We had a chance to catch up with cosplayer and NASA nerd Soni Aralynn at Boston Comic Con 2017.
Soni Aralynn is an avid astrophysics enthusiast, NASA nerd and old school WWE fan. In addition to all those great things, she’s also one of the sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing. With an easy-going attitude, great sense of humor and heaps of enthusiasm, it was really easy to jump into a conversation with this long-time cosplayer.
AiPT!: Tell us a little about yourself – where you’re from and how you like to spend your time when you aren’t cosplaying.
Soni Aralynn: My name is Soni Aralynn, I’m from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and I started cosplaying in 2003. When I’m not cosplaying I like to watch a lot of astronomy documentaries and really anything that has to do with astrophysics. I spend a lot of my time watching Netflix, Hulu and whatever else I can get my hands on that covers those subjects.
AiPT!: Do you have any rituals you follow when you arrive in a new city for a convention? Whether it be shopping, a good restaurant or something regarding the local culture?
Aralynn: When I get into a city that I’ve never been in before I always like to go a day early, that way I don’t have to rush the day of the convention. It’s always about food for me *laughs*. What’s the iconic place to go eat? Whether it be donuts, burgers, whatever. I gotta go to that place! The rest of the weekend is whatever I may have time for, but the first day, it’s definitely about finding a good place to eat.
AiPT!: What’ve you found to eat in Boston that’s good?
Aralynn: Everyone tells me Boston’s a really good seafood spot, but I don’t like seafood!
AiPT!: You’ve been cosplaying for over 10 years and you’ve met countless different people during that time. What’s the most surreal interaction you’ve had through cosplay that’s made you stop and think, “is this really happening right now”?
Aralynn: Hmmm that’s a good question. I love Stargate, I have a Stargate tattoo on my neck. Teal’c (Christopher Judge) from Stargate SG-1 was at San Diego Comic-Con at his booth. I made my brother go talk to him first because I was nervous. He was tall as s--t! It seemed like he was seven feet tall *laughs*. He told me I reminded him of his daughter and it was such a cool experience.
AiPT!: Your Nikki Bella cosplay is toooooo sweeeeeeet. I’m a huge WWE fan and I have to say I did a double take when I first saw your cosplay of Nikki, you nearly fooled me into thinking you were her. How long have you been a wrestling fan?
Aralynn: I’ve been a wrestling fan for a long time, since I was a kid. The Undertaker was my favorite growing up. I remember watching the Pay Per View where Owen Hart fell from the rafters and being so confused when the camera randomly cut away from the ring to the crowd. Everyone looked so upset and concerned, it was so heartbreaking.
AiPT!: Fellow NASA fan here. I’d love to hear more about your passion for space exploration and astrophysics.
Aralynn: What attracted me to the area initially was experiencing something that puts you into a mental space, where you come to this realization that you’re so small compared to the rest of what else is out there. It’s fascinating to me that we have the potential to explore outer space, the stars and possibly find other life. I love that the possibilities of what we could encounter are endless. The idea that we have to develop in science to a point where we can travel fast enough to reach these places is so cool to me.
It’s almost a stress reliever. When I watch documentaries and specials on NASA, astrophysics and the like, it makes everything else melt away because of how fascinating it is to me. It makes your bullshit seem like nothing when you understand there’s a star out there exploding that’s bigger than our solar system.
AiPT!: Were you a fan of Interstellar?
Aralynn: That was the film with the guy who goes “Alright, alright, alright,” right?
AiPT!: *laughs* (Her impression was spot on) That was really good! And yes it was the “Alright, alright, alright” guy, Matthew McConaughey.
Aralynn: So back to the question *laughs*. In the beginning of the film, I was really into it because of all the exploration of the unknown and the science involved with that. Once they got to the scenes toward the end it started to get a little hokey for me and I wasn’t enjoying it as much.
AiPT!: You have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Pateron and Twitch. All of which are great avenues to communication with your fans and the cosplay community. Which of these methods do you enjoy the most and why?
Aralynn: Live Instagram is always so much fun. It’s like story time with my fans and it’s so easy to do. I also feel like I can be more frank because it’s not saving what’s happening, once it’s over it’s gone forever. I like the freedom to be able to do whatever I want and know it’s gone the second the moment has passed. Being candid with my fans is important to me.
AiPT!: As someone who’s been cosplaying for well over 10 years now, you’ve seen the drastic growth and change the cosplay community has experienced. With the media spotlight so often on the attractive women in cosplay, do you worry that the wrong picture is being painted for people who aren’t familiar with the scene?
Aralynn: It’s not any different in my opinion than seeing a film or movie star being Googled and having the first thing that pops up being them in a sexy outfit like lingerie. Everyone knows there’s more to those people than that, but that’s what the focus is put on. You have to extend that to cosplayers. People in this industry model, it’s part of how this works.
I have a big fan that has kids and he’s told me that my portrayal of characters are appropriate for his 8-year-old. I’m not sitting here splaying my legs open saying “look at me,” I’m playing a character. As a person, it’s OK for me to be comfortable with my sexuality and to share that. That applies to whether you’re a male or female in my opinion. Obviously, there’s a line you shouldn’t cross with what children see.
So do I think it’s bad? No, I don’t. It’s very clearly what the people want and there’s a lot more to it than lingerie shoots. There’s a lot more work that goes into this than people realize. Hours worth of time and effort are spent bringing characters like Sombra to life. I like to think I’m showing fans the best of both worlds.
AiPT!: Four months left in the year. What’re you most looking forward to in what remains of 2017?
Aralynn: New York Comic Con! I’m hosting a cosplay cruise. I always love the cosplay cruise and there’s such an amazing line-up this year.
Here’s where you can find Soni Aralynn online:
Facebook – sonilovesyoutoo
Instagram – @soniaralynn
Twitter – @SoniAralynn
Patreon – pateron.com/soniaralynn
Twitch – twitch.tv/soniaralynn
Youtube – sentaisuperchick
Store – soniaralynn.bigcartel.com