Cosplayer Andy Rae, left, congratulates cosplay contest winner Kevin Andrusyk at the 2015 Yukomicon. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Yukomicon chats: Cosplayer extraordinaire, Andy Rae

Rae, known for her custom costume creations, is coming to Whitehorse for Yukomicon later this month

After going on hiatus last year, Yukomicon, the self-proclaimed largest gathering in the territory for all things geek-culture, is coming back to Whitehorse for its third edition. The News caught up with special guests who will be making appearances at the Yukon Convention Centre Aug. 25 to 27, including cosplayer extraordinaire Andy Rae.

You came to Yukomicon two years ago. What impression did you get?

There’s really a sense of camaraderie up there. I try to go to a lot of small cons because I feel like they have the most passionate community and a lot of heart.

Was there a moment when you realized you’ve made a name for yourself in the cosplay world?

I don’t really consider myself as on some sort of level of fame, I just do it because I’m passionate about it. During the year, I’m actually a substitute elementary school teacher. I just kind of picture myself as the same person as five years ago who was just duct-taping stuff together.

Have you told any of your students about your costume-making?

There was one girl who, I gave her my Instagram, she really wanted to make cosplay stuff and I got a message from her a month later and she said she had made her first costume ever. It was Elsa from Frozen and she never would have done it if she hadn’t had somebody show her that she could believe in herself. It was very sweet. In certain schools, I’ve literally spent 40 minutes talking about Call of Duty with some Grade 6 kid. I think they just like having a teacher that they feel they can connect with.

When did you do your first cosplay?

I made my first cosplay costume about five years ago and it was when I just found out about the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. It was Lady Loki from Thor, it was awful. The horns were made out of clay, which was a nightmare and so heavy, there were bolts to attach, it was just really poorly-crafted but a lot of fun to make.

Is there a costume you want to do but haven’t gotten around to yet?

There’s a character in League of Legends, her name is Nami. I want to challenge myself and start experimenting with silicone and prosthetics and this character has a full-scale mermaid tail and I would love to sculpt and cast a working mermaid tail and be able to actually do an underwater shoot, so that’s the sort of dream.

What’s been your most complicated build?

I’m doing a partnership with Twitch and Blizzard Entertainment and they’re supporting me making a cosplay for BlizzCon, so I’m making the Necromancer from Diablo. This is actually one of the most detailed armours, if not the most detailed armour, that I’ve ever created. It’s full head-to-toe, helmet, massive shoulders, the swords — it’s going to be a real doozy, this armour.

How do you deal with negative comments about your cosplays?

You’ve just got to let trolls be trolls. You have to realize that if you’re submitting your photo out there into the void, you might be met with really wonderful praise but it could also be met with really harsh criticism. There’s nothing you can do except laugh it off. A few years back, we did armoured Disney princesses and that went really viral and there, a lot of people were complimenting our craftsmanship but people found other stuff to attack. You’re never going to satisfy every single person out there.

Tell me a little about the workshop you’re leading at Yukomicon.

It’s going to be a hands-on process of creating a small armour piece. I work with thermoplastic materials and that can be daunting for people, so this is really trying to show that you can make armour in the way that I do and it’s really not a super scary thing.

On Instagram, you have a few pictures of your Sailor Jupiter cosplay. Why’s she your Sailor Scout of choice?

Jupiter is like the ultimate sort of duality character. She encompasses so many different things about being a woman. She’s very strong and she’s very smart. But I also love the fact that she’s goofy, she’s silly, she loves to cook, she chases boys, she just has a real well-roundness of her character I feel encompasses my personality. I feel very strong-warrior, but at the same time, I have my girly times.

Interviews edited for length and clarity.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com