For many Megan Thee Stallion fans, their introduction to the Houston hip-hop star was through her detailed cosplays of anime characters like My Hero Academia‘s Todoroki. While it was far from a first for a female rapper to dress up as their favorite character from a cartoon or a video game (Missy Elliott as Mega Man, anyone?), it may have been the first time one so openly expressed their love for a hobby that some in the hip-hop world might consider “too nerdy.” Of course, those people are overlooking a long history of “nerdy” hip-hop heroes like Wu-Tang Clan and MF DOOM, but that’s beside the point.
Megan’s love for animation, video games, and dressing up has led to a huge opportunity for her, as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment tapped the “Body” rapper to help announce the latest round of downloadable content for its Mortal Kombat 11, the latest game in the long-running franchise which is still receiving support in the form of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. To help make the announcement, Megan got to dress up as one of her favorite characters, the fanged ninja Mileena, who returned to the franchise after being absent from MK11‘s original release.
Thee Stallion had previously cosplayed as Mileena for Halloween 2019, but her look was even more game-accurate in her announcement video, where she strutted and preened with Mileena’s signature sai and her mouthful of razor-sharp, opponent chomping dentitions. The game’s been out for a couple of months, and now, Uproxx and Megan got to talk about her impressive cosplay, her love for video games, and how she finds time to enjoy her hobbies while promoting her debut album, Good News. My big takeaway: We really need a new Def Jam Vendetta game with Meg as a fighter.
Of all the characters in the Mortal Kombat mythology/franchise, why is Mileena your favorite, and what does it mean to have her back in the franchise for Mortal Kombat 11?
You already know Mileena’s on some Real Hot Girl Sh*t! I have always loved Mileena because she presents as this really sexy, dominating character who has such allure, but underneath the mask and mystery, she’s also this super terrifying mutant. I like that when she takes her mask off in Mortal Kombat 11, she can eat all the characters… basically, she is a man-eater.
Can you detail the work that went into your transformation into Mileena? How does it compare to some of the other elaborate looks and cosplay you have done over the years?
Mileena in Mortal Kombat 11 was one of my favorite cosplays ever. We spent a lot of time planning everything down to the minor details so the look would be accurate. Alicia Marie made the costume and sai weapons and Kelton Ching created the prosthetics.
How did you first learn about cosplay and what about it interested you? What was your first cosplay? Who are some other characters that you really want to dress up as?
I have been watching anime forever and a part of why I love it so much is because of how intricate the graphics are. When I started seeing people online and cosplaying and going all out with it, I knew I had to try it for myself. I like to take a character and give them a Megan spin. I like to see myself as my favorite character. I really want to do my own spin on Naruto and Diane from 7 Deadly Sins.
When it comes to the Mortal Kombat franchise, there are so many iconic moments. What are some of the moments that stick out in your memory?
It’s not so much “moments in the game that stand out,” but I remember loving going to an arcade and playing the standalone Mortal Kombat game for hours.
What videogames did you play growing up? Did you have any memories of playing games that you’re particularly fond of?
Growing up I played every single version of GTA, Bloody Roar 3, and I loved Def Jam Vendetta, and Def Jam Vendetta: Fight For NY. They were hilarious and over the top with Lil Kim and Redman. Some of the fondest memories I have are of playing videogames with my dad.
It seems like it’d be very hard to keep up with games while going to school and finishing up Good News. How do you manage to do it all?
I work hard, but it is all about priorities. I find time to make it all happen because school is important to me and my grandmother and it was important to my mother.
Gaming is an opportunity for me to escape. My mind is always working on what’s next… the next photoshoot, the next concert, the next music video, so for me, gaming is a way for me to relax and decompress.
Megan Thee Stallion is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.