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. Get to know the person behind the cosplay. 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 of the world of cosplay.
About RayGrey Cosplay
My name is Rachel Petersen (formally Rachel Gray hence the name) I am a Canadian, born in Windsor ON. I got started sewing when I was very little. My mother taught me and from that, I blossomed into costuming for high school and college plays. For a short period of time I had a little fashion line as well and was thinking about being a designer but I wasn’t able to do the schooling. So I’m self-taught and decided to take my love of all things nerdy and my talent and do something with it. I’ve been cosplaying now for 5 years and In that time I’ve done several costumes/characters. I have been a guest at a few local comic cons doing things like judging contests, doing panels about cosplay related things, signing prints and making appearances with a few celebs. In the past 2 years, my husband has joined me in the fun. I’ve moved to Michigan now with him to start a whole new adventure. I will be expanding into new genres and markets soon and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
How did you first get into cosplay?
My first comic con I went to was Fan Expo. I went with my family as Rachel Grey (Jean Grey’s daughter) because my name is actually Rachel Gray and we look alike. It was then I realized that other people did the same thing as me and I was super excited.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I do it for fun but I would love for it to be a stepping stone. I would love to work in movies or own my own studio where I teach the future generation techniques.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I like to make everything from scratch but obviously not certain things like shoes, wigs, etc.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Usually a few months. It really depends on the level of difficulty.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
I do love being Ariel (The Little Mermaid) because I love bringing smiles to kids, it’s comfortable, fun to swim in and a real crowd pleaser.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Good experience: winning best novice performance at Colossal Con with our Natsu and Lucy swing dance. Bad experience: my friend accidentally stepped on my dress and ripped part of it open in the middle of a parade and I had to try and fix it mid-parade.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love doing them but it is hard getting people to all agree and stay on target. Super fun when it does work out.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Some Hannah Alexander, Aloy from Horizon zero dawn and a few surprises for the rest of the year 😉
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I feel like the whole “sexiness” thing does bring in the division because while I’m all for being body positive I think taking characters and making them sexier for no reason is unnecessary. If the character is already “sexy” than it’s fine but riding the line between cosplay and other things can be dangerous. Especially when you think of young the girls who are just starting out.They will see this happening in the community and think that’s what it takes to “be good at cosplay.” I know there are people on both sides of this conversation and will always be, hence the divide.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I love Disney so I have done a bunch of that but I also love comic books and movies so I’m forever inspired by that. I also do video games and anime stuff as well.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I do like the researching part but the most fun is making it and the photo shoots. I love storytelling and photos let you do that.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I actually was lucky and had a family friend donate a lot to me but as for resources, I use things like Pinterest, Instructables, Youtube. kind of the normal places you look when you’re stuck on a problem or need a good reference picture. also shopping wise Joann’s because it’s the closest place beside ordering online.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Money and time. We would love to do more and go to more places but we make do with what we have.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
You can’t please everyone. Yes, there will be those who love what you do and share your love of the same fandoms but there will always be those who don’t understand or don’t feel the same way. don’t take to heart. Try to learn and grow from it instead.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic!” things won’t always work out the first time. There’s will always be a time where things fall apart or you run out of time so don’t sweat the small stuff.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It has become larger and defiantly more mainstream. With all the resources, people can find whatever they need online now.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
The list would never end. There would be giant builds, dragons, big mechs and lots of lights that’s for sure.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try but I never stick to it.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay to me is all about becoming the characters you love and sharing the love with others of that fandom. I also just really love crafting so for me it’s a stress reliever. There’s nothing better than the huge smiles or high fives you get from fans. Plus cosplay is helpful to gain confidence.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
You can follow and view more of RayGrey Cosplay here
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