Alexia Jean Grey Interview
Interview by: Roxy Lee GG|
Hi all Roxy Lee here. Now I know you recognize the beautiful and talented Alexia Jean Grey! I am thrilled to be interviewing such a great cosplayer today. Alexia certainly has taken the cosplay world by storm with her famous Black Widow and Phoenix costumes among others.
Alexia Jean Grey is one of the top costumers both nationally and over seas. Alexia Jean Grey has been featured on many websites including MTV Geek, G4TV, Comics Alliance, World Of Superheros, and is the promotion model as Black Widow for Marvel's War Of Hero's game. Her award winning costumes range from many genres including comic books, anime, video games, and took the Internet by storm with her Venom and Mary Jane body paint. When she's not running around in spandex at conventions she's busy designing and crafting her line of her geek inspired fashion and cosplay accessories including her custom made comic book shoes. Alexia Jean Grey's experience with modeling both in and out of character conveys in workshops/panels to learn techniques about the fundamentals of modeling and applying to cosplaying both in studio and convention photography. Alexia Jean Grey is one of the few professional/guest cosplayers in the convention world and is always striving to inspire cosplayers to take their costuming skills to the next level.
Roxy: Alexia thanks so much for doing this interview with us, it is an honor!
Alexia: Oh no I am honored! I am a giant fan of your site.
Roxy: Well thanks! Now when did you start cosplaying and how exactly did you get into it?
Alexia: I was a theater kid growing up, from both acting as well as working in the costume department. We never did any kind of serious costume making but it's when I started learning how to piece together thrift store clothes and doing little alterations. I was always a big nerd but but unfortunately growing up in Wisconsin there was no such thing as cosplaying or conventions and would only see glimpses of cosplay photos online and just assumed it existed in different countries like Japan. I made a move to south Florida in 2009 and became friends with local cosplayers who introduced me to costuming and conventions. It was a dream come true to me and after my first conventions and photoshoots I knew I wanted to do it forever.
Roxy: Ahh a fellow theater geek, welcome hehe. What was your first cosplay and convention?
Alexia: My first costume was Kasumi's blue suit from Dead Or Alive 4. I was always really into fighting games so it didn't take any time for me to pick out a costume. When my friends invited me to come with them to Metrocon I really wanted to dress up but had no experience and didn't know what to expect. My friend Emily Galea made most of my first costume, I sat at her house everyday for a couple weeks and she taught me the basics of how to use the sewing machine and different fabrics and observed everything that she did. She did a fantastic job and had a fun helping her, but I still had first con jitters. I had no idea what to expect. As soon as got there though I felt right at home with everyone. I did spend most of my time in the video game room more than anything but it still opened my eyes into the wonderful world of costuming.
Roxy: Where did you learn do fabricate, sew or create these amazing costumes? Any tips for a newbie sewer?
Alexia: The first couple costumes were mainly made by my friend and that is how I learned all the basics. From then on I started researching more and more about how to sew. When I started sewing on my own I became terribly frustrated due to me being dyslexic and having a hard time understanding patterns. I would try using patterns and alternating them to use for costumes, I would try reading from books and looking up tutorials but it never ended up working out. I ended up learning how to draft my own patterns by taking clothes out of my closet and looking at the seams to understand how to sew certain pieces. From then on it was just practice and trial and error. Once I grasped sewing I looked into more advance crafting like making models, and fabricating armor. My best advice for newbies is to never give up and keep practicing, everyone started off as a newb but every costume I decide to do in try and challenge myself with working with a different material or new technique to keep learning and make my costumes better overall.
Roxy: Thatís excellent advice right there. How do you decide which cosplays you are going to work on next? Do you ever take requests?
Alexia: I think I have a list of a thousand costumes I want to make. I pick characters I idolize or feel like I can relate to, and then decide if its a costume I would like to recreate and if i feel like i can pull it off. Also with each character I make I try to make them unique to me by making changes to the outfit or if I were to draw this character how would I make the character look. I get a lot of requests for costumes, some I've been planning on doing but others I usually don't want to make mainly because I don't like the character. I get lots of requests for Emma Frost or Wonder Woman but I really don't like the characters so I wouldn't have fun wearing the outfit which to me is this most important.
Roxy: I agree completely, I just cannot get into cosplaying characters I do not like. What has been your favorite costume created and worn to date? And why?
Alexia: It's very hard to pick because they are all special to me in there own way. However I think Black Widow is my overall favorite. I love the character a lot, mainly because of courage and Intelligence. As much as I love characters with super powers I think it's amazing how she was written to be just a master of her craft. She has a lot of variations to her outfit but in wanted to add more to it than just a catsuit and red hair. I based it off a figurine that I saw with more of the orange toned hair and the black with gold belt. While I was making it though I wanted to make more of a realistic approach to her outfit, something that she would actually wear if she was real which is why I added the holsters and tac vest. Most of all I love modeling that costume, I feel like I can be limitless with poses and love capturing the character. I'm very honored when people tell me I look so much like Scarlett Jo, and with the big success of The Avengers I have a lot of little girls who get really happy to see me at conventions because they think I'm the real Black Widow. It warms my heart when they get excited to "meet" the superhero they look up to.
Roxy: It is an incredible feeling for sure. Do you have any tips for a newer cosplayer in terms of conventions and character development in cosplay?
Alexia: The most important thing to any costumer is to enjoy it, and to always keep that in mind when picking a character. Especially with woman who just started getting involved into costuming have this idea that you need to sex up a character or dress revealing for your outfit to get noticed at convention which is defiantly false. There is nothing wrong with doing a character that is portrayed more sexy (a lot of anime and comic book characters are drawn like that in the first place), but only do outfits your comfortable wearing. It will show on camera and in your face if your not feeling confident about your outfit. The same thing goes when picking a character to understand there personalities. If you feel like you have similarities to the character it will be a lot easier to model the costume because you will feel more like yourself. Every convention is different, if you have never been to one I would suggest researching what experiences other attendees have had. Also if your like me and a pretty shy person I would start off with a smaller show and work your way up to avoid being overwhelmed by large crowds and all the craziness that happens at conventions.
Roxy: Now What does cosplay mean to you? And what does it mean to you to be a woman in the geek community?
Alexia: To me it's self expression, and helped me grow into myself. Before I started cosplaying I was very shy, a loner, and one of those kids who never felt themselves. If someone would try to talk to me the first few times in costume I would barely say anything and just nervously laugh. However I made a lot of friends in the cosplaying community which has brought me out of my introvertness. I also used to be a heavy set girl but cosplaying was a gateway into my dream of being a model, so I worked really hard on body and ended up dropping about 50 pounds. Now I am confident and living my dream due to cosplaying. Even though like every other job/hobby it has its flaws but it changed my life completely. I am very happy to be apart of all the amazing women n the geek community, over the last couple years I noticed a big shift on what the typical "nerd" is. Before the clique was uncool and often nerds were outcasts, but now nerds seem to be the new rock stars. I think having a lot of woman involved in the community has really played a part on this outbreak. To me being a woman in the geek world is about inspiring other girls to be themselves and not follow cliches..who says you can't be hot and be excited over the new Ravnica set that just came out?
Roxy: No one! Thatís who hehe. You are also well known for your portrayal of the sexy Black Widow. How do you feel when wearing that costume among others that involve you to be a bit sexier, a bit more revealing and a bit sassier than a more covered or toned down costume? We love to embrace women in the geek culture as strong, sexy and confident, what would you say to those people who like to hate on us for wearing revealing costumes?
Alexia: To me 90% of women drawn in comics/anime are portrayed sexy, so more often than not that's the way we wear the costumes. Honestly what woman doesn't want to feel sexy in or out of costume, isn't that why we style our hair and wear make-up in the first place? If you don't want to wear a revealing outfit no one is forcing you to but I don't believe in ragging on a lady because she has nice cleavage or a six pack and wants to show it off. I guess I never understood why it has been a big issue in the costume scene lately, I follow a strict diet and work out 6 days a week just like a lot of other women, in my opinion I'm just showing my hard work both my costume and my body. Sex appeal is apart of human nature and I don't understand why we have to hide our bodies, they're a work of art on their own. Like my mother tells me all the time "if you got it, flaunt it, you shouldn't be a shamed of your own skin if you feel beautiful".
Roxy: Well said, you should be allowed to show off what you worked hard for and feel good about it. What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?
Alexia: I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of amazing photographers and fellow costumers and have a lot of great shoots from it. My favorite overall would have to be my Mary Jane body paint shoot for many reasons. I got to work with Jessie Melero who is an extraordinary body painter and James Holmes who's photographs are always stunning. When we were planning to shoot Jessie and I went back and forth with ideas, originally we were going to paint clothing on me and have the t-shirt be a cover of a comic book. However to due my lady lumps it would be very hard to create piece like that with text. I had brought up the idea about doing Mary Jane because of the fan arts of her drawn in various Spider-man gear. When we googled images of her we found an adorable one of the spider suit mixed with the cute panties which we both agreed would look amazing. This was my first completely nude shoot, so I won't lie and say I wasn't nervous, but those guys made the shoot so much fun and made me feel completely comfortable. We all played a great part in it and I believe all of our talents combined made the best shoot I've ever had. Even though it was a long day (7 hours if I remember?) and a lot of standing still and touch ups, I can't wait to work on more projects with them in the future.
Roxy: I canít wait to start working on body paint sets, and Iím even more excited now! Time for the lightning round!
1.Favourite movie: Howl's Moving Castle
2. Favourite TV show: The IT Crowd
3. Favourite Geek celebrity: Dana Snyder (he is the funniest man you will ever meet)
4. Favourite Superhero/Villain: Black Widow/Magneto
5. Favourite game (Pc, console, table top etc): Super Smash Brothers Melee/ Magic the Gathering
6. Favourite Super power to have: Mind Control
7. Favourite Character to dress up as: Black Widow
8. Favourite comic book or book: Battle Royale (I cried like a baby)
9. Favourite Artist or director: J. Scott Campbell
10. Favourite website: 9gag
Roxy: Great choices, Battle Royale made me bawl too. Please feel free to plug all your pages where your work can be found or any other projects you are a part of that we should check out, and also any final words for your fans and ours!
Alexia: My full galleries are on my website alexiajeangrey.com
I also have:
Roxy: Thanks Alexia for being a part of this interview, IĎm sure our fans loved getting to know you a little better and I wish you the best of luck in your cosplay future and I hope to see you at an event soon and get some photos with ya!
Alexia: I really hope I get to see you and work with you! Thank you very much for interviewing me.
Roxy: No problem and canít wait! There you have it Geeks and Geekettes, another extremely talented cosplayer! Stay geeky and Iíll be back with yet another awesome interview for you all soon!
-Roxy Lee GG <3
Black Widow photographer: BryAn Humphrey
Mary Jane: Body Paint- Jessie Melero, Photographer- James Holmes
Felicia photographer: David Ho
Poison Ivy photographer: Elysiam Entertainment
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February 27 2013