the hospital (in fact, you can see the producer in one of the shots). But also, Jesse and I won fair and square and had a blast doing it. Holly and Jessica did teach me how to work with foam. Monika and I bonded over all the exhaustion and misery and video games.

Look, guys. I would never stand by Syfy if they did something atrocious. I signed a contract, but that’s not signing away my soul.

Syfy didn’t tell the Doctor Who girls they needed to cause drama. It happened all by itself because of three things:

  1. People don’t like things like TV shows invading their small community (understandable).
  2. People don’t like when the odds are stacked against them in a way that feels unfair (though the cast entirely made their own costumes and paid for almost everything). Either way, they won something.
  3. Cosplayers tend to tear down their own kind when they feel threatened. All people do. Especially the cosplay community, though, as I’ve noticed A LOT on Tumblr during the airing of this show.

Originally I wasn’t going to write up a post, but this has been building and building and I can’t stand it anymore. I was mad when it happened, and I’m mad now.

The way it started was that someone from the audience identified my friends as “Syfy plants”. I’ll let Jessica tell the story through a post she wrote up on our secret cast Facebook group. She didn’t intend for this to be seen by anyone, in fact, she wanted to let it go. But I’m not comfortable with this kind of bullshit. It’s takes A LOT to make me this upset, but these girls were cruel.

“The stuff that girl wrote when she was summarizing, not throwing around blame, was pretty accurate. Someone did shout something out from the audience. They cheered. I think Becky (?) asked them why they would cheer or something really Disney Princess and then that girl got all aggro and said that line that you can read her lips, ‘You’re not even from Kansas City’ and all the other things that she pointed out in her message. Holly mentioned that we spent [a buttload of money] shipping things here and that we worked really hard blah blah and they said they only go to one convention every year. Then I said Steven Moffat would be ashamed [that they were being so catty]. Then that’s when Holly said how dare they make this about not having fun and all that, then that’s when the mean girl did her hand thing. Then Becky was crying and Holly hugged her and we gave each other death glares for the rest of the night.

Then Chloe and I later had a really forced heart to heart with them which ended in a really forced group hug with the hand girl whispering, 'Just drop it’ in my ear." 

For the record, I had approached these ladies before the competition because I’m a huge Whovian and loved their cosplays. I complimented them, took pics with them, hung out with them. So since I’d bonded with them, I felt pretty hurt to see them turn on their fellow nerds. Especially my friends, who’d been through fucking HELL trying to get their costumes together in time, and Becky who’d all but lost her vision because she’d fallen asleep with contacts in (thanks to exhaustion).

So to those ladies trying to blame their BS on the show: You can’t edit something in that wasn’t said, and the show portrayed you just as you were. After the show, I started bawling, because it was devastating to me to see how these girls treated outsiders. To be fair, the severe lack of sleep and recovering from that week’s surgery didn’t help.

I hope you felt like a hero defending your con- because you did to us what we all fear the most. You singled us out and turned us into outcasts… The opposite of how a convention should feel.

P.S. No one can make you sign a waiver. It was their choice to appear on the show.

I'm done.

I wrote something with rationalizations, justifications, and defenses against misinformation but deleted it, because I realized it doesn’t really matter. What does is how I feel: my perspective has changed after this week on the world of cosplay. I will keep doing “make believe” costumes and encouraging kids (+those at heart) to follow their imaginations, but I’m out as far as everything else goes. No thanks. 

It probably would have been easier if everyone was just personally attacking me since that’s easy to ignore, but it’s that PLUS my friends and professionals who are amazing and hardworking, ethical people. Flawed? Yes. But do you want me to throw stones at your glass house?

My mom just survived cancer (again). I’ve gone to more funerals than I have weddings. My childhood was spent watching people I loved suffer through addiction, prostitution, jail, child protective services, abuse. I personally experienced things that are too triggering for me to talk about. 

And seeing all of this, that’s where I’m at. I don’t even want to go on my Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr anymore. Literally, panic attacks. And, I always tell people, “When it stops being fun, stop doing it." 

I couldn’t even get 100 shares when I (against better judgement lest it gets plagiarized) posted an excerpt of my research that inspired the Peter Pan costumes. That’s what people claimed they wanted right? Process? Fun? But when they get it? Oh… sorry. There’s some drama happening, better re-post that instead. But don’t do that on the TV show because that’s not real.

I’m tired of traditional cosplay. You can find me in the world of the Never Never Land. If that’s where you want to be, you know how to get there.

I love you. Let’s never fight again.


Cosplay: Morrigan

Cosplayer: Jessica Merizan

Cosplay: Inquisitor

Cosplayer: Holly Conrad

From: Dragon Age: Inquisition

2014 © Photographs By: Brian Lee Flores


For our Ottowa Pop Expo Skeksis costume, we made a special themed behind-the-scenes progress notebook with fabric swatches, progress photos, and our lore of our original design “SkekCrab the Couturier” (we did a lot of research on the Dark Crystal Universe and surmised that ours was one of four Skeksis that existed but were never seen or named). This was truly a labor of love for me and Holly and I brought this book for the judges to see :) Now you can take a peek too! This has been my favorite costume we’ve ever done. I’ll never forget the experience.

Any money we win on Heroes of Cosplay is donated to charity, this was also cut out of the episode tonight! We don’t do this to win money or prizes or fame or glory or anything stupid, we do it for fun and to encourage and inspire creativity. You don’t have to believe me when I say this, but remember a positive and encouraging outlook on life is way, way more productive than a negative one. :)


via @DragonAge on Twitter

Vivienne’s voice actress Indira Varma & @jessicamerizan rebuke Vivenne writer @BioMaryKirby in true Orlesian fashion

The picturesque design of Kensington Gardens, though artificially constructed and shaped by culture, is perhaps the aspect making it appear as a timeless reminder of the resilience of nature. This nature/culture structure is also one of the key themes within the Peter Pan ethos. In the literature, the reader is confronted by perpetual youth (Peter, being described as wearing only “autumn leaves and cobwebs” for clothing) while his companions grow older and their progeny become Peter’s new playmates for a time (Cordner 1995: 97). This can be reflected within the public nature of the gardens, where generations bring their family to experience the joy of Kensington as they once remembered it. For Barrie, his exploration of this tension would touch upon the inevitability of death: “The sense of lost, eternal youth had been implanted in him irreversibly at the age of 6, when his elder brother David (his mother’s favorite child) was killed in a skating accident on the eve of his fourteenth birthday. ‘When I became a man,’ he wrote later in Margaret Ogilvy, ‘he was still a boy of thirteen’ ” (Cordner 1995: xxii). This preoccupation with death was further translated onto the landscape, in Barrie’s interpretation of the parish boundary stones delineating between Paddington and St George Hannover Square parishes as “tombstones of lost children” or more specifically the lost boys, said to find Neverland after falling out of their prams (Cordner 1995: 313). There is a clear division in his plays, as well as upon visiting Kensington Gardens, between time halted and continued. Andrew Birkin further argues that through his interaction with the Llewelyn Davies children in their exploration of Kensington Gardens, the after-life of dead children is transfigured into the setting of Never Never Land, “a child’s paradise, haven of the Lost Boys, abounding in such pleasures designed to gratify a boy’s appetite for blood. Such visions of delight led George to make the not unnatural declaration, ‘To die will be an awfully big adventure’ “ (Birkin 2003: 69). This assertion became possibly the most memorable quote from the Peter Pan narrative.

Tonight’s finale of Heroes of Cosplay shows the conclusion of our Peter Pan costumes and people have been asking me about the premise and inspiration. It was based on interpretive work I did during my MA research at University College London looking at material culture, mortality, and landscape through the lens of phenomenology. However, Chloe so cleverly summed up my inspiration for a costume art house piece as “Peter Pan’s Labyrinth” (and it’s not discussed in the episode but you can see little nods to Guillermo del Toro symbolism weaved in all three of our costumes).  

Anyway, based on popular request, I included a brief excerpt from some of my research on Peter Pan. I’d like to revisit, revise, and publish all my work when I’m not doing a million other things!

I hope the quote piques your interest. I’d love to discuss my thoughts! For more reading on phenomenology, I’d recommend the professor I studied under, Christopher Tilley. For other interesting work interpreting Peter Pan and material culture, check out Laurie Wilkie’s “The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi”. 

I love cosplay not just for costume construction but for the vision, creativity and passion that goes into it. This was certainly another strange dream costume, but the weird ideas that stick with you are probably the ones that are going to make you cry on stage for reasons you can’t even properly articulate <3