Glamour, Glitter, and Jemcon: The Truly Outrageous Fans of Jem and the Holograms Part 2

Hello guys and dolls. It’s been awhile since NERDSociety has sat down to catch up with the truly outrageous fans of the Jem and the Holograms community. Part 1 was a look at the fantastic Milky Mixer, which can be read here. The interviews continue though and I hope to get more of these posted in the coming months. My goal for this series of interviews was always to showcase the awesome nature of Jem fans. Now dust off those earrings and shine with some glitter ‘n gold, because Part 2 in this exclusive series of interviews starts now!

NERDSociety: To begin with, could you please tell us your name and a little bit of basic information about you?

“Hi, I’m Chucky” – LOL. My name’s Omar. I’m currently 33 years old. I’m Indian-American.

NERDSociety: What are some of your earliest memories and impressions of Jem and the Holograms?

Omar: I watched a lot of TV while growing up, and I have sporadic memories, but the earliest memory that I have is of watching Scandal (Season 2, Episode 29.) Growing up, I must’ve missed season one completely, because as far as I knew, Raya and Jetta had always been part of the show. I vaguely remember the plot about Kimber’s diary, but then, it’s been nearly thirty years since.

NERDSociety: I can understand that, I do not know the exact first episode I saw, but I do actively recall watching the Hot Time in Hawaii episode. How have those memories and impressions changed or stayed the same over time?

Omar: A lot of my memories are sporadic, but I definitely remember myself being there- that is, sitting on the floor in front of the TV, watching pretty much whatever came on. People might wonder how I can remember a show like Bigfoot (which was part of Super Sunday) but not realize that Raya and Jetta came in season two. Chalk it up to my Swiss cheese memories from my childhood.

NERDSociety: I think that’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of things I recall being one way as a kid and then as we get older those holes get filled in! Let’s talk cosplay. You are no stranger to cosplay, please share with us your story regarding costume making and how you have managed to incorporate that into your life now.

Omar: I’ve always loved dressing in costumes, being someone else. As a child, I loved playing both in mini (with small figures and toys) as well as in maxi (actually dressing up as the character). As a child, a navy blue shirt and pants, coupled with my clip on tie and a corduroy beret, turned me into a police officer.

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Omar as Superman


Omar: I just took whatever I had and made it work. That trend has seemed to follow me through life. When I settle on a character that I want to portray, I look and see what I have at home already, what I can find outside, and what I need to actually have manufactured. I’m very blessed that my mother, who lives with me, has been an absolute boon to both my hobbies and interests in general, as well as my cosplay. She’s helped me by fabricating items like an Original Rio striped jacket from a plain purple sport coat, as well as an entire Glitter N Gold Rio tuxedo from a cast off oversized suit jacket, a pair of lounge pants, and a bolt of gold lamé material. I couldn’t have done any of this without her. My aunts too, have helped me. For example, my Original Rio cosplay shirt has an embroidered patch made to duplicate Rio’s doll’s shirt’s screen printed design. My aunt, who lives overseas, contacted a family friend who had the work done, and then my aunt sewed the patch to the plain yellow sleeveless shirt that I already had procured.

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Omar as Rio!


NERDSociety: I think that is absolutely fantastic Omar. The 2014 Jemcon just recently occurred; can you share your own experiences from previous Jemcons you have attended?

Omar: Jemcon is a wonderful time and place, where friends who share a common interest, a love of Jem and the Holograms, can come together to meet each other face to face, interact with celebrities and behind the scenes cast who helped bring our favorite cartoon and toyline to life. I’ve made several good friends and have found a wonderful social niche where I can be myself. What I really love about Jemcon is that there really is something for everyone. There are enough people who like the show, the toyline, the music, and all overlapping interests to find something enjoyable at the conventions.

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Omar at Jemcon in a handmade Glitter ‘N Gold Rio cosplay


Omar: In terms of experiences, where shall I begin? Arriving for my first convention, in 2010, was akin to the children being shown Wonka’s factory in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; that sheer look of awe and wonder, even on the first night, Friday, during the opening festivities. Everyone seemed very friendly and accepting, and I honestly felt quite at home. The trivia contest allowed me to flex my mental muscles, as well as gain new knowledge. Meeting Samantha Newark (the voice of Jem), Britta Phillips (the singing voice of Jem) Ellen Bernfeld (the singing voice of Pizzazz), Anne Bryant (music composer), Will Meugniot (artist) and Michael Charles Hill (writer) absolutely blew my mind. I really didn’t want that weekend to end.

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Glimpse of a booth at Jemcon


Omar: 2012 was just as good, and I met Patricia Alice Albrecht (the voice of Pizzazz), Desiree Goyette-Borgas (the voice of Danse), and Louise Dorsey (the voice of Jetta) was more than I could have ever expected. 2013 allowed me to meet Sharon Knettel (doll box artist), along with Angela Cappelli (singing voice of Jacqui Benton), and Anne and Ellen again, was simply a delight. Everyone that I’ve met, celebrities and fans inclusive, has been more than friendly, courteous, and quite understanding. Seeing Desiree be excited over my custom Danse doll (on display) or seeing fans recognize a character that I’d put together in doll form, made me feel good about the way I express my love of Jem.

NERDSociety: That is so amazing! I am beyond thrilled to hear about your experiences with Jemcon. You paint a lovely picture of the event Omar. What does it mean to you to be creative and how do you express that creativity? (i.e. what are the other outlets you have for expressing yourself, be it with writing or collecting)

Omar: As I alluded to, I create custom dolls and action figures of Jem characters. Growing up, I never played with the actual Jem dolls, but watched the show like a fiend whenever I could. I lucked out and found a first edition Jem doll at a yard sale in 2009, and I was hooked again; however, I soon became critical of the doll’s lack of articulation (mind you, jointed elbows and knees, not to mention light up earrings, were more than competitor Barbie could do in 1986). So I carefully removed Jem’s head, keeping sure to poke the earring bulbs back into her head so I could guide the head off without breaking the wire leads that protruded from her neck into her head, and placed the head on a more posable action figure body, one of Takara’s CY Girls figures.

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Omar’s custom Jem dolls


Omar: The resulting doll looked a little different, but she could move and pose, and actually touch her earrings. From there, I began trying to create a posable Rio doll (and ruining a vintage Rio in the process), and that was the impetus to try creating as many Jem characters as I possibly could. Using parts from G.I.Joe, Action Man, CY Girls, and yes, Barbie, I began kitbashing (taking already created parts and putting them together) with very little fabrication. I enlisted help from friends to repaint, reroot or procure parts that I needed and was unable to find locally. I’d like to give a shout out to Deb, Sean, Maria, Jake, Ter, Allison, James, and all the people who helped me, along with my family- my aunt actually sewed a blue business suit and beret for my custom Jerrica doll, which I paired with a white blouse by Azone, and a pair of blue pumps from a Totsy outfit.

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More from Omar’s customized collection


Omar: My dolls are more than just dolls- I’ve tried to recreate the characters as they were drawn and portrayed on the show. For example, the actual Hasbro Ba Nee, Krissie and Ashley dolls were all 12” tall. However on the show, Ba Nee was eight years old, Krissie was about ten and Ashley was thirteen, so they were drawn at different heights. Using a Liv Girl body for Ashley and a Jazzie (cool teen cousin of Barbie) head, I gave Ashley a teenage body. Krissie, being younger and smaller, was originally a BFC Inc doll, Calista, but she proved to be too short to stand alongside my custom Dominic Lerner (a modified High School Musical Chad doll), so I also used a Liv Girl body, which was sadly too tall for the character- I’d need a 10” African American body, which is nearly impossible to find. Ba Nee, being the youngest of the trio, was created using a 9” Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Trini doll, who was simply redressed in a purple outfit from Stacie (Barbie’s 7” kid sister). However, that was more than enough to make the three dolls both easily recognizable and able to stay true to their animated appearance.

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Another shot of Omar’s collection. The customized dolls are very impressive!


Omar: Custom Jem dolls aren’t my only outlet. I also write fanfic, and have a 26 (and counting) fanfic saga that continues the Jem story, called Jericho. You can find it on Deviantart under my handle, actionman81.

But wait, there’s more! (Great, I’m channeling Bob Barker) I also create custom YouTube videos, for example, splicing Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy, with scenes from Aztec Enchantment, Starbright Rising Star, and Hot Time in Hawaii. You can view them, and other videos that I made, on YouTube. My handle is landcommander1981

NERDSociety: That is too cool! I have seen your videos and they are a great deal of fun. I also am always impressed by people who create customized dolls. The process is beyond interesting to me. Now, Jem fans are not only truly outrageous, but they are also truly unique. What is it about the Jem community that stands out from other fandoms?

Omar: Jem fans are some of the most accepting people that I’ve ever met. I’ve seen a lot of criticism in some fandoms, from the fans themselves, to other fans or to celebrities or actors, but none of that is part of the Jem community. The sheer accepting mentality of the Jem community really blows me away. They’re so inviting and understanding to both their celebrities as well as to each other, the fans.

NERDSociety: I have to say, that is one of the things I find so inspiring about the Jem community. The way in which fans treat one another and are also able to interact with the stars and creators of the show is just a really great thing. What are some current projects you are working on?

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The Misfits dolls that Omar has customized into a collection already


Omar: I’m always working on something. Right now, I’m writing an epilogue to my Jericho fanfic saga, to tie up some loose ends that I hadn’t been able to get to during the course of the story; I’m trying to find parts to create dolls of the Misfits Girls- Molly, Ellen and Sandra.

NERDSociety: That sounds very exciting! What are your hopes for the future of Jem?

Omar: I’d love to see a new toyline, perhaps with both 1:6 scale dolls as well as smaller action figures. Imagine it, being able to carry the Holograms in one pocket, and the Misfits or Stingers in another- a smaller scale would allow more vehicles and structures to be produced. Perhaps using retooled molds from Hasbro’s G.I.Joe series of 3.75” figures might be a starting place. I’ve often thought about creating small custom figures, but the scale is too hard for me to even begin thinking about repainting, even though I took apart most of my vintage small scale G.I.Joe figures as a child, or order to create custom characters.

I’ll admit, a feature length film would be wonderful, but I’d also want Christy Marx as head writer, if not as creative consultant, perhaps an animated film, with Samantha, Britta, Patricia, Desiree, Ellen, Michael (Sheehan) and other cast members reprising roles. Sadly, that’s just a pipe dream. It seems that children today are only worried about internet stardom, rather than the values that were espoused in the mantra that so many of us grew up with, that “Doing the right thing makes you a superstar”

NERDSociety: Aside from the awesomeness that is Jem, do you enjoy any other “nerdy” properties and how do you engage with those properties?

Omar: I’m a huge fan of most 1980s popular culture, and love the 1980s in general, though my mother sometimes jokes that I can’t possibly remember much of the 1980s (with my memory, I can see her point). I love Ghostbusters (the Ivan Reitman film, as well as the DiC animated series)

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Omar as a Ghostbuster: Then

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Omar as a Ghostbuster: Now


Omar: Punky Brewster (the live action series, not the animated series, though I watched both while growing up), G.I.Joe (animated 1980s series, 1960s-1970s 1:6 figures, 1980s/1990s 3.75” figures as well as the current anniversary series), Superman (pre-crisis), most crime drama, including Law & Order Special Victims Unit, Bones, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series of novels and the 1990s series starring David Suchet, Get Smart (the 1960s television series, along with the 1970s and 1980s films, and the 1990s spin off television series, but not the film starring Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell). Other series that I like include Super Sentai, Saban’s Power Rangers, shows like The Goldbergs, Anger Management, Two and a Half Men (with Charlie Sheen, not Ashton Kutcher), The Big Bang Theory, along with Food Network’s Good Eats (if Fred Rogers was my childhood best friend from the television, then Alton Brown fills that role today). I collect many scales of action figures and dolls, ranging from small 1:18 (3.75”) figures, all the way to larger 1:3 (18”) dolls by Sonja Hartmann, called Kidz n Cats. Even my 1:3 dolls have gotten into the Jem craze, with a custom Jem logo t-shirt for one doll, based after me.

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Omar’s self creation!

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A closer photo!


NERDSociety: How cool! What an awesome doll Omar. I have to say, I have really learned a lot about you. Now, where can we find you and your work/interests to learn even more and keep up to date on what you do next?

Omar: Haven’t I plugged myself enough during this interview? LOL.
My Youtube is landcommander1981
My Deviantart page (for fanfic) is actionman81
My custom action figure work is actionman81
I’m also on Twitter and Facebook, but I keep my Facebook profile for friends and family. If you know me, feel free to look me up.

NERDSociety: Great! I thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions Omar. I have learned new things about you and I know we will be following you to see what you create next. That’s about it dear readers. Be sure to stick around for more updates and interviews in this exclusive series.

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