Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and already famous members from the world of cosplay.
About Cassie Fray Cosplay
Cassie Fray is a 21 year old cosplayer located in Clarksville, TN! She does a lot of video game cosplays and boudoir shoots of her characters and has recently started to turn her specialty towards creating armor. At present, she is adding a new branch to her skills that includes prop making. She started cosplaying in 2009 at her first convention: Planet Comicon. Since then she has focused on not only bringing art to those around her but also towards her studies. She is also currently working towards a double major in Art and Science which she has done so far on a full ride scholarship. She hopes to continue making her form of art for a long time and wants nothing more than to make others smile.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was always a really nerdy kid. One of my friends told me about this convention (Planet Comicon) that was happening in Kansas City and that I HAD to go see. I looked up what cons were and found out that people could wear costumes to them so I spent all month making a Vampire Knight uniform with my grandmother. That’s also how I learned to sew! It was so much fun and eventually, I started on the costumes that you see today!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I love making armor. I’ve always loved looking at things and wondering how it’s put together. So while, yes, cosplay is a hobby for me that’s fun, it’s also something that is helping me grow in my talents. Who knows. Maybe one day I’ll take the leap and try my hand at movie props and stuff! But for now, it’s just fun!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
Personally, I love the challenge and art of making my own. There’s nothing wrong with buying something from someone else though. It helps out other artists. The only issue I have with commission pieces is when the person who didn’t make them tries to claim credit on the creation, doesn’t pay for them or tries to resell them at a higher price (which I’ve seen happen to several of my friends). Other than that, I just want people to have fun in whatever they’re wearing! Handmade or purchased!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Some of mine, like armor, take me over a month because of funds. But others, like my “rave” sets, take me anywhere from 3 hours to a week. It all depends on the details required.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Completed at this moment it would have to be my Rengar from League of Legends or my Sylveon from Pokemon. Both of them are polar opposites but I put my everything into them both and have so much fun wearing them!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I had worn my Rengar to Planet Comicon and it is one of my first full armor sets (2nd completed, but first foam set). And I stopped to look at a booth run by one of my favorite prop makers. He loved my armor and I asked him what improvements I could make on it. He only had one small critique on my set involving my horn painting and told me everything else was just perfect! And to be told by such a fantastic artist that there’s nothing wrong with that huge set except for one small spot (that I knew was messed up on) just… It made me proud of myself and what I can do and has pushed me to do better!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I LOVE THEM. To get a ton of people together to make something that brings a whole set of characters to the spotlight? I think it’s fantastic and I want to eventually be a part of one!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Right now I’m working on a Death Knight design of my own based off of a set and am planning a few other World of Warcraft pieces. I also want to do a few remixes of certain characters into something original but true to their original character basis.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I see issues all the time in the cosplay community. Cliques, body shaming, racism, etc. While I see that they’re all important things that need to be addressed, for me, I’m not really a keyboard warrior. I’d rather talk about how someone made something. I’d rather tell someone they’re gorgeous or handsome (no matter who they are). I’d rather help someone create something to boost themselves up. Yes, I’ll stand up for someone, but at the same time, I prefer to fight that kind of negativity by being loving to everyone. I get told that I shouldn’t make lewd versions of characters but for me, I just ignore the hateful stuff. I delete the comments. Don’t be mean to others, don’t tear each other down. Don’t blackface or body shame. Just be you having fun as a character you love. The hate is just people crying out to be loved.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I do a LOT of video games stuff. Mainly League of Legends and WoW. I’m starting to branch out more but the idea of making such intricate stuff keeps pulling me back in!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Researching and building! I actually don’t like photo shoots very much. I know there’s a need for them but I’m a pretty shy person in front of a camera and I’m WAY to observant of my own body! That’s why Dustin (my hubby) has started to do a lot of my shoots for me as my photographer!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Fun story. My city didn’t have a fabric shop until I messaged Joann and begged them to put a store in Clarksville! Before then, if I wanted fabric, I had to drive about an hour to buy some in Nashville! I’m so happy they listened to my advice and put one in! Beyond Joann though, I buy a lot of my stuff from Amazon and Michaels! All my wigs are from Arda and my foam comes from TNT Cosplay Supply.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Telling myself that I’m worth praise. I’m really a stickler for getting things right the first time. So when it took me several tries to do something I felt defeated. I felt lost and alone. It took a LOT of encouragement to make myself better and to keep pushing. Also finding shoes. I wear a size 3 so it’s REALLY hard to find good cosplay shoes that are fashionable and comfortable in the kid’s section!
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Don’t be stuck in one particular group. There are tons of cosplay groups out there for areas and cities and while they’re great for connecting, they’re also really quick to blow up in your face from what I’ve seen. There’s a lot of people in the world that will try to bring others down to bring themselves up and some of those people see those groups as a contest area. That’s why I decided early on to just be an outsider to them but to still be friendly and loving to all of the people in them! I don’t want to compete! I just want to create and have fun!
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
BE NICE TO OTHERS! Everyone in this community is at a different stage in their learning process. Some people do casual cosplay. Others do closet cosplay. You’ve got detailed, armor, simple, skimpy, sweat your face off cosplays. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Let people have fun!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
When I went to my first con back in 2009 not a lot of people had the resources that they do today. Costumes did look rougher than they do now. But what’s also great about that is that people are networking, inventing, sharing methods, etc. The community is expanding every single day!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I want to do Riverspirit Nami from League of Legends. With a real mermaid tail, ocean scenery, etc. She’s one of my favorite characters and if I was going to cosplay her I would want her to have the best that I can give.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
No. I mean, I try to not go WAY too high in prices for things, but normally I wing it. And the best way to keep a low budget is to use scraps. I use old fabric scraps for stuffing or straps. No worbla goes to waste. I have a huge bin of craft foam scraps that I’ve been using to build my Death Knight. Everything has an alternate purpose.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means freedom to make things how I would want to see them in a drawing. Cosplay is being myself. It’s learning, growing, and seeing new and exciting worlds. It’s like it’s own culture just waiting to be studied.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I would like to say that I would never stop but who knows what the world has in store for me. If something were to happen that is drastic enough to make me stop then I’m sure it’s a good reason.
You can follow and view more of Cassie Fray Cosplay here
The photos submitted are done by either my husband Dustin or by my mother (Pics by Jessie Lou Photography)
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