We had the pleasure to exchange a few words with Ashley Rogge, an up-and-comer in the popular world of cosplay. Although new to the scene, she already has a number of costumes under her belt including a gender-bent Ghost from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Viola from Saints Row: The Third, and the extremely popular Gamer Zombie!
[UMDR] What made you want to be a part of the cosplay phenomenon in the first place?
[Ashley] Last year was my first time going to a convention at all. A friend had invited me to go to PAX East 2012 with him and there was no way I could pass it up. He knew my favorite character from Call of Duty was Ghost and he had bought me a skull mask just like his from the game. At PAX, my friend let me wear army gear he bought for his Ghost cosplay and I walked around as a gender-bend version of him.
I got stopped for pictures a lot! I stood in the lobby with my arms crossed without moving, except my head, for hours. People would come up and ask for pictures and say how badass I looked. I even had one of the side vendors give me a whole bag of little pins as well as a sketch of me standing there.
It was honestly the most fun thing I’ve done. I was never one to be photogenic, but I think that day in the lobby and pretending to be someone else is what sparked my interest.
[UMDR] Considering that you’re relatively new to the scene, are there any specific cosplayers who inspire you?
[Ashley] I have met a lot of people over the past year. I feel like I have a whole new family of cosplay friends that support me. Jessica Nigri was definitely one of the first that inspired me to go further. She’s an amazing girl. Other people that have really impacted me are James Jwanowski, Bethany Maddock, Jen Elise, Sandra Hiltz, Matches Malone, Carlos Blanchard, Pat Covey, and Macdaniel Macleod.
I have so many more people to add to that but I know I can only write so much. Meeting these people has been a real inspirational boost for me and my artistic abilities. Thank you so much everyone for being good friends to me and supporting me for as long as you have. I also want to thank Rodney Brown for his support and taking photos of me.
[UMDR] The Gamer Zombie costume is quite ingenious and well made! How did you come up with this idea?
[Ashley] There was a moment when I threw my PlayStation controller and broke one of the joysticks. In all honesty, I don’t remember why I threw it. It may have been from playing a game. If it was, it might have been Modern Warfare 3 and I actually rage quit for the first time in my life!
I love zombies a lot and it came to my mind that no one has ever done a zombie gamer. That is when the idea sparked to make this costume.
I completely gutted my broken controller and sawed it in half. The “skin” looking piece it is attached to is actually a cut out piece of an ace bandage and a lot of latex, crazy glue, and fake blood that has dried over usage. It’s cool though because it kept the nasty effect! I spontaneously thought of doing the side of my face where it’s ripped open. I think Two-Face from The Dark Knight had some inspiration in that area. It’s actually developed better over the times I’ve done it. The lining of “skin” is just latex and facial tissue. I plan on making a more realistic prosthetic to put on my face instead to make it look more realistic.
A lot of people say I wasted a controller but I see it as a way to recycle it. It’s gotten very popular, and I’ve seen various blog postings and articles about it on the web. There are people that really criticize how the blood splatter is done and the reason for why my face is ripped off, however, I say, “Why should it matter? It’s my creation and my idea. Why should I have to make it how everyone else wants it and please them, y’know?” It’s one of my favorite costumes but it sucks taking it off and being all sticky from the makeup. It’s worth it in the end, though.
[UMDR] Are there any future costumes you plan to make that you don’t mind sharing?
[Ashley] Right now, I am working on my gender-bend Reptile from Mortal Kombat 9. I also plan on doing Skarlet, Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph, a new Viola costume once Saints Row IV comes out, and a gender-bend Slenderman. I want to do a few of my favorite characters from the Suikoden series too. I am a big fan of the game The Darkness as well and would like to make my own costume as if I had the demon inside of me. Making the serpent heads would be pretty cool. There is a friend of mine from France that does artwork and I will be cosplaying one of his original characters also.
I have a long list but only so much time so they will be coming out very slowly. That will only make them come out better if I don’t rush them to be ready for conventions.
[UMDR] Cosplay has become so big in the past few years. Where do you personally see the future of the craft going?
[Ashley] I honestly have no idea other than people coming up with crazy new costume ideas. I’ve seen some amazing costumes that are mind-blowing so I can only imagine what people will come up with next.
I fear that conventions are getting more strict with what is acceptable, though. My friend Tom had to remove his Bumblebee costume at PAX East this year because he was on stilts and people were bumping into him. It’s a shame because he was fine with it last year.
I also hate the term “cosplay famous”. There is literally no such thing in this world as cosplay fame. I don’t know why people say, “Oh, I want to be cosplay famous.” Sure, you can get recognition but cosplay shouldn’t be about fame. It’s about having fun costuming, crafting, and doing what you love. That’s all I do it for. I appreciate that my stuff is getting around and I am being recognized for it, but I don’t expect to get famous or get anything back from it. Unless I’m hired for a job working in costume design or make-up design for some sort of movie, I don’t want anything but to have fun and bring a smile to someone’s face with my art.
If you’re doing cosplay to get fame, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Go to school for fashion design or something. Personally, I want to do concept art. That is where I want to make my money and maybe get somewhat famous. Cosplay is just a hobby.
[UMDR] What advice would you give to budding cosplayers out there?
[Ashley] Like all my friends and supporters say, just be you. Have fun and don’t let anyone’s hate comments ruin what you love to do. If you’re struggling with something, take a break or ask for help. That’s what I do when I can’t figure something out. Over time, you will get better with your crafting experience. If you have a question, even I don’t mind trying to help and give costume-making advice.
Thank you Ashley for taking the time to speak with us! You can follow everything she does cosplay related at the Facebook fan page Gorgeous Nightmare Cosplay. Ashley herself can be contacted directly on both Facebook and Twitter.