Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer of the Week: Ashley Smith

Leo Nocedo :  How did you discover cosplaying?
Ashley Smith : Big Halloween celebrator and always went all out for school Spirit week but it wasn’t until my first All Day Convention at Tampa Bay Comic Con in 2015 that I actually desired to try Cosplaying after meeting so many inspiring people
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Ashley Smith : My 1st Cosplay technically was Padme for Star Wars EPISODE 2 Attack of the Clones opening night in 2002 at a local restored Theatre…but 1st that started the road to Cosplaying was a Female Gender Version of Darryl Dixon from The Walking Dead to meet Norman Reedus.
Leo Nocedo :What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
Ashley Smith : Padme, WandaVision, and a Surprise Artist Version of a character…but no spoilers yet
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Ashley Smith : The only Cosplay contest was back at the Theatre as Padme…and I actually Won 2nd Place!
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Ashley Smith :  Def prefer and enjoy armor, weathering, and especially making Weapons or Props.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Ashley Smith :  Both! I love the fun creativity and laughs making poses with fellow Cosplayers at conventions but its really a Treat when a local friend photographer captures scenic gorgeous visions of me in the characters
Leo Nocedo :Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Ashley Smith :  I truly embrace and am mostly known to Cosplay Rey from Star Wars and Captain Marvel.
Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Ashley Smith : Too many local Florida Cosplayers to count but so many throughout the US and even in other countries! My Favorite was actually a very close friend who I miss tremendously playing The 4th Doctor from Doctor Who; JR Hibbard
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Ashley Smith : My Hero Rey version as its the closest to RL approval (hopefully soon) for the 501st Star Wars Legions Every even stitch detail has to be Movie Quality and fit perfectly.
Leo Nocedo :What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Ashley Smith :  Lol…Practice techniques 1st on something else, Lots of Patience, and try different methods…but if your out Cosplaying; bobby pins, bandaids, and duck tape
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Ashley Smith :  Rey…I work so incredibly hard on that character so I can enjoy Cosplaying Star Wars with my Dad 🥰 plus I am a wee bit obsessed with Star Wars anyway
Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
Ashley Smith : Pretty much Every Time my Zippers break and my costumes or shoes start falling apart and I need help getting put back together lol
Leo Nocedo :What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Ashley Smith : Def when I met Norman Reedus as Darryl. I was walking up to meet him and my Cosplay chest buttons burst open and his crew noticed saying he would Really love to meet me now as I scrambled to fix my top blushing…then later when doing the photo op with him, I asked if he could help me steady my bow. Norman got SUPER close and personal but I didn’t catch his joke as I was so focused on not blushing and looking focused for the photo shot when I realized he keep telling me to lower my arms lower…lower…still LOWER in a deep “voice” 🤣 When the photographer started laughing and I realized my placement with what he was saying I and all the fans died laughing together then we took the shot quickly and I got a hug after
Leo Nocedo :What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Ashley Smith : I am honored to be part of Costumers with A Cause and my favorite moments have been with hospital kids and cancer survivors want to share nerd passion with me and then feel comfortable to share their battle stories…one special time was also with a Green Beret with one prosthetic leg finishing a race for cancer and he asked me to join him to sprint the finish in my Captain Marvel…I sure did in all that leather side by side with him, he hugged me, told me even after the military time he still felt his son fighting brain cancer was braver and stronger than he ever would be. He thanked me for making his race feel special as he ran alone to support his son’s treatments…boy did I tear up and lose it when I got to my car 😭Some Amazing people in the world and through Cosplay we can share such passion in moments
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Ashley Smith :  Yes…I have Cosplayed As Rey with my Father as Old Luke many times, my brother as Lady Gaga Monsters, my Husband as WonderWoman and Clark Kent, then with hubby and his brother as Daphne/Fred/and Shaggy from the Mystery Incorporated
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
Ashley Smith : Probably the one with my Father and I as Rey and Old Luke on my favorite Florida beach in Stuart FL taken by my dear friend Jim
Leo Nocedo :What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?
Ashley Smith :  Etsy for costume work as I am not skilled at sewing then Hobby Lobby or Michaels for crafts
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Ashley Smith :I struggle with my Own hair so touching up a Pre Styled Wig
Leo Nocedo :Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Ashley Smith :Haha some people actually think my Captain Marvel is the female Captain America version
Leo Nocedo :List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Ashley Smith : Darryl Dixion, WonderWoman, Daphne, Rey (3 different versions), Padme, Cara Dune, Captain Marvel, Supergirl, Lady version of Tampa Ash from Evil Dead, Sarah Sanderson, Detective Chloe Decker from Lucifer, Cindy Lou Who, and Star Fleet Medical Officer.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
Ashley Smith :Star Wars Celebration twice so far in Orlando and Chicago!
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
Ashley Smith : Haha it IS Easier without props but…I Love the Props to hand to fans for pictures, especially when their eyes light up as they turn on my lightsabers.
Leo Nocedo :Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
Ashley Smith : Only Bobby-pins and zippers…so far knock on wood!✊🏻Almost left my lightsaber in a bathroom stall once though!
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?
Ashley Smith : Soo close but no, I shop around for price and quality usually…but I get info and cards
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
Ashley Smith : Both Again! I have no problem bouncing around socializing by myself meeting fans or new Cosplayers but do really enjoy a small group or for a small period Large group gathering
Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
Ashley Smith :Wow…other than JR, I have already talked to my favorite celebrity one but in messages so think I would approach with a funny comment from personal conversations or a witty star wars or marvel quote to officially introduce myself to break the ice
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
Ashley Smith :Not yet but would…was asked for one I didn’t get to attend
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Ashley Smith : Because I stink at detailed sewing…Commission Buy lol
Leo Nocedo :If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Ashley Smith :Let your passion and heart guide your confidence in Cosplaying to ignore the haters and bullies, the charity work is the most appreciated experience ever, and…Save Up!
Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Ashley Smith : I wanted a Star Wars 501st Approved Character so I and my Dad could spread joy through Star Wars…think We are almost there!
Leo Nocedo :What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
Ashley Smith :Again, RL approval for Any of my Reys lol 😂 Its got to lay perfectly on your body shape, correct material or patterns, correct color dyes, hair style accurate,…gotta be ready to be dropped in a movie and I again Stink at sewing so have help from fellow scavengers. Hope I got there with Hero Rey soon
Leo Nocedo :What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Ashley Smith :Haha I don’t have much make up to worry about but shaping my eyebrows and painting them and spray dying my hair to go from blonde to brunette for certain characters can get Messy!
Leo Nocedo :What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Ashley Smith : The Passion a Cosplayer can bring to fans especially All Ages, All Genders, All Races, To Anyone they Meet 💗 Passion for characters and hobbies brings people together for joy and smiles…so to me, a Pro can handle any kind type of fan on the fly smooth in character, stay kind and professional the entire time, all the while creating that amazing experience just simply getting off an elevator cheering up a crying kid to when they create gorgeous photos we all feel the moment in💗💪🏻 I never thought you have to Look exactly like the character but to Honor that character and what they mean to other fans respectfully holds that character on the pedestal we admire or find joy in.
Leo Nocedo :What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Ashley Smith :Bringing Smiles, Laughs, Joy, Hugs, and maybe Inspiration just by embracing a character or universe that brings light to other fellow fans 🥰 I Love seeing others happy…makes my Month!
Leo Nocedo : Make up your own question!
Ashley Smith :What are you looking forward to at the conventions and events returning the most? Actually seeing some Smiles, hopefully Hugs or High Fives eventually, my Cosplay Friends, and fans spreading creative fun along with actual kindness as this world regroups from the pandemic
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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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