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 Rowan Rayne
I’m Rowan Rayne and I’m just here as your friendly neighborhood cosplayer from Detroit! I got into cosplay about 4 years ago officially but have been in all kinds of fandoms since I was young. Some of my favorite include, but certainly are not limited to, all things Joss Whedon, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, to name a few of my fandoms. When I am not binge watching geeky TV shows or working on my costumes, I like to stay as busy as possible. I travel to a lot of various comic conventions throughout the US, which has been an incredible opportunity for me. Conventions are my happy place, when I am not shutting down creepers and trolls and showing them a thing or two about this here feminist agenda. I also enjoy staying active. I got into serious weightlifting/bodybuilding about 2 years ago and am always working on them She-Hulk gains. I’ve learned when it comes to exercise, find something that you actually enjoy, that doesn’t feel like you’re forcing misery upon yourself and you will be more likely to stick with it.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I have been making costumes for Halloween for about 7 years now. I kind of got sick of seeing the same old same old Halloween costumes every year, so I decided to start making my own. I’ve been a big sci-fi/fantasy/comic nerd for most of my life so a lot of those early costumes were fandom related. I went to my first convention I think 5 years ago. I didn’t cosplay at that one, but I was so hooked after attending, I started working on costumes for the next event. I’ve been pretty obsessed ever since.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Just for fun!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I would say it’s a bit of a hybrid. I prefer creating my own, though there have been times where I will buy something, like a bodysuit or corset just because it’s usually way easier and cheaper.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
I spend about 4-6 months per year making about 3.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
That is a tough question! Probably Lady Loki or Deathstroke. I love being a villain.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
So when I cosplayed Deathstroke, I got a lot of really cool photos taken of the costume. I tweeted one of the images to Manu Bennett, who plays Deathstroke on the TV show Arrow. Not only did he retweet it, he actually responded with how impressed he was with the costume and that he would love to see it in person. He also then followed me on Twitter. Sounds silly, but it was just so exciting and flattering to have the person that plays one of your favorite characters give you that creative nod of approval.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love them! I am currently working on a costume for a group costume this year!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I am hoping to finish Hippolyta from Wonder Woman as well as a Poison Ivy costume in time for New York Comic Con. I also made a Lady Death costume this year.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I really think snobbery is one of the most divisive issues in the cosplay community. People who look down on other cosplayers who may buy their costumes or commission them, as well as making fun of those who maybe are not at the same skill level as other more well-known cosplayers. I think it is ridiculous. Cosplay is about having fun and expressing your love of a character through a costume, it’s for everybody, at any budget, at any skill level!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I’m a 100% comic book girl.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
For me, I love cosplay in its entirety. I love the sewing and the crafting as well as finding inspirational photos on Pinterest. Attending conventions in a new cosplay is always such a high moment as well. Honestly, I would say the one thing I do not usually enjoy is photo shoots. Don’t get me wrong, I do them and am always thrilled with the photos, but the actual shoots themselves are exhausting!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Depending on the materials it can vary. As far as sewing style materials, I normally go to JoAnn’s to get that stuff. There are always good deals and coupons and I don’t love buying fabric online. For other stuff, such as props and weapon making, usually a hardware store, Home Depot and the like. I also tend to be an Amazon freak for little-detailed things.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
For me, I think it is probably a bit of self-doubt and insecurity. There are definitely issues I have, mainly body issues, that, in the past have made me feel really insecure about cosplaying certain characters. I know I look confident in my photos, but there are definitely times I will see a picture and still wince because I don’t like how I look. I think we are all our own worst critics.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Similar to the answer above, cosplay has helped me with my confidence and growing more comfortable in who I am, no matter what. I am a bodybuilder, so my weight changes fairly often, depending on the season. Being comfortable in my skin and costume no matter what.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
As cliche as it may sound, the actual golden rule completely applies here. Treat others how you want to be treated. Be kind, compliment people, get along with people, be positive!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I think it has become a bit more of a common thing and is more widely accepted in a lot more social groups. I think that as far as within the community, people are probably focusing more on achieving fame than what they once did, but I am ok with that. Whatever makes people happy!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I honestly don’t know that I have one. Usually, if I see something I love and want to cosplay, I find a way to make it work.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Nope, I should, but I don’t. I probably spend a couple grand a year on cosplay related stuff.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is about having fun, enjoying a space with like minded nerds and showing your appreciation for some of your favorite fictional characters.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Nothing I can think of!
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