In her first trip to Australia, Senior Community Manager for upcoming game Marvel’s Avengers and international cosplay Supa-Star, Meagan Marie, stood on stage as Mera from Aquaman in Adelaide for a fan Q&A.
Dressed head-to-toe in foam armour, she was excited to chat about the fun and creative hobby of cosplay, charity work, her love of Tomb Raider and the very warm and welcoming community that is ‘Geekdom’.
Career and hobbies
“I’ve worked in the video game industry for 10+ years. [I’m] a Senior Community Manager on the Tomb Raider franchise [and] I got my start at Game Informer magazine. I’ve written a couple of books in the last two years and I’m also a game accessibility advocate. I’ve been cosplaying since 2005; I’ve made over 100 costumes, which has surprised even me. I work a lot at conventions. I have a cosplay charity program called the Cosplay Shop, when we go to an event, we ask the company what local charity they’d like to support so today every penny goes to the Guide Dog Association.”
Breaking into the industry
“I wanted to be Lara Croft when I was 12 and then I realised that wasn’t a job. Once I realised that I knew I wanted to get into the industry, I subscribed to Game Informer magazine for a long time. I guess I was ambitious and had on my MySpace page ‘Future Game Informer Editor’, so one [Game Informer employee] reached out to me because they had a position open and said, ‘Do you want to apply?’ And I did.
“I stayed up all night mock reviewing Dirge of Cerberus and my interview went really well. But they called me and said, ‘We love you, but none of us have graduated college because we all went straight into this job, and we would just feel awful if we pulled you out of school.’ I was balling. I lost my chance to work in the industry.
“The day I graduated I applied again, and I kept bugging them and they ended up finding me a position for me within a couple of weeks. I really pushed to make it happened. Eventually, I wrote the cover story for the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, and that’s how I met the Crystal Dynamics team. They asked me if I wanted to join the team because they saw my Tomb Raider shrine at my desk and knew how passionate I was and how much I loved the community, so it all worked out.”
Writing Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play
“After I wrote 20 Years of Tomb Raider, I pitched [Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play] very enthusiastically; so, they asked if I wanted to write it. I literally didn’t even know that was an option. It was simultaneously so exciting and terrifying. We focused on highlighting women around the world in very diverse roles, game designers and programmers and more traditional things, but then we also highlighted brand marketing, community, professional gamers; there’s even a GameStop store manager in there. So, all the women that make the industry run, and [we] showcase all the different options there are for people that work in gaming.”
How a character can be inspirational
“I get to say Lara Croft is my college. I have these moments where Lara Croft was so influential to me growing up, and she inspired me in so many ways to do so many things. When someone said that I wasn’t tough enough to do something, she always inspired me to push myself even if I wasn’t interested in something.
“Someone said I wasn’t tough enough to play rugby so I joined a team and played for four years. Lara was a great inspiration to my growth. Growing up and getting to work at a company where I get to influence her future is pretty crazy. That doesn’t get lost on me.”
Cosplay and connecting with people
“You’re wearing your geek card on your sleeve. If you put in the time and energy to build a costume, people know that you’re a fan so you can run up and instantly bond with people. I found no matter where you are in the world, geeks get each other. Even if you speak different languages you can connect instantly with people.”
Her mother’s cosplay
“[My mom] was mortified to dress-up but I put her in a Star Trek TOS dress. It was an easy start-up costume. She was so embarrassed at first and then by the end of her first convention day she was already planning her next costume she wanted to wear. So, fast forward a handful of years, she’s retired so she has a little more time than me, but she’s texting me, ‘Where are you at with Mera? I’m done with Atlanta, make sure you get everything done in time.’ I was like, ‘Mom! You are retired, that’s not fair.'”
Cosplaying video game characters
“I think people tend to feel a little more connected to the game characters because it is something that they’ve embodied; they’ve gone on a journey, they’ve been in control of. I definitely started to do more gaming-related costumes before I branched out into movies and comics because I felt that connection.”
Revealing Marvel’s Avengers at E3
“We’d been working on [Marvel’s Avengers] for a long time from behind the scenes, so it was really amazing to finally announce it. The personal highlight for me was at New York Comic-Con, announcing Kamala Kahn. She’s such a new fresh character, so that was two things about the public campaign I’ve been so excited about.”
Lead image: Meagan Marie at Supanova 2019 – Adelaide. Photo by Steven Yee.