SOPHIA NEROVNAYA is a very well-known cosplayer from St. Petersburg, Russia who looks amazingly like T’Pol from Star Trek: Enterprise. On her Facebook page are nearly 800 photos of Sophia throughout Russia and Europe and at home, always in makeup and often in costume, looking nearly identical to her fictional Vulcan counterpart. The only difference is Sophia’s wonderful smile that seems to convey sheer happiness and enthusiasm with Star Trek and with life itself.
All of that was shattered on Sunday with this single post to Facebook:
My loving husband and father of my two sons
died today at 4 pm, of COVID-19.
Sophia and Vadim were married in 2006. The illness apparent came upon him quickly, as Sophia was making typical Facebook posts up though Friday, and then Saturday saw a message that Vadim was urgently hospitalized and in intensive care, under ventilation.
As I type this, there have already been more than 650 comments conveying sympathy. I can’t begin to imagine her grief and loss…and that of her two children. Obviously, Sophia has my condolences, as well my wife’s, even though she has no idea who we are.
Sophia’s connection to the fan film community—in addition to being a huge fan of AXANAR because of the appearance of GARY GRAHAM reprising his role of Ambassador Soval—came about three months ago when VANCE MAJOR reached out to her from across the planet with a request for her to make a cameo or two as T’Pol in his newest CONSTAR COMPLETED fan series. Vance was one of Sophia’s thousands of Facebook friends, but they have communicated a bit over the years through the Star Trek Cosplay Facebook group.
Sophia happily agreed to help Vance out and sent him takes of T’Pol composited in front of an Enterprise NX-01 background which have already appeared in the episode “The Stuff of Legend” alongside her good friend, DAVID FRANCOEUR…
Sophia will also appear in Vance’s new release “1000 Dirty Tricks” in a few weeks.
Sadly, this was not the first COVID-related death to hit the fan film community…or even Vance’s Constar family. During the late spring, HIMILICE JACKSON DE ALVAREZ passed away from the Novel Coronavirus in Puerto Rico. A member of the USS San Juan chapter of the STARFLEET International fan club, she had come up to visit the NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS sets in Kingsland, GA during one of their early fan appreciation weekends. Vance was filming there that day and asked Himilce along with some others if they’d like to appear as extras. Himilce appeared in both “Just Another Day” and at the very beginning of “Break Free,” both filmed in 2019.
When Vance learned of Himilce’s passing earlier this year, he put a dedication to her at the beginning of “Fantastic Daily,” released on May 22…
Obviously, with nearly 1.5 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide and 273,000 of them in the United States, the odds were against the fan film community coming through this pandemic unscathed.
But I implore everyone to hold on just for a little bit longer. Vaccines are nearly here, and another six months or so of social distancing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing won’t kill us (unlike the alternative). So please, be careful, be considerate of others, be smart, and be safe.