We admit we do keep an eye on the cosplay scene—as a magazine famous for our cover heroines and the immortal Taarna, witnessing modern-day real-life badass costumed crusaders at conventions just seems like prophecy fulfilled. One pretty famous cosplayer we’ve been following recently piqued our curiosity with a Facebook post about a TV interview, tagged #CosplayCandidate.
Cara Nicole Trujillo, well known to cosplay fans and convention-goers as AZ Powergirl, is running for a seat in the House of Representatives in her home state of Arizona. We had to find out more about Cara and her very bold adventure.
First things first—you’re pretty famous as a cosplayer, and you’ve been doing it awhile now. How did you get into it?
Thanks! I have never strived to be famous. I compare it to actors, some get into it to be famous, some get into it to be working. I would be the latter. I started for charity. I answered a call for people in the local community to dress up and do events to raise funds and visit children’s hospitals. It was very rewarding and I didn’t know it was called cosplay until months after already doing it.
You’re specifically known for doing such a great Power Girl. What drew you to that character?
It was an Alex Ross painting I saw that inspired me. The raw power and heroism of it was really appealing and what I like the most about her character is that she isn’t perfect; she struggles with her flaws and does her best to overcome them while being a hero.
What are some favorite non-Powergirl characters you’ve done? What do you like about each of them?
Black Cat has always been one of my favorite characters ever since I was a young comic book reader. She’s fun, attractive and kind of an anti-hero. And sure, she does some questionable stuff but a girl’s got to make a living, right?
Wonder Woman. Who doesn’t love Wonder Woman? However, I won’t be using the bathroom in the invisible jet.
Jason Voorhees. I’m an old school horror fan and I look good with a machete.
What inspired you to get into politics?
I was introduced to the world of Family Court a few years back. I was horrified with the number of fathers being ruined financially and emotionally while simultaneously being kept from their children. The more I got involved, the more I heard the stories from both men and women about having their family lives destroyed just so lawyers and the legal system can make a buck. In doing research about it, I joined with Michael Espinoza and Arizona Family Rights to help equalized parenting legislation in the state. I have also made some very good friends of local legislators and other political figures who have encouraged me to be more active.
After I recognized how I live in this “alleged” Republican state, I started noticing that our current and very own state legislatures and other elected officials really do not live-up to that “Republican” standard, let alone conservative or even liberal. It just appears to be a special-interest government concerned with 1. building more private prisons; 2. supporting multiple school platforms; 3. dark money; 4. constant increases in public utility cost; 5. a CPS (Child Protective Services) that is completely in disarray. And there’s concern about civil asset forfeiture issues, and the State mandating how cities should be governed—which I find ironic considering how our State legislatures complain about federal “Big Brother.”
I realized as a Republican State, we are not a true Conservative State, and many people are frustrated with our government being so expansive over individuals. I think it is time to push re-start, set the compass again, and get government back into the hands of the people. I want to be a part of that process.
Are you affiliated with a party, or do you identify with one?
I champion people’s ability to choose something other than Red or Blue. I personally feel that I identify with the Green Party and am running under that. But I often ponder, how many people are actually aligned with the Blue or Red, or better yet, is the Blue and Red actually aligned with us? I think both Parties have strayed from their constituency and have been more interested in dark money and big-government mentality.
What are your policies on current issues… Immigration?
Here is my problem with immigration. We, on the state level, are yelling at each other about immigration, which really is not a state issue, we have to follow Federal procedures. However, both parties have had in excess of five decades to cure the alleged immigration problem, but have specifically chosen not to. With that being said, although there are varying position on immigration, my focus is on local issues; how to promote more small business growth, building strong families, working on resolving CPS issues, get state government, when not needed, out of city government. Those are issues which need to be addressed on a State level, and my opinions will stay focused on state issues right now.
Legalization of marijuana?
Legalization of marijuana solves many problems. It creates good paying jobs that take people away from the welfare system and on the path to security and stability. It takes people out of the jails and prisons saving the government quite a bit of money. That’s just the beginning. Industrial hemp could be a huge industry that would give us renewable resources rather than cutting down trees that take many years to regrow. The medicinal properties alone are worth its legalization. For those that believe that marijuana leads to harder drugs—it leads to gardening, baking, holistic medicine, carpentry, glass blowing, and so much more. I would also prefer that we keep our money in the United States instead of sending it to other countries through criminal cartels.
I would like to see everyone have access to good health care, not just have health insurance. I know many people who have a credit card sized piece of paper in their wallet that they pay monthly for yet never actually get to see a doctor when they are sick or can’t afford the medication when they do.
I am a firm believer that gay people should have the right to lose half of their stuff in a divorce just like everyone else. Kidding aside, I would like to see the government out of our romantic unions altogether.
We all have to pay our taxes. I understand and respect that. It’s how we care for our roads, schools, military, police, firemen, etc. I believe that many times our government officials forget that tax money is collected off the backs of our hard working citizens. Taxes should be spent responsibly and with care. It’s not just endless funds to be used recklessly. Those in positions of spending should be doing everything they can to work within a budget and maximize our tax dollars. No more wasteful spending. When we create new programs, work existing programs, and distribute funds, we need a way to measure such success when releasing funds for said programs.
We need to ensure the people feel like they are not spending 1 billion dollars for education with no success in educating our kids because the funding is going to multiple different agencies and departments, who start fighting each other for those funds, and ultimately our children pay the cost. I really want to bring back taxation with representation.
Speak to your potential constituents for a second—what are their concerns and how will you address them?
Outside of the topics already discussed, Arizona residents are worried about education. Our teachers are some of the lowest-paid in the nation with a high student to teacher ratio. We rank 47th in the nation on a recent poll. Our schools are underfunded to the point where some of the poorest neighborhoods have had to switch to a four-day school week. This not only takes away from the education of the children but also puts a burden on the families who now have to supplement with daycare (many times they use government funded daycare which just passes the buck). Some families have resorted to moving away from those schools, which receive funding per student, causing even bigger financial problems.
We definitely have a need to pay educators more. We should be maximizing the school day. Yes, kids should be able to have fun. Especially the young ones. We want them to enjoy being there, but when they spend their days watching Disney movies and eating cupcakes it becomes glorified daycare at a time where learning the basics is critical. We may also benefit from investing in programs that educate parents so families as a whole can help themselves improve.
A lot of people believe in just throwing more money at the problem. I would definitely take a hard line against legislation which aims to tax more from the community without first specifically addressing where and how those funds would go to improve the schools and making sure the money doesn’t miss the teachers in the shuffle.
People are also concerned about various acts of the state attempting to influence how cities do things. I.e., the gun lobbyists were successful in preventing cities from destroying guns they have in their possession based on the city’s police work. The state did not like it, and prevented cities from destroying these weapons. Look, cites, within the constraints of the Arizona Constitution, should be given broad range to govern as the people of that city want them to. So, if one city wants to lure the LGBT community over from another city, fine. If one city wants to promote non-gun violence over others, fine. If another city wants to promote gun safety, fine. However, many times, it’s not for the State to regulate when the cities have their own government in place.
Next, we really need to look at civil forfeiture laws, and the public utilities which fall under the ACC. It appears many of these private institutions are using their government contacts to stymie new and emerging business opportunities, and that has to stop.
There’s a special artist in your life, you’ve modeled for him, shared booths at cons, etc. What’s the nature and extent of your collaborations?
Artist Alfred Trujillo. He draws and I color. He takes photos and I pose. And he makes some great coffee! I mean, Batman has an Alfred and I wanted one too.
Are you working on any cosplays we might see in the near future? And what events or cons do you have on the schedule?
I have just finished a Psylocke, which I’m premiering at C2E2 this weekend. I’ll be at booth I8 in Artists’ Alley—stop by and see me!
Next up I want to do a couple variations of Harley Quinn, a Seven of Nine and some other stuff that if I tell ya I’d have to tax ya. I kid. Maybe.
As for my convention schedule, I’m planning to attend Salt Lake Comic Con, Emerald City Comicon, El Paso Comic Con, Cheyenne Comic Con, Phoenix Comic Con, Smallville Comicon, Denver Comicon, San Diego Comic Con, Baltimore Comic Con, Rose City Comicon, New York Comicon, Tucson Comicon, Phoenix Fanfest, and Great American Comicon Las Vegas.
You know, you would make an amazing Taarna, the Valkyrie-like heroine of the Heavy Metal movie from 1982. Are you familiar with her, and what are the chances we’ll see you in a Taarna cosplay someday?
Taarna is a badass. Couldn’t save the city but she did avenge it. I will do my best to make it happen!