How a 21-year-old immigrant overcame his anxieties by ‘becoming’ Spider-Man

When 21-year-old Andrés Bornacelli immigrated from Colombia to New York City in 2015, the adjustment wasn’t easy. He struggled with feeling insecure about his accent and appearance.

But when Bornacelli learned that the comic book character Peter Parker, another kid living in Queens who also felt like a misfit, Bornacelli decided to suit up to boost his confidence and become Spider-Man too. 

“I had a really rough time when I moved here because I felt very self-conscious about my accent and the way I spoke and I wasn’t particularly happy with how I looked,” Bornacelli told In The Know. “That kind of contributed to me building up layers of insecurity and social anxiety.” 

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Bornacelli decided to keep to himself which meant he spent most of his time with the “Spider-Man” film franchise. 

“I always related to the side of him being a bit of an outcast and kind of socially awkward,” he told In The Know. “It’s an empowerment when you see a character that, even though he has the same struggles as you and the same insecurities and the same problems, can also put on a mask and be like the coolest person in New York City.” 

So that’s what he did. Bornacelli put on a mask. When he went to Comic-Con as Spider-Man nobody cared if he was awkward, they just wanted to snap a pic with the superhero. Now Bornacelli is an Instagram-famous Spider-Man cosplayer and creates very detailed costume replicas and outfits from the film

He became so notorious that when the cast of “Spider-Man” were guests on the live interview series BUILD, Bornacelli, who was in the audience, got a shout out from director Jon Watts.

“This guy right here is like one of the number one Spider-Man fans ever,” Watts told the audience.  

In the end, Bornacelli was able to use the cosplaying community to build a following and his self-esteem.   

“Eventually those internet friends turned into my real-life friends. I hang out with them all the time,” Bornacelli told In The Know. “And I am very secure and happy with my identity and who I am right now. And I don’t feel the need to hide it.” 

If you enjoyed this article, meet Aarón Acosta, the quadruple amputee who’s one of TikTok’s favorite dance stars.

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