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Secret Identity, Issue 1: Rikkugrape

Secret Identity is on a mission to get behind the scenes with cosplayers. Our first volunteer to shed the tights is Rikkugrape. Rikku is a Portland, Oregon based cosplayer who focuses primarily on video game and anime characters.

 

Gina 3

But always choose to be Batman.

She can be found at most Northwest comic and gaming conventions, particularly at PAX Prime as the self-confessed ‘major gamer’ says this is her favorite convention to date. Rikku isn’t afraid to take on any character, male or female. Notably, Rikku has both Zelda and Link in her arsenal, multiple Lux (League of Legends) costumes, and the most swagtastic Sinbad on the high seas.

Of course, around here, we like to call her Gina. She doesn’t mind if you do the same when you bump in to her. Outside of Rikku, Gina is a little easier to lose in the crowd. Standing at a mighty 5’1″ Gina is an art major and gamer with a conflicted set of interests. On the one hand, she “is a total loner” but can’t stay away from MMO’s like Guild Wars and Tera, or the MOBA mainstay that is League of Legends. You can find a much more in depth interview below, but we have saved what could be the ten most important ever compiled to ask our costumed counterparts, available right here:

GNR Presents: The Ten Questions of DOOM!

Gina 2

In the costume room. Also of DOOM.

1. If you could fly, sail, or drive any ship/car, what would it be?

I really want to go with the Planet Express ship. Because it’s fabulous. That, and I can’t decide between anything else and I really love Futurama. I want to be able to drive it as a car though, not as a spaceship. If I could put that thing on the road and just drive it down the I-5 (main freeway through Portland), that would be rad.

2. You are on a desert island, with only one fictional character. You know from the outset you are never getting off the island. Who do you take with you?

You know the bad guy from Far Cry 3? He is crazy, like, balls to the wall, and I feel like he would be a really great person to talk to. He will probably kill you, that’s why you aren’t getting off the island, ’cause you dead, but he’s great. He is one of my favorite characters, he is super crazy. I would probably chill with that guy.

Maybe a really old guy, full of stories. Because you’re going to have to sit there. Until you die.

Could be Booker, from Bioshock. Because, he is nice to look at, and, knows his way around a machine gun. And, can virtually beat the crap out of anything you can find on the island.

3. Who is your favorite villain?

Yes, it’s probably Voss, from Far Cry 3. I like the guy from Far Cry 4 already but obviously I haven’t played it yet. They have really good villains.

4. You set you’re flux capacitor, what date are you headed to, and why? Future or past, it goes both ways.

Ok. Ok… I don’t know.

If it was real, then I would go to the 20s, or 30s, because that would be my time. That would be awesome. If not, then it would be somewhere, like middle earth time.

5.You’re biography is written. What is the title.

Welcome to the gun show.

     Best answer.

6. You can have any item or gadget that from any universe, small enough that UPS could deliver it to your house. What are you getting?

Could they deliver me the master sword? Because that would be great above my fire place.

7. What would your rap name be?

(As quick as humanly possible to respond) MC Cracker.

Just so everyone’s clear, in every online game that’s my name. I guess I just gave it away.

8. What is one completely unnecessary item that you don’t think you could live without?

There is two ways to go with this, and I am going to go with option one: My electric blanket. I am cold as balls, all the time. It will be105 degrees outside and I will be in jeans and a sweatshirt and everyone is juts looking at me like, what are you doing? Shut up. I just want me electric blanket.

9.What is your favorite movie quote?

“You go, Glen Coco.”

10. What is your Favorite robot?

Bender.

Gina 1

a girl. a camera. a hand painted background. a copy of photoshop. does that answer your question?

If you want to stay connected with Rikku Grape’s upcoming projects, you can find her on Facebook, see her work over at Deviant Art, or check back with the ‘Bot where we hope to have more of her in the future. Below, you can find the complete version of interview, where we dig in a little deeper and, well, swear quite a bit more. Until next time!


 

What was the first thing you ever cosplayed?

The first thing I cosplayed was, technically, Edward Elric  from Full Metal Alchamist in middle school. I kind of pieced it together. After that, the one that I consider my first real cosplay, where I knew what it was and was doing in consciously, was Rikku from Final Fantasy 10.

What is you’re favorite cosplay you have done?

Ooh, that’s a good question. My favorite to wear is probably Lux. Because, you know, League (of Legends)! But may favorite was that I made was queen Allinsia from Fire Emblem. It was super complicated, and I had a really fun time with that.

What did you find complicated about making the costume?

It was a lot of applique and embroidery, and beading. It had a zillion and one details. I really like the super extravagent, super fine detail work so that made it for me. No one knew who the character was, but it was all okay because it super elaborate and I loved making it.

Why do you call yourself Rikkugrape?

It is kind of a long story, but the shorten version is, my friends use to call me Gina-grape. It was my nickname when I was little. Then, the first costume I made was Rikku. So, when I was in high school, ad made that, it just kind of stuck. People were just like, Gina Grape… Rikkugrape. It just kind of stuck and I never changed it.

You had a pretty good chance though. First convention you go to, “I can be anybody.” Some one asks your name, and guess what? It’s now anything but Rikkugrape.

Yep,but you know, I wouldnt have this really… emotional story.

Heartbreaking.

Yeah. Deep. Deep! Came with some tragedy.

What got you in to cosplay?

I started to cosplay because characters were cool and I wanted to dress up like them. (At the time) I didn’t really know it was a thing. That people did this. I mentioned Alaric already, it was for a friend birthday party. It was a costume themed one, right as I started getting in to anime. So I did that, and everyone was like “oh my god, do you cosplay? Are you a cosplayer? Thats so cool!” I was just like, wha… what is cosplay? What are you talking about. That is how I found about it.

Who are your cosplay inspiration? Who inspires you to do what you do?

I am going to go with two answers on this. The first one would be… I’ve met a ton of people locally. Even just in my immediate friend group, some of my friends have talents I never knew they had, and its super amazing to watch them problem solve and watch them go about it the way they do. For me its inspiring because each one has there own skills and they do it so well its mind boggling. So, it’s inspiring for me to see them work and want to be just as good as they are.

As for a celebrity type cosplayer, if that’s the answer your looking for, I super admire Jessica Nigri. I know people bash on her all the time but I think she is awesome. I met her in person and she was super nice. And, whenever I have talked to her in person, she has always been real and I think its cool. She also deals with a lot of crap. Some people deal with things better than others, and I think she manages to take a lot in stride and that’s inspiring to me.

If there is a lesser known cosplayer you want to give a shout out t, someone you want to direct people to, this would be the place the question to do it on.

There is a couple people. I am going to mention Britt the Badger for the insane amount of quality she put in to everything. Everything she does is 110%. She will never just do a straight stitch on a machine just because you wont see it. She will sit there and hand stitch it like, the way it would have been done at the time. She is awesome, always inspires me to take take it the extra mile.

Two others who inspire me are Pizoobie and Bonnie’s Cosplay. They are two girls I met at PAX a couple years ago, and it has been cool watching them grow. They started, just like everyone else starts, but in the last year or two they have exploded exponentially and made these costumes that have giant LED wings and are crazy.

What do you do in your offtime? You cant always be cosplaying…

I work. Except I do go to work in costume. On Halloween. Or sometimes for midnight events. My boss will be like, its the midnight premiere of Call of Duty and you should wear camo. I’ll come in full body camo. Don’t give me that challenege. He thinks I won’t, after that he never gave me another challenge.

But, yeah, I mostly work. Go to school. Live a seemingly boring life where I don’t leave my house much, unless it’s to go to the bar-cade. I’m super boring outside of cosplay. Pretty lame.

I wouldn’t say it is lame. But you did, so…

I’m pretty lame. I don’tdo very much I snowboard in the winter. There is that.

Ever mix the two? Any snowboard related cosplay stuff?

We could get some snowboard kids in there. I don’t know if you played that game for the ’64.

What about some SSX?

SSX tricky! Yeah, let’s do it!

I’ll do that. I’m going Psymon though. Dibs.

WHAAAAA?!? Lame.

School, what do you go for? Art stuff, right?

Yeah, I was going to school for art stuff, taking the year off right now to make monies. Art school is expensive.

What type of art? What do you do?

Is sewing considered an art? I was in school for apparel design. I… sometimes draw things. Sometimes. Thats about it. I am really terrible at most forms of art except I can dow eird forms of art like sewing or…

Ok, this is going to sound really stupid, but bear with me. You know hair stylists, or working with hair color, you have to have a crazy knowledge of color theory for that and I love that kind of stuff. OR, body painting, those weird forms of art where you’re like thats not a fine art!

Does music count as art (here.) I played violin and I use to sing in a jazz group. And play in a symphony. Does that count for anything.

Alright, we have to ask, did you go to band camp?

No, I never want to band camp, because I was in orchastra, and I kind of regret that, because I want to be able to say yes. Once, I went to band camp!… but I didnt.

If you could fly, sail, or drive any ship/car, what would it be?

I really want to go with the Planet Express ship. Because it’s fabulous. That, and I can’t decide between anything else and I really love Futurama. I want to be able to drive it as a car though, not as a spaceship. If I could put that thing on the road and just drive it down the I5, that would be rad.

Something about that just feels like it would be just like the Oscar Meyer Wiener-mobile.

But it would be better! Because its the Planet Express SHIP! Futurama is the best.

What would your rap name be?

(As quick as humanly possible to respond) MC Cracker.

*Laughter*

Just so everyone’s clear, in every online game that’s my name. I guess I just gave it away.

Do you play with fans or followers much? A lot of cosplayers are starting to do that.

I do it very rarely. I mostly play with friends. I’m too much of a loner. I like to plays games alone.

Wait a second. You like to play alone but your favorite game is League of Legends where you have to play with 3-5 other people?

That and Guild Wars. Its bad.

So you’re the MMO renegade?

In League (of Legends) I like to play with the same group of people. I don’t like to try out new people. God no!

Are you guys ranked then?

I don’t play ranked, no. I don’t. It’s too stressful.

Playing with the same group, do you at least win a lot?

Uh… sometimes. I just like to play with a few select people and I don’t like to change it because I get like, oh I suck. Don’t look at me! I’m not very good at League, but I do love to play it. I suck at this game, but I enjoy it.

You are on a desert island, with only one fictional character. You know from the outset you are never getting off the island. Who do you take with you?

You know the bad guy from Far Cry 3? He is crazy, like, balls to the wall, and I feel like he would be a really great person to talk to. He will probably kill you, that’s why you aren’t getting of the island, ’cause you dead, but he’s great. He is one of my favorite characters, he is super crazy. I would probably chill with that guy.

Maybe a really old guy, full of stories. Because you’re going to have to sit there… until you die.

Yeah, but really old guy is probably going to die before you.

Could be Booker, from Bioshock. Because, he is nice to look at, and, knows his way around a machine gun. And, can virtually beat the shi…. crap out of anything you can find on the island.

There is swearing in my articles, so you can say whatever you want.

Okay. But he is, yeah, he is my practical choice.

Well I think we know the answer to the next one.

No way!

Who is your favorite villain?

Yes, it is probably Voss, from Far Cry 3. I like the guy from Far Cry 4 already but obviously I haven’t played it yet. They have really good villains.

Those games are too hard for me.

Oh, I am terrible at those games. I am terrible at stealth. I like to just get in the jeep, run in, and fuck shit up. That’s why I like Bioshock. I can run in, blow up everything, and run off.

I am king of stealth. Actually no, I like stealth characters, but for MMO’s I’m talking about rogues, which is the most awkward stealth. It’s really just coming in quietly, and then blowing shit up, and flashy stabbing.

I can’t do the Assassin’s Creed stealth. Stop rubbing on me, I’ll cut you.

I have no patience for Assassin’s Creed. I want to love those games, but… arrgh!

What is one completely unnecessary item that you don’t think you could live without?

There is two ways to go with this, and I am going to go with option one. My electric blanket. I am cold as balls, all the time. It will be a 100 degrees outside and I will be in jeans and a sweatshirt and everyone is juts looking at me like, what are you doing? Shut up. I just want me electric blanket.

Electric sweatshirt.

She needs Chris Jericho’s jackets.

She does! It has a million LEDS, it has to be warm as fuck.

I would be the one person volunteering to put that sucker one.

Oh no, you wouldn’t! Because I’ve been saying I need to own it forever now. I would go everywhere in it. I would go jogging in it.

I found the old one.

No not the old one. Chain mail arms, gross. I want the new one.

I found him the old one, what was it, 400 dollars? Cheap.

Yeah, I’m going to go trade in my car for it tomorrow. Would get me just as far, just as fast at least.

Speaking of cars, next question. You set you’re flux capacitor, what date are you headed to, and why? Future or past, it goes both ways.

Kinky Tech.

Haha. Ok. Ok. I don’t know.

If it was real, then I would go to the 20s, or 30s, because that would be my time. That would be awesome. If not, then it would be somewhere, like middle earth time.

I hate to break this to you, but at no point were we like middle earth.

Does it have to be real. That was my question. Come on! That’s why I had two answers.

Okay. You’re biography is written. What is the title.

Welcome to the gun show.

Best answer.

I was waiting for that one (note: we warn them about the ten questions.)

You can have any item or gadget that from any universe, small enough that UPS could deliver to your house. What are you getting?

Could they deliver me the master sword? Because that would be great above my fire place.

That’s a hefty fee. Package weights… Alright, finally, what is your favorite robot?

Bender.

Had to be, after that vehicle one.

Im saying, just imagine that thing on the I-5.

When it comes to conventions, which is your favorite?

Any con? Oh my god, I have to catagorize them. My hands down favorite is PAX. But, it’s not the same as an anime convention or comic con. It’s totally different. And I am, really hardcore, my favorite thing is video games. It’s totally different though, nothing like an anime or comic con.

Are there any characters you want to do, but just look overwhelming?

The things like that are, you know, something heavy armor out of an MMO. Just massive, overly detailed like Tera style or one of the Guild Wars things that are just stupid (big) and could never really exist because you have transparent wings or something like that. Tera and Guild wars also have these robe designs for some of their mage based characters that have tons of embroidery. I really want to make it, but I really don’t because it would be months of embroidery.

Do you look at that aspect much? Do you worry about the amount of time you are going to put in for a costume you will wear for 2 days?

Its true. I do. That and money. Budget definitely comes in to play. Then I usually cry. I don’t want to spend that kind of money. I like the costume that is ‘oh, I can spend 70 dollars and a weekend to get that ready.’

So no tier 2 Warcraft warrior any time soon?

I actually might.

Really?

I really want to. There is three of four things on my list that I havent done that I want to do. One is a really obnoxiously large, full of fabric ball gown. Like, Code Gieas art book style crazy. I like that. A lot of those have wings and stuff like that also. Another is a plug suit or racing suit, like zero suit Samus. The last is crazy big armor. Full body, heavy armor.

Two of those sound like an insane amount of time.

Yep. And money, and I’ll want to cry about it. Hopefully afterwords I’ll be excited but we’ll see how long the excitement lasts. A month in I’ll be like, why did I do this to myself.

Why league? Why not Dota, or HoN?

I had a lot of friends playing league, so I started playing it because they were. And I wasn’t very good at it, so I don’t want to touch Dota.

For the loner side, what do you go for in the single player department?

My favorite games are MMOs actually.

This is very conflicting.

I always play with a pretty select group. I am never the one out looking for other people to play with. Yet, for some reasons I always play support classes.

So youre a complete loner and all you play is games that require other people. Is it a torment every time you sit down at the computer?

The only thing that sucks is some dungeon when you need 4 other people. I call people up and tell them it’s time to get on. Other wise I am out in the world, going solo.

With the fan page, do you ever get on and just ask people to come help you? A few other cosplayers I know use that.

I don’t.

You should, abuse that for all it’s worth.

One of my friends started playing Guild Wars and I told him we would do all the dungeons and he was like, what are dungeons. That was a rough moment.

When you meet people at a convention, and you’re in costume, do you tell them your real name, or are you Rikkugrape?

I use my real name, unless they come up to me and ask are you Rikkugrape? In which case, yes, I am Rikkugrape.

So, I remember once texting you when I saw you hit the front page of Reddit. We also have a friend who gets fed up when people tell her when and where she is popping up. She has a picture that has been a meme for a while. Do you care when that buzz starts or are you just like, whatever?

When people tell me, I just say oh cool thats nice. I don’t take it as being some awesome accomplishment, because I do post pictures on the internet so I expect they will show up random places from time to time. But I don’t get hung up on them.

Some people get super excited, and some just want everyone to stop talking about them.

I am more on the excited side. It’s cool.

How about in person? Are you excited when people know who you are or does it happen so often you don’t even notice it anymore.

It doesnt happen very often, but it happens. The first time it happened was really funny. It was about a year ago, and I made my fan page about 2 years ago. It was at sakura con, this girl came up to me and was like, are you Rikkugrape? And I was like yeah… Yeah! I looked at her really weird, because at first I was like, how do you know me? She said she followed my fan page and asked if she could take a picture. It happened a few more times and I thought it was weird. Not in a stalker-y way, but I didn’t know why these people would care enough to remember me. I don’t think I’m cool. I think I’m weird, just look at the answers to these questions. It was kind of weird, and then it became really flattering. Now it’s just kind of cool and so far no one has been like oh, your Rikkugrape. I hate you.

Do you do characters where people don’t know who the fuck you are?

Yeah, and its great. The one’s that I do from Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem has like, 105 main characters, so even though I did a playable character, The Queen, she isn’t the main character. So when I was with my friend, who was the (main character) people would get it, but when I was alone people would be say that cosplay is really elaborate, what is it? I don’t care if they don’t know though, its okay.

That would be my next question because, obviously you start doing cosplay for yourself, but once you have fans and recognition, do think more about what people think about them?

When I did (The Queen) I was like, no one is going to know who this is and I don’t even care. When I did my Lux (from LoL) costume I was like, oh my god, people are going to judge me so hardcore. But this is a character I love, so I can’t let it bother me. When I did Zelda, twilight princess zelda, I was afraid I wouldn’t look right and people are going to hate it but I love it and put so much time in to it. But then I did it, and no one said anything bad so it was a non-issue. I care what other people think because I love these characters and I want to do them right.

Do you care more about technical aspects of getting a character right, or more about a good interpretation? Do you feel like you judge a costume that you know the same way you do a costume you aren’t familiar with?

When I’ve judged actual competitions, if two people had the exact same costume and they both look equally amazing, the only thing I would look at is what they had made or what they had bought. It’s more about the effort.

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