Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer Of The Week: Sydney Gayle

My name is Sydney! I’m a Jacksonville local, originally from Tallahasse Fl. I grew up on Pokémon, Hello Kitty and have had every Nintendo/Game system growing up. I’ve loved video games more than anything else in the world for the past 24 years and now even working full time, I dedicate 2-3 hours a day to gaming. I’m pro-Xbox and my top 3 games are Borderlands, Bioshock and Fortnite! I’m not a professional cosplay as I just got more into it in the past year, but I’ve done my fair share of cosplays since and hope to learn more in the future and meet more people in the community!

Leo Nocedo: How did you discover cosplaying?

Sydney Gayle: Cosplaying for me just happened. I’m mainly a gamer, but cosplaying has become so big that I feel like if you’re into “nerd culture” you eventually end up just cosplaying. I did my first costume last year as kind of a surprise for my boyfriend who has been on the the biggest DBZ fans and thought gifting him some bunny bulma photos would be a fun treat. From there I’ve only done 1 costume for a convention just to enjoy it in a different way and that’s where it started.

Leo Nocedo: What was your first cosplay?

Sydney Gayle: Haha my first cosplay was bunny bulma, I knew I wanted o do something from DBZ so I chose the “sexiest” thing I could pick out from the series.

LN: What are your next 3 cosplay plans?

SG: My next 3 plans include Shenron, Son Gohan and Chun Li

LN: Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?

SG: I have never been in a cosplay contest and I don’t plan on ever competing. I find that competitions take the fun out of enjoying the process and stress builds up. I do it to relieve stress!

LN: Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?

SG: I prefer “armor making/prop making” I can see just fine, but when it comes to armor and props I enjoy the challenge of using random objects to create something awesome.

LN: Do you prefer to do photo shoots at cons or at specific locations?

SG: I prefer photo shoots at locations. I work with one photography here in Jacksonville who takes his time seeking out cool abandoned areas or out of the way locations to really put characters in their correct setting, everyone uses special effects these days but it doesn’t compare to finding amazing locations.

LN: Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?

SG: I don’t prefer any character over another I just choose people who are comfortable to wear and bring me the most happiness when wearing them.

LN: Do you have any favorite cosplayers?

SG: I have 1 favorite cosplayer that stands above the rest, it’s Yaya Han, being a female asian myself I don’t have THAT many asian women role models and she brings her own oriental flare to every costume. I also find that my fave and her have a lot of similarities and I take makeup ideas and wigs ideas from her to kind of help myself envision looks. She also has gone from cosplayer to business woman and really marketed herself beautifully and I hope to be as successful as her one day in terms of clean cut overall looks and grace.

LN: What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?

SG: This is hard to answer sine I’ve only done a handful of outfits but definetly my borderlands psycho costume since I had to “cell shade” most of my outfits and my boyfriends, we also had to make multiple pieces of armor and detailed pieces and took about 3/4 weeks over to make sure we had everything.

LN: What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?

SG: Top 3 tips would be to to your research, plans effectively with a timeline to make your stuff and pack atleast 3 days prior to any con because you will forget stuff.

LN: What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?

SG: My favorite cosplay has been my goku black cosplay because it was my first time wearing a costume to a convention and being recognized as the character was a feeling that can’t be explained!

LN: What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?

SG: My worst cosplay story is when dressed as Goku I met up with other dbz cosplayers and people tried “fighting” them as a joke and it turned sour and being the only female in the group really made things uncomfortable not knowing what was going to happen.

LN: What’s your funniest cosplay story?

SG: The funniest story is when dressed as borderlands psychos my boyfriend and I attended the momocon cosplay after party and we ACCIDENTALLY won the entire contest because people voted for us thinking we were apart of it!
LN: What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?

SG: The best in character contact I’ve had was as Goku Black and while at Holiday Matsuri people came up and quizzes me on DBZ! While I haven’t made it through the ENTIRE series it felt good to chat with other with the same love for the series and I’ve kept in contact with a lot of awesome people since then!

LN: Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?

SG: I’ve only ever cosplayer with my Older sister who doesn’t totally understand it still, but she is supportive of this fun hobby and that’s all I could really ever ask for. It’s a good feeling.

LN: What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?

SG: My favorite cosplay photo is one with my boyfriend in the Atlanta’s Aquarium as borderlands psychos, he had been doing cosplay for 10 years with old friends and had lots of bad experiences and since our trip to Momocon his opinion changed and is back into it with me again.

LN: What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?

SG: My go to stores for anything relating to costumes are Joann’s and the dollar store. Things get pricey so I try to use what I can before actually buying something!! Amazon is great to but I prefer having it in person ASAP.
LN: Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?

SG: I prefer pre styled wigs by far, wig styling can get tedious and I work as a full time recruiter 50 hours a week. I have to plan my time accordingly and they are already so many options out there for you to purchase!

LN: Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?

SG: I’ve never been mistaken for anything other than who I’m dressed as, I stick with pretty recognizable characters.

LN: List all the cosplays you’ve done.

SG: Borderlands Psycho, Bunny Bulma, Human Luna from Sailor moon, Goku Black Rose.

LN: What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?

SG: The biggest con I’ve cosplayed at – it’s hard to say it either Momocon or Holiday Matsuri!

LN: Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?

SG: I love characters with props regardless of how long I hold it or how heavy it is. Making props is an art form in itself and I’m always proud to have one.

LN: Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?

SG: After wearing the borderlands psychos for a couple of hours everything fell apart and I left everything except the clothes at the hotel haha!

LN: Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?

SG: I haven’t bought any cosplay pieces at cons because as much as I love supporting local artist, things get way too pricey!

LN: Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?

SG: I prefer cosplay solo only because it’s hard finding people who want to do what I’m doing already! I pre plan outfits months in advance and I usually can’t find any one else who matches up! Unless of course I make my boyfriend dress up.

LN: If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?

SG: I did luckily get to meet my favorite cosplayer Yaya Han at Holiday Matsuri and I told her how much I loved her work, her as a person and all that she has done for the community.

LN: Have you ever done a cosplay panel?

SG: I haven’t done a cosplay panel and I don’t feel experienced enough to be helpful to others just yet, maybe one day!

LN: Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?

SG: I don’t prefer buying or making over the other, I do my best to use what I have first and then making it as accurate as possible and I’ll do whatever I have to (buy or make) to do so!

LN: If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?

SG: I would tell my younger self to not be worried about critics in cosplay. Coming from doing pageants for the past 5 years, I still don’t handle criticism as well as I know I should and I would just say “just do it” enjoy yourself and have fun.

LN: What is your ultimate dream cosplay?

SG: My ultimate dream cosplay is a secret right now, it’s in the works now and I’ll be able to reveal it in March.

LN: What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)

SG: The most difficult was my bulma bunny costume only because I worked out months prior to get into good shape and feel good in a small revealing outfit and mentally it was hard but wearing it felt so relieving.

LN: What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?

SG: My most difficult makeup thus far was definitely the borderlands psycho costume since it included body paint which is a new area for me.

LN: What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?

SG: To me I think anyone who cosplays s a pro cosplayer. Now there are people who get paid for it and sponsored, but regardless any one who puts in the time to make anything is a pro. Cosplay is entirely a hobby that some turn into careers, but overall it’s something that requires peoples hearts and souls and that is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to explore it.

LN: What is your favorite part of cosplaying?

SG: The best part about cosplaying is the time spent on making the costume. Of course the feeling of wearing the final product is amazing, but the process is the journey and truly the best part. this is something that takes my mind off stress and I can do with my supportive and loving boyfriend. I’ve found that the community is kinder than most other hobbyist groups out there and where I’ve made the most meaningful connections.

LN: Make up your own question!  I’d love to hear about everyone else favorite parts of cosplay!

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Leo Nocedo is a cosplay photographer who has been using a camera for the last forty years in many forms , in the military and professional studios in Miami and New York city . He got his start in cosplay photography attending conventions with his brother Juan Nocedo . He keeps on doing what he does to honor his late brother .

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