Ivy has been an inspiration to a number of cosplayers and we are extremely grateful to her for giving her time up to answer our questions. She is an extremely experienced cosplayer as well as being an accomplished photographer so it’s easy to see why she has over 198,000 followers on Twitter! Hopefully you can catch her at a comic con near you and say hi J
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Ivy (or Rachael to some I answer to both!) I love to be creative I enjoy making things from scratch including shooting my own images in my home studio. I have three cats and a sausage dog I’m a huge animal lover. I enjoy art and am a fan of Salvador Dali and surrealism. I love horror films and watch one every night before I go to sleep. I also listen to metal music which most people don’t expect.
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I actually didn’t know I was cosplaying the first time I cosplayed. I was at a shoot and took my Halloween costume of poison ivy I made that I was super proud of at the time. There were two Rachaels there and I got the name ivy. I enjoyed it so much getting into character I kept the name ivy and made more costumes! As I was looking on the internet I realised it was cosplay and I never looked back.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I especially like video game characters, mostly ones I enjoy playing like league of legends characters or ones I love the art and back story for. For me the story and personality of a character is a huge part in choosing who I want to cosplay next. I love getting to be a completely different person when I put on the costumes!
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
The most challenging have been some of the league of legends characters, LeBlanc and Janna were the most detailed I’ve shot in the studio. I’ve just done a Blood Moon Diana build which is yet to be photographed. That was definitely the biggest build to date! I would say I enjoyed that one the most getting to really sink my teeth into a project and get creative is a big part of why I love cosplay. I also work with a designer called Catalyst Latex who make the most amazing outfits. I’m so lucky to have that collaboration and I always feel like a princess wearing their creations.
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
My outfits have honestly been a mix of trial and error and a lot of research. Every one is a new learning curve for me. I was taught to sew by my gran when I was young we made outfits for my dance shows and carnivals and for my Barbie dolls so that helps a lot. I am loving working with craft foam and my heat gun lately and want to do more with that in the future. I tend to break big builds down into smaller manageable sections one at a time so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
Unfortunately I haven’t been in the best of health for most of my cosplay career. I haven’t attended conventions as a cosplayer up until one I am actually going to in a couple of weeks time. My favourite one has to be MCM in Manchester as it’s one I attended many times with my friends and always had a lot of fun there. It has such a vibrant friendly atmosphere.
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
One of my most memorable reactions was getting the seal of approval on my Harley Quinn from Richard Epcar who was the voice of the joker in Injustice: Gods Among Us (he’s done so much other amazing work too) so that was a huge compliment to me.
A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?
I actually have done all of my own photography so far again due to health reasons and being in the house a lot. Luckily my home studio has been built up over time and I love it! I first got into photography when I did some shoot nights in exchange for photography lessons when I was first starting out. My passion for creating images has grown since then. I wouldn’t rule out working with photographers in future in fact I would love to collaborate with other creatives in future. I’m easy to approach, so as long as someone is nice to me I’ll always consider a request! I’m not always easy to get hold of on social media, my email is the best way to contact me.
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
Cosplay has had a major impact on my life. Since I began it has given me a creative outlet in my modelling career that I never had before. I can create images I want to exactly how I imagine them. I can become my favourite characters and it’s so much fun bringing them to life! Not only that it has introduced me to so many amazing people I’m happy to call close friends all over the world. It has definitely made my life so much fuller.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
My advice to people considering starting out is definitely do it! People often tell me they can’t do it but I always say start out small and do something manageable. Building huge detailed cosplays doesn’t happen overnight. It’s all still a major learning curve for me and I have so much I want to improve on. The cosplay community is also really helpful and there are lots of groups and forums out there to meet people who are more than happy to give advice and support. I love to encourage and see people joining the community!