I interviewed Stacey Rebecca, alternative model and cosplayer, who boomed onto the cosplay scene when her Mary Jane cosplay went viral. Since then she has pursued her passion for cosplay which has led to guesting at numerous conventions, an impressive social media following and a cosplay TV appearance! Stacey tells all about what she has planned for 2014!
How did you get involved with cosplay?
I got into cosplay in a really backwards sort of way through modelling – I really enjoyed customising clothes and altering existing costumes for fancy dress parties etc, so I started bringing things that I had made along to photo shoots for a little bit of fun really. It wasn’t until my silly recreation of the Amazing Spider-Man #601 cover as Mary Jane went viral that I realised I was into this thing called ‘cosplay.’ After that I was hooked.
What is your favourite cosplay and why?
There are so many personal favourites for different reasons. Obviously Mary Jane is very close to my heart because she was the character that started it all for me. Then there are costumes that I’m really proud of because they really stretched my skills, like Liliana Vess. Then there are others that I just feel badass wearing, like Magik and Psylocke. I just can’t choose!
What do you do outside of cosplaying and conventions?
I recently quit my full time office job in order to chase my dreams of becoming a statistician. WILD. So I’m currently studying Mathematics and Statistics from home at degree level while chasing my cosplay dreams. In my spare time I am usually either gaming (Xbox) or reading comic books (mostly Batman!) I am basically a massive nerdy cliché!
Many may have seen your striking Assassins Creed tattoo, what inspired you to get this?
I am such a huge fan of the series, particularly Ezio and the values that he stood for, so when Assassin’s Creed Revelations came out I treated myself to a new tattoo to commemorate the game. For me, the tattoo represents truth, justice and family. Plus it was a nice way to express my love for Assassin’s Creed without being totally obvious. Most people don’t recognise the design unless they are a fan of the franchise, and that’s really nice.
Your Mary Jane cover cosplay photo went viral last year, was you expecting this?
I had no idea it would take off like it did. The original cover itself was spoken about a lot on the internet because of the awkward pose and proportions of MJ, and there was a fun little movement with people trying to recreate the pose with hilarious results. I thought it would be really fun to do the same cosplaying as MJ. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously at all so it was a shock when it ended up all over the internet – and not all the comments were nice. All of a sudden, thousands of people were calling me fat, ugly, hideous… It was not a good time for me, honestly. I cried for days.
You have a big social media following how did you achieve this? Any tips for those looking to increase their own online reach?
Honestly, the Mary Jane photo going viral was a good starting point – but it’s so difficult to predict what people will pick up on! You certainly can’t make something go viral just by wanting it to. It helps to keep people interested by keeping content on your pages regular, let people get to know the real you, and interact with your followers as much as you can. Make sure you put the best version of yourself forward – be positive and don’t bitch about others in the community publicly.
With such a big online reach do you ever receive any negativity, if so how do you handle this? Any tips for those who may also face online harassment or ‘cosplay bullying’.
It’s hard the first few times it happens, and I don’t think anyone can prepare you for it. It’s just a case of blocking out the negative comments and focusing on all the nice ones. Unfortunately with the anonymity of the internet, people will literally say anything that want to, and often people will just say things to get a reaction. Don’t give them one. If it’s on your Facebook page, use the ban button and take out the trash – don’t let trolls convince you that they deserve freedom of speech on your page. It’s called a ‘fan’ page for a reason. If they’re there to be rude or mean to you, kick them to the curb.
What has been the most bizarre thing a ‘fan’ has done?
I can’t think of anything that bizarre, actually! You get the regular creeps online asking for foot photos and other weird stuff, but generally people have been lovely. Someone brought me a little pixel Psylocke in New York which is one of my favourites! But honestly, my favourite thing ever is when someone brings me a hug and a bottle of Lucozade at a convention. It’s super exhausting being energetic and chatty all day, so sometimes I need a little pick me up!
You recently attended NYCC, what was this like?
It was absolutely MASSIVE, I can’t even begin to describe the sheer size of the convention centres over in the US. Obviously they have lots of high profile guests and exhibitors, so the quality is somewhat higher in terms of things to see and do, but the cosplay community is very similar. Lots and lots of cosplayers in attendance and all very polite and friendly!
At the moment you are currently working on a Deathstroke cosplay for the LSCC competition. Why did you choose this?
Deathstroke is one of my favourite Batman villains because he is an assassin, and therefore totally badass. I’m massively into the Batman games, so when the Deathstroke trailer for Arkham Origins was released I totally fell in love with him. I wanted to make the costume because it’s bigger and badder than anything I’ve ever done before, and I like to challenge myself. I also like to prove to people that I don’t always do sexy cosplays! I can do scary, I can do cute, I can do badass…! I am absolutely terrified about entering because I’ve never competed before. Honestly I just want to try it once and see if I like it and do well. If not, no big deal! It’s currently about 5% complete, there is SO much work to do before LSCC.
Con season is approaching and you are a guest at London Anime and Gaming Con, what will you be doing there?
I’ll have a table at LAGC this February where I’ll be selling my posters and a few other bits and pieces, as well as hosting some panels with my fellow cosplay guests – We’ll have the Cosplay Stars Q&A, a panel on the E4 show Geeks, a cosplay social on the Sunday and loads more. It’s a really great social convention so I’m really looking forward to it – and the cosplay guest line up is ridiculous. On Saturday I’ll be attending as Felicia from Darkstalkers and on Sunday I’ll be teaming up with Masubi for a super secret, sort of crazy duo cosplay!
You recently appeared on the E4 show Geeks, for those who haven’t seen it, how would you describe this experience?
Intense and challenging, but exciting. Reality TV is a pretty stressful experience, with a lot of waiting around and forced conversations. We were also exhausted and jetlagged the entire week, so it was really hard going! But we got to go to some amazing places and it was definitely a bonding experience for me and the girls, so I’m glad we took part.
With a vast modelling/cosplay portfolio and now a TV appearance, what is your planned career goal or dream for the future?
I’ve got another couple of years of studying before my career can progress any further, so in the meantime I’m just hoping to advance my creative skills and maybe take on some small commissions and things like that. More travelling, more big scale photo shoots and more conventions hopefully!
Overall, what does 2014 hold for Stacey Rebecca?
My personal goal this year is just to be better than I was last year. Trying to compete with other people is always a path to negativity for me, so I try to stay focused on developing my skills and bettering myself instead of comparing myself to everyone else. So this year I’ll be taking on bigger and badder projects and trying new things! I’m particularly looking forward to working with new materials like resin and fibreglass. I also plan to do more silly cosplays!
Follow Stacey Rebecca on Facebook and Twitter @StaceyofGotham
Stacey Rebecca also has an Etsy store where prints and accessories can be purchased
Meet Stacey Rebecca at London Gaming Anime Con tickets can be purchased here