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Conversations with Britni McNeill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Britni McNeill.

Hi Britni, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Ever since I was a kid, I have always been very creative and in love with cartoons, anime, video games and comics of any kind. I have an older brother who sort of introduced it all to me and we always bonded over those types of things. By the time I reached high school, I got into acting and makeup and my brother introduced me to yet another creative outlet that I had never heard of before that combined all of those elements into a fun and “nerdy” atmosphere–cosplay! He introduced me to conventions and I instantly fell in love. I never realized there was such a concept as getting to dress up like it’s Halloween, but you can do it any time of year! It was such a fun hobby that I instantly dove into and created lifelong friendships through. I partnered up with an amazing lady–Liz–who was my “cosplay partner” and best friend of more than ten years now (time flies!) and for a few years, we were Sonicat Cosplay. We attended conventions as guests, as well as charity events. It was such a fun and rewarding hobby to have and to be able to share it with your best friend felt like an extra sprinkle of awesome!

We still cosplay together and we still call ourselves Sonicat Cosplay, but we’ve also managed to find our own niches in the hobby and spread our wings into the avenues we are separately more passionate about which is what leads us up to now. We work as partners as well as individually on our own platforms to share what we are passionate about. Friends supporting friends! Cosplay fueled my creativity and gave me a chance to bond with other people that we’re into the same things I was. I ended up attending college for acting and makeup as I grew more and more passionate about it. That sort of helped me grow as a cosplayer learning different techniques in my education, and it gave me the tools to polish and learn more about dressing up and becoming different characters. I now have my own individual Instagram page that I share any and all forms of creativity from cosplay to makeup to wig styling. I love what I do and I enjoy learning more every day about how to get better at it and express my passion on a social media platform!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I think every artist can agree that it can be tough to be an artist, haha. There’s always that bumpy start where nothing is polished and you’re still really learning the trade. Most of the time, I look back at a lot of my cosplays and just see everything I could fix to be better, but I feel like we are all our own worst critics! Being in the cosplay community has had its ups and downs. When there’s a large group of people there’s always drama to be had–whether you’re involved or not–and all you can do is try to keep yourself above the water and stay positive! I think the pros outweigh the cons and recently, I have felt nothing but support from every angle which means a lot to me as I try to get myself out there! I am grateful for the people out there who continually cheer me on, it definitely encourages me when I’m having those harsh self-critique days. I would say I’m still not out of the rough waters for both acting and cosplaying. It’s so tough to beat these social media algorithms that fight against you trying to get your work seen and finding the right hashtags to use or the right platforms to share content on. However, that is part of the journey and eventually, we all hit our stride. It’s all about resilience and getting back up when you feel like you’ve been knocked down!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As I stated before, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for acting. I spend a lot of my time trying to get myself into more projects that can build a good reel, just as any actor does once they hit the world. I have a day job, but I try to work toward reaching my dreams! I think however, I am most known locally for my cosplay. I’ve done it for many years and have spent a lot of my free time at conventions, charity events and parties dressing up! I use a lot of what I learned in school and apply it to my cosplay. I really got into makeup and wig styling which I have used a lot. I think that is mostly what I am known for within my cosplay, as well as my Marvel Black Cat cosplay which I think most people know me by if they know me as a cosplayer! I think it’s such a funny question to answer when thinking about what sets me apart from others. There’s no real way to not come off cocky, haha. I do think a lot of my passion for makeup, wig styling and attention to detail really translates into my cosplay and sets it apart from other people. I am far from perfect or the best, but I definitely strive to learn more and polish what I do!

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Just have fun! Being creative is such a rewarding trait to possess and doing things like acting or cosplaying is just another way to escape reality for a bit and focus on something that you enjoy. Back when I first started out and even now, I am guilty of worrying about what others think of me and that will always lead to our mental downfall! Just be your best you, have fun and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help from people more experienced than you! There is always room for suggestions and more information on how you can elevate your art! I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is don’t let yourself stand in your own way. We miss out on so many opportunities when we are too scared to grab them, so never hesitate or second guess yourself. Jump in and have a blast!

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Image Credits
Photosnxs James Legion

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