What got you into cosplay?
– Cosplay started for when I was eight living out in the middle of nowhere- I was watching Sailor Moon (Obsessed with the show!) and I began to think, “God Rei Chan’s life is something so amazing. I wish I could be like Rei and say it like it is and fight for love”. So from there, I started to slowly get things to dress up as Rei. I had no idea that it was called Cosplay at the time. I just was playing dress up in my room and taking it all off before I was caught. But those times were the best moments in my life at that time.
What about it do you like the most?
– Cosplay is a lot like drag (with more drama). It’s amazing to create a walking/talking art form that the community (LGBT or Straight) can connect to and build a bridge over. Seeing families rush up to you with joy and excitement as their kids see their idols there in “person”, that joy in peoples eyes is one of the biggest reasons I do drag/cosplay. Plus Raye Sunshine is Rei-Chan so every time I do drag, its cosplay- but try explaining that to everyone each time you’re at an event.
– The worst thing I can mention is the close mindedness of people. Yes, I am lucky and can “pass” for a woman until I talk, so sadly I also get the creeps and pervs that come to cons to oogle the boobie fest. Once they find out I am a man, I get either a joyful remark or a side eye of “omg you tricked me!”. The other thing is sometimes the hate you get from other woman. The ugly truth is that yes, most cosplay is supposed to be freeing and empowering to everyone, but when you get hate from someone who was just asking for respect from one group to hate another smaller group, its just like…..well you’re a hypocrite.
What have been your favorite characters to cosplay thus far?
– Sailor Mars is currently still my FAVORITE to do ever. After that and in no order is Ms.Marvel, Dark Phoenix, Madame Hydra, Yuna (Gun runner), Ashe (FF12), Lighting(FF13), Tiffa (FF7-Advent Children).
What do you look for in a character when choosing a new cosplay?
– Soul. I want to be able to relate to that character in a few different ways. If a character is stick thin it’s probably a character I will never do. A strong female who is independent, built and with a kick ass story line is someone I would always lean towards. Plus a killer costume ALWAYS helps.
Any new cosplays in the works?
– OH GOD YAAAAAASSSSSS!! I have Rei-Chan in her school uniform coming up which will become a staple in my drag outing looks. A gender bending version of Sailor Mars and She-Hulkare in the works but I’m working out the shapes. This is all that’s lined up for this moment as I write this out, but god knows in a month, I’ll have eight more.
Cosplayers all have different skills and strengths, what do you feel are yours?
– What sets me apart from other Cosplay/Crossplay is my makeup abilities. As a professional artist in film, I get access to all the products and materials to fully create looks that can extremely mimic the character. Anyone can have the outfit and look amazing if you put your heart and soul into it, but when you go that little extra and invest in a good wig, makeup and nails right to the details of the character. You win!
Based on the few photos I’ve seen, you have some amazing talents. How does makeup play into choosing and executing a cosplay?
– The bigger the challenge ,the better the cosplay. I did a man up as Red Skull from a blend between the movie and the original character. We barely got into the Con with the amount of photos we had to take and I will always give someone the option to take a photo with me.
What has been your biggest struggle?
– My biggest struggle is getting respect from people for the style of art that I do. I see woman dressing as men all the time at cons and no one bats an eye. You get a professional drag queen with some makeup skills and then suddenly I’m Satan in a dress.
How do you feel about cosplay in relation to drag?
– I love it! Drag is basically cosplay in a way, where we create looks on a character we have created.
Are there things you get out of cosplaying that you don’t get from drag?
– Nope! I can strongly say I get everything I want out of cosplay and drag. My world is very, very balanced.
Do you have any encouraging words for others that might not have the confidence to Cosplay?
– Be true to yourself and never let someone tell you, you can’t do something because you are a certain gender, size, skin color. Cosplay is the expression of your love for your favorite character. If someone can’t see that, then I feel sorry for them as they are only holding themselves back.
Thank you for your time Raye!
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