Though fairly new to the cosplay scene, Rebecca Lindsay has got a lot of people talking with her incredible Mystique cosplay at NYCC earlier on this month. Her imaginative take on the X-Men shapeshifter had bounced around between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Imgur, Reddit and even international news sites before she left the convention. She got home to find her photo had gone viral and cosplay enthusiasts around the world knew her face.
We got in touch with Rebecca to find out more about her and to get to grips with what drives her creative gears.
What got you into cosplaying?
I loved dressing in costumes when I was little – especially because my mom was super talented when it came to sewing. As I got older my sisters and I made short films just as a hobby and since we acted in them we would spend a lot of time working on the outfits. We even recreated Tim Burton’s film Sweeney Todd and my mom helped us make 9 different Victorian-era costumes. After attending NYCC I saw how many people cosplayed and knew I had to try it.
What was the first character you ever cosplayed?
Two years ago I first cosplayed as Asami from The Legend of Korra. I mainly picked her because it was an easy costume and she has green eyes like me. All I needed was a jacket, skirt, boots, and wig – very simple compared to what I’ve done since.
How did it feel going out in cosplay for the first time?
It was really cool! I was (and still am) pretty used to wearing costumes from the short films I worked on so actually wearing the outfit wasn’t too different for me. What was different was having people recognize what character I was playing and asking for pictures. Definitely wasn’t expecting that since Asami isn’t a super popular character.
What do you think of that first cosplay now?
Wasn’t my best haha! Looking at the pictures now there are things that I would like to change but for a first attempt it wasn’t bad. It was definitely more wearable than some of the ones I’ve done lately. But if I could alter it and wear it again I would pin the wig on better so it doesn’t slip back and probably fix up the stitching on the jacket.
When did you realize you were first getting noticed as a cosplayer? How did it make you feel?
Before Mystique I never considered myself a cosplayer – I wasn’t even keen on the word. I liked dressing up but never considered myself part of that group. There used to be a show on Syfy called Heroes of Cosplay. Those people devoted their lives to making costumes and showcasing them at conventions all over the US – that wasn’t me at all. What I liked at conventions was being able to dress up however I wanted and just have fun with it. There was no pressure to make something that would please other people.
Your Mystique cosplay got a lot of attention at NYCC this year. How did that make you feel? Did its popularity come as a surprise?
It was mind-boggling how fast that first picture made its way online. I couldn’t believe so many people saw it and then recognized me as I was walking around. It was very flattering what they had to say about the costume and makeup, in person and online. I’ve always been a perfectionist and spent a lot of time obsessing over the pants not fitting correctly and whether any of the makeup smudged. Meanwhile the entire internet was praising the creativity and originality. But I think that happens with most things – the creator is never satisfied.
Your Mystique cosplay was a really original take on the character. What inspired you to do it that way?
Well, I knew I wanted to do something with cool makeup since the rest of the costumes I had for NYCC 2016 were relatively simple. I had seen a few pictures of other Mystique cosplays but they were either naked and painted blue or split right down the middle in a mid-transformation look. A blue bodysuit was a must for me and from there I decided on having the actual transformation happen off center.
What makes a character jump out at you as something you have to cosplay?
Usually, I pick my favorite characters from cartoons, comics, and movies and from there figure out the coolest parts of their costumes. For Mystique it was having two completely different looks and blending them together. It helps when I start with something I know and like because it narrows down my choices. I’m really bad about making creative decisions because I always want to do more than I can handle.
What’s your most memorable con experience?
One of my most memorable con experiences was meeting the cast of Justice League, the cartoon from 2001, and the voice director. It was so cool meeting people I’ve never seen before and only heard. Each one was incredibly nice and didn’t mind me gushing all over my childhood idols.
What’s your favorite character to cosplay?
My favorite character to cosplay is Adam Savage from Mythbusters. When I was much younger my sisters and cousins would spoof episodes of the show and it was such a fun thing for us to do. What’s great about cosplaying as a group is having all those people to work with. We all get really in to character and it’s an easy costume to wear all day. Comfort is key!
If you actually had to live as one of the characters you’d cosplayed, which one would it be?
I would want to be Mystique for sure! Being able to shapeshift at any time is one of the best powers in the world. Then I wouldn’t even have to make a costume when I cosplay – I could just transform.
What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done?
The most difficult cosplay is probably Mystique. Construction is tough but it seems like the hardest part is always wearing the costume for an extended period of time. The army pants were stitched on to the jacket and earlier that day I had ripped the stitches when trying to sit down. The whole time I had to have my sisters constantly re-pin the pants and wasn’t allowed to sit.
Have you ever given up on a cosplay idea because it was too difficult?
Nope – I’m really stubborn and when I decide on something then I have to see it through. Even if that means staying up all night to finish and coming up with last-minute fixes.
Are you working on anything new now?
Not right now. The next convention I’m going to is the East Coast Comic Con in April so I have some time – I might not even dress up for that. I’m not interested in replicating the fanfare from Mystique so I’m in no hurry to work on another costume.
Are there any characters you’re looking forward to cosplaying in the future?
Anything with cool makeup would be a lot of fun. If I had a group I might try the characters from Archer and do it in a pop art style. If I was doing a solo character I might try Maleficent – she’s got a great look!
Who are your favourite cosplayers working right now?
I really don’t know too many but I am a huge fan of Yaya Han. She’s a great cosplayer but what I love the most is how dedicated she is to creating the entire look. Lots of people will just buy their costumes online but she does it from scratch. She’s extremely innovative and encourages the rest of us to be as well.
Do you think you’ll still be cosplaying in ten years’ time? Do you have any goals, in cosplaying terms or otherwise?
I’m sure I’ll still be cosplaying and attending NYCC (maybe San Diego Comic Con by then?) in 10 years. It’s like a vacation for me and I plan it out all year long. I might not have anything like the Mystique costume again but I’m sure there are some interesting cosplays on the horizon!
Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers?
Have fun with it! No matter what happens – if your costume starts falling apart or you see someone with a better cape – if you’re doing it for fun then you’ll never be disappointed.