“Honestly, I think it was pretty awkward for the entirety of the convention,” says Marie Grey about New York Comic Con 2009, her first time in costume. She dressed as Soi Fong from Bleach, and despite the awkwardness, she wanted to go back for more. “I had met some incredible people while I was there, and I decided to keep going to conventions just to hang out with them and meet more people.”
Grey is relatively new to the cosplay scene, and she admits, “I didn’t really take costuming seriously until Katsucon 2012, when I started creating my own costumes.” Cosplay and conventions weren’t something Grey got into for attention; she was just looking to meet new people and have some fun. “I live a pretty regular life, and conventions are just another way to hang out with awesome people that share the same interests as myself.”
“Conventions are just another way to hang out with awesome people…”
Grey thinks her days spent outside of conventions are indeed regular. “My typical day is pretty boring,” she says. “I work at an accounting firm and often work 10-12 hours a day. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted.” If Grey isn’t working on a costume or rushing to get ready for a convention, she spends many of her evenings relaxing at home. “Relaxing usually includes watching Netflix or playing video games with my boyfriend.”
With video game and comic characters being Grey’s favorite subjects for cosplay, it comes as no surprise that Grey is an avid gamer and comic book reader. Right now she’s keeping up with New 52 – Batgirl. “I just adore everything that Gail Simone writes,” Grey says. “She’s been such an inspiration to me and her run on Birds of Prey is what kept me interested in comics when I was growing up.”
For video games, Grey is looking forward to Judgment, Tomb Raider, and Injustice: Gods Among Us. She also plays some games as research for upcoming costumes. “I refuse to cosplay anything without knowing anything about the character,” she says. This has recently led her to play some Wakfu, from which she’ll be cosplaying a Feca’s Shield at Katsucon this year.
If her fans miss Grey at Katsucon, they can see her every day in July with the 2013 Women of Comicbook Cosplay Calendar. “I decided to submit some of my Black Canary photos,” Grey says. “I’m forever thankful to [Derek Fuego], as being chosen to be in the calendar has also allowed me to meet some of the other women in the calendar. I’m even collaborating with Bethany Maddock and Destiny Nickelsen at Boston Comic Con 2013!”
Meeting new friends, attending conventions, and making costumes is something Grey plans on doing for awhile. “While I honestly can’t say where I’ll be in five or ten years, I can say that I don’t plan on leaving the costuming scene anytime soon,” Grey says. “While I’m quick to admit that my day job is most certainly my least favorite part of my life, it pays the bills and it allows me to keep a flexible schedule to attend all of these conventions in the first place.”
While Grey’s day job is with an accounting firm, she did study criminal justice and legal studies in college. With this educational background, an interest in comic book heroes, and a talent for making amazing costumes, one might be tempted to think Marie Grey could also be a superhero at night. “I’m far too clunky to be a vigilante,” she says. “I’m also terrified of heights. I was always a nerd in high school and college, so I think I’ll keep it safe and stick to my day job.”
“Everyone is as good a person as they act outside of cosplay.”
Crime-fighting might not be for Grey, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t do her part to try to make the world a better place. She’s loyal to her friends, and her Facebook page constantly has a promotion for someone she knows. “I’m all about supporting other people in the cosplay scene: cosplayers, photographers, artists, etc. I think it’s important to remember that everyone here started from nothing and it’s nice to help other people out once in a while,” she says. “Everyone is as good a person as they act outside of cosplay. So when a genuine person has something to promote, I’m always there to help them out.” This attitude has led Grey to find some great products and services to help her in her cosplay endeavors. One in particular is the “Virus” hair care products from resurrect, an environmentally friendly company preparing their customers to look and smell good, even during the Zombie Apocalypse.
An even more important cause for Grey is raising awareness and fundraising for the Cancer Research Foundation. Grey’s grandmother struggled in her fight against cancer for almost 20 years, and shortly after her death, Grey’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. After many treatments and several surgeries, Grey’s mother is now in remission, but the threat of cancer is one that Grey’s family takes very seriously. She has a crowdrise campaign going now, and Grey will randomly pick one of her supporters to receive a special set of prints that isn’t available from her store.
In addition to getting her costumes ready for numerous conventions in 2013, Grey is also looking to take up photography. “I took a few classes in high school and having spent the past year in front of cameras, I’d like to jump behind one for a change,” she says. “I’m hoping to buy a DSLR and maybe some backdrops by summer. To fund this project, I’m selling signed photo prints and some cosplay items at my online store.”
Marie Grey doesn’t have much to feel awkward about these days. She’s a cosplayer, seamstress, model, video game player, cancer research fundraiser, and loyal friend, yet she contends, “I’m just like every other person… I have a regular job and a regular life, and costuming is just a hobby I’ve fallen in love with.”
Lulu photo by Soulfire Photography
Poison Ivy photo by AshB images
Zatanna Zatara photo by PixelStudios
Black Canary photo by Cozpho
Rule 63 Gambit photo by MindFall Media
Little Red Riding Hood photo by Ron Gejon Photography