Truely a cosplayer who needs no introduction. The gorgeous (beautiful, mega-pretty, extraordinarily amazin—OK I’ll stop now) Alexia Jean Grey is our feature this week and she has been featured on many websites and costumer guest at conventions. Read below for the full interview…
We know it’s a bit harder to resemble a real character rather than a fictional character like a comic book, but if you could pick one Asian film to recreate, what film would you choose and which character would you cosplay as?
AJG: I don’t think I could ever pick a specific character but I am in love with the story of Battle Royale. Even though Shogo is a male character I find him to be my favorite , he is always calm even in the worst situation possible and I love how he is able to handle every situation with his experience and his intelligence about the game.
Tell us a bit about your trials and tribulations when it comes to sewing costumes. How did you learn to improve?
AJG: By making mistakes, it’s always the worst fear for every costumer about constructing pieces wrong but that is how you are able to learn and improve. I noticed when I need to finish something quickly is when you will run into the biggest problems and you have to be creative to get the costume wearable. All of costuming is practice, four years ago I had trouble sewing on simple things like buttons or snaps and now I can hand sew them in five minutes. Just be patient and you will learn more and more with each piece you make.
What do you think is a more important quality in a female character; sexiness or empowerment? How does this decision relate to your costume choices?
AJG: Honestly a bit of both. Every week there is a new article about how female characters are drawn “to sexy”, but honestly part of empowerment is confidence. Not to say females have to be wearing skin tight clothing for it to be sexy but confidence is a big key. When I am picking a costume I pick based off the character’s personality and roles throughout there stories, and although I stay true to the character’s designs I like to put my own spin on it to make the character fit me. I get a lot of fans asking for me to do a certain character or costume one example being Emma Frost, while I have seen some ladies make amazing Emma costumes I have no emotional attachment to the character and part of costuming to me is more than just the outfit. While yes it a sexy costume I wouldn’t feel like myself in it there for lack of confidence.
You have been known to put alot of emotions into a shoot. How do you channel this emotion in order to make an effective shoot?
AJG: Most of it comes from confidence mixed with believing in your role. To make an outstanding shoot takes more than just being beautiful and having the ability to pose. Your selling a story in a photoshoot about your character. I have talked to a lot of people who are just starting off with costuming and modeling and there is always that misconception that if they don’t have extravagant armor or things that light up that they will just be lost in the bunch. I always strive to say that is untrue. My Black Widow costume is probably the fan favorite, yet it is my simplest costume but I always try and go the extra mile when in a photoshoot with acting out the role. The key things though in every photoshoot is your facial expressions, if your a villian show the evil through your eyes and if your a hero stand tall with your chin up. It’s the difference between Kristen Stewart and Emma Stone being able to show the character with your eyes.
Obviously, you are a sexy woman, but I believe self confidence plays a huge part in your shoots. Were you always a confident person? or did general modelling help you feel more comfortable behind the camera?
AJG: I was never a very confident person before modeling. I used to be very shy but costuming brought it out of me. It was easier to learn to be less camera shy in a costume because your acting a different role other than yourself. That was the first big stepping stone but also working with out costumes such as body paint or fashion is when I really felt comfortable behind a camera and now it comes easily. I think a part of being confident is knowing what your talents are. Before modeling I never really felt like I had a great skill which really took a toll on my confidence, I always wanted to model but was just to shy to do it so I ended up just breaking out of my shell and giving it a go and found a love and passion of not just modeling but trying to be a visual story teller.
Tell us about the body paint shoot and how you decided to experiment with that medium.
AJG: I have always been really in love with art of body paint. I tip my hat down to the artist’s that can make such amazing pieces on the human body. I think what really caught my eye about it is that it’s a moving breathing canvas and your imagination can be endless. I have done two different body paint shoots which were also different styles and types of the paint. When my friend Carlos Blanchard came to me with the idea we decided to use liquid latex. That form of paint gives you a lot texture which was perfect when trying to capture the movement of the Symbote. Also you can layer liquid latex to give it more elasticity which gave it the ability to stretch and tear. The other photoshoot was my Mary Jane. It was almost decided on the day of the shoot what we were going to be painting. I was talking on the phone with my friend Jessie Melero who is an extraordinary body painter and we both knew we wanted to resemble something with a comic book. It started off the idea of making clothing with the shirt being a recreation of a comic book cover, but sadly since I am a woman it wouldn’t really be able to fit on my chest very well. I brought up the idea of doing Mary Jane since there are a lot of fan art’s of her wearing pieces of the Spider-man outfit. Ten we decided basing it off one piece with the Spider-man costume tied up with panties. The process of painting was used with airbrushing as well as hand painting which ended up taking about 4 hours to do with a few breaks and touch ups. I really wanted to expand my modeling outside of costuming and I am always looking to challenge myself. With body paint you have to be confident otherwise it will show up on film and you have no props or capes to really to pose with so it really comes down to body position and facial expressions.
You recently got banned from social media because of your photos. I don’t even know where to begin on the absurdity of this. Do you have any thoughts on the internets restrictions of the arts and cosplay?
AJG: It’s a very iffy subject, because sometimes it’s not really the content of your photo’s but the attention they are getting. It’s not just with me I know a few other photographers/costumers who have had banned photography even though the content was not that scandalous. With out a doubt sites like Facebook is not sitting there clicking through everyone’s photos and banning them there selves. It’s the report button people are able to click that goes through an auto-take-down robot. I did do some research though and there is a giant grey area about Facebook’s law on photos. It say’s that they try and respect everyone’s take on art and even photo’s such as breastfeeding. Yet they don’t have someone sitting there saying “you know there covered in artwork and it’s tasteful” So they really don’t have the control even though it appears that way. I just thank websites like DeviantArt who obviously have no care about content posted, all you have to do is hit a button if it’s 18+ photo, maybe one day Facebook will do this as well.
What are some of your favorite anime films or series?
AJG: Way, way, way to many. I like everything from older animes such as Ghost in the Shell or Cowboy Bebop to more new age animes like Gurren Laggan. I am more into action/adventure animes but I also will give genres like romance for a try. I love a lot of cartoons though from Batman, to Dexter’s Lab, and Powerpuff Girls. Anything that can make me laugh or keep my suspense. I have to say my all time favorite show is IT Crowd, I almost die of laughter after every episode. If you have not seen it you’re missing out.
You are recruiting artists for a top secret project coming up. Any chance of Japan Cinema getting some hints on this said project?
AJG: It is going to be a process however I feel like some artist never get the credit they deserve and I would really love to showcase there work. The rest is top secret!
Lastly, what upcoming events or cons can we expect to see you throughout the year?
AJG: I will be a guest at next year’s Megacon and Geekopolis. I don’t have to many planned but I should be working with some awesome companies in the near future!
Want to keep tabs on Alexia Jean Grey and all her future projects? Follow her cookie crumb trail below: