Welcome to Straywind.com!

Welcome to my Cosplay home on the net. My name is Rebecca (aka Stray Wind online). I've been Cosplaying since late 2001. I love the fellowship, challenges and creativity involved in making costumes. My forte is Cosplaying from survival horror video games as well as characters from Anime and games that I grew up enjoying. Since I began Cosplaying, I have worn over 80 costumes and I've attended over 75 conventions and major events. Cosplaying is an exciting journey and I look forward to future projects and events as my journey in the world of Cosplay continues.

-+- Updates -+-

November 8th, 2018
I can finally talk about what's been simmering in the background of my life for the last couple of months. Back in August I was asked if I would like to potentially participate in a Cosplay project as a model with the ever talented Henchmen Studios for an event in early November. I didn't know much about the potential project, but I was curious so I said yes. A few weeks later I was told that the project was a go and after signing an NDA, I was told that the project would be for BlizzCon and I was introduced to Orphea who would be a new original hero that was being added to the Heroes of the Storm game that's made by Blizzard. I would be portraying her as an official Cosplay model for the character as part of her promotion at the event. I got to see the studio for Henchmen and I meet a lot of the team. Everyone was so sweet (especially the resident studio dog, the precious and stinky French bulldog, Pepper). :3 Throughout the months of September and October I was back and forth to the studio every week or two and it was a fun process. I got to see the costume come together from muslin mock ups of the clothing to the finished pieces and the gorgeous relic as it was being constructed.

Just a week before BlizzCon I came in for a makeup test and it was the first time I got to see the costume as a whole and try it on. It was an incredible experience. Prior to the con I only knew of Orphea through a few character reference images so trying the whole thing on made the character feel real. Kevin did an outstanding job bringing the character to life through my makeup.

Attending BlizzCon was quite an undertaking. I had a somewhat subdued Halloween so as to not get overwhelmed with decorating as I wanted to clean things up before my trip the next day. That also meant that I was quite busy the night before my trip and that definitely cut into my ability to get some sleep. It was also my first time flying in six years so I was a bit nervous. Thankfully the flight wasn't until after 4PM on Thursday, November 1st, so I had plenty of time to get ready during the day. I got to meet the lovely Tracy (Attyca) and Louisette at the airport along with more of the Henchmen crew. Louisette and Tracy were both going to be models for 2 World of Warcraft costumes that Henchmen had also made for the con. The studio actually made 4 costumes for BlizzCon: Jaina and Princess Talanji from WoW, Orphea from Heroes of the Storm and the new Overwatch hero, Ashe. Henchmen is pretty famous now for their Overwatch debut hero costumes so the hype was pretty intense for Ashe.

The flight down to the con was fine. It was somewhat turbulent, but I got used to it. I was also able to watch Tomb Raider and the Incredibles 2 on my Air Canada flight thanks to the onboard entertainment system so I couldn't complain about that. We got into LAX by the evening and I was super hungry. We had to wait a bit for a shuttle and it was after 8 before we made it to Anaheim. I was supposed to do another makeup test on Thursday night, but due to some airplane shenanigans, that got postponed. Instead I was able to join the WoW models and Henchmenís seamstress Kiga on a trip to Downtown Disney. Kiga was kind enough to guide us and we had a great dinner at Tortilla Jo's. It was really nice Mexican food. Afterward Tracy, Kiga and I wandered around Downtown Disney. Sadly, everything was closing or had closed. I was able to check out The World of Disney store for a few minutes and I was able to get a couple of Haunted Mansion ornaments that I had heard about and wanted. It was so nice to get the Haunted Mansion Bride ornament without paying scalper prices through eBay. I also got Minnie Mouse ears as a cute Disneyland souvenir. I had hoped to find Haunted Mansion ears, but they were probably long sold out before Halloween. ~_~ Iím a HUGE Disney Parks fan so it was amazing to see Downtown Disney. If I ever make it back to Anaheim I really want to check out Disneyland since Iíve never been before.

At this point it was already like 2AM back in Toronto and I probably didn't get to sleep until more like 3AM EST. Thankfully I had a really nice room at the Courtyard Marriott, which wasn't far from the convention centre. The call time to meet with Henchmen outside of the con was 7AM PST so needless to say, I didn't get a ton of sleep, but of course the excitement about the con gave me plenty of energy. Coming up to the con centre and seeing the iconic BlizzCon banners and sign was a very surreal moment! Everything was really epic to see in person.

It was quite a long morning. It took quite a while for all four of the models to get our makeups done and other costume accessories together. Thankfully Blizzard provided meals for us and the food was really good. It really helped with my energy level. Henchmen Studios had its own room within the con centre to use as a base of operation and a place for the models to take breaks. I had my makeup done first by the very talented Kevin. He played with makeup options for a bit until Stephanie, the Heroes of the Storm rep, came and was able to confirm the look was great for the character. Having my makeup done professionally was quite an experience. I've only ever had my makeup done once before working with Henchmen. I'm not particularly strong at doing my own makeup especially since I'm a tomboy so I don't really wear a lot of makeup in general, but the look Kevin achieved was quite a transformation. I definitely felt like a whole new character!

Gilly, Kiga and Aaron helped me get into costume. It was quite a complicated outfit. I wore a chest harness under the clothing to give the relic something to attach to when I wore it. There was nothing like the moment when everything came together and I was in the full costume. All the models had to be ready to go around 11 and once we were ready we all got to watch the livestream of the opening ceremonies from the Henchmen room. It was awesome to see the reveals for Orphea and Ashe. I cried a little when I saw Orphea's reveal! She's such a beautiful character and her appearance, characteristics and attacks all feel like something I would appreciate in the game. Needless to say, I felt an instant connection! It made the honour of portraying the character for Blizzard feel even greater.

My duties at the con varied. Mostly I was down on the show floor to give people a chance to see the costume, talk about the character and take photos with me or just of me. Gilly and Aaron were my handlers. They helped get me through crowds, got me water if I needed it and helped to take the relic on and off as needed. They were awesome helpers! Often, Stephanie the HoTS rep from Blizzard, also accompanied us and I really appreciated her directions. I definitely will say that I've never had a costume experience quite like Orphea! First of all, the number of people that asked us how we got the costume done so fast was very high. Not that I take for granted being given such an amazing and privileged position to have the blessing of Blizzard and a costume made by an incredible local team. People were so nice about the character, though. The cinematic reveal at the opening ceremonies got people really excited about her. If I was stopped for a photo I usually ended up posing for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. It was constant flashbulbs.

I did get to participate in the traditional outdoor BlizzCon group Cosplay photo. For years I've been seeing photos from that shoot so it was an incredible feeling to be part of it. It also helped that the weather was gorgeous and back in Toronto fall is giving way to frigid winter temperatures. (-_-) The con centre is also such an interesting space. The way BlizzCon organizes itself and lights the areas creates such an immersive and almost cinematic-like experience. I can see why people are really drawn to the con.

I mostly spent my time in the Heroes of the Storm area. I got to meet quite a few members of the development team who helped to create Orphea. I have to say that it was so special to meet the people that were responsible for making a character like Orphea. I was even able to snag a signed Orphea picture from the signing area. I'm hoping to frame that eventually. (^_^) It was fun to see the reaction to Orphea in general. People really seemed to love the character. Of course, it helped that the costume was so show stopping with the way I could wear the relic and lights inside it made it glow beautifully.

I participated in a Orphea segment with the team filming for the virtual ticket stream. Stephanie talked about the character as I was a live model for her. That was pretty cool. I also did a shoot with the photography crew from Henchmen Studios. One of the cool things that I got to do was get a video on the Overwatch Payload Tour stage. Gilly suggested it and it was a ton of fun! Most of the day was spent going back and forth from the show floor to the break room until it was time to call it a day. It was kind of sad to take off Orphea. I was having such a good time and it was so nice to meet con attendees. Everyone was so friendly and made me and, as an extension, Orphea, feel welcome!

The final day of BlizzCon was much of the same. I did a quick photoshoot with a Blizzard photographer. I actually ended up being incorporated on the fly into some filming just before an Orphea feature panel started. That was totally unplanned and organized just 20 minutes before show time. It was very nice of the stage crew to squeeze me in and I hope I did alright. XD

I was also able to hit the Overwatch Payload Tour booth one more time and this time with the three other Henchmen Studios models. I'm sad that I didn't get a group selfie with the other girls. They were all lovely to meet and real troopers with their respective costumes!

Another member of the Henchmen crew, Kyle, was kind enough to wait in the shop line and picked up the key art magnet as well as the Orphea t-shirt and dress (that were revealed as BlizzCon merch after the opening ceremonies) for me. I was quite happy to buy all the Orphea merch! I hope Blizzard knows that I will buy all of the Orphea things from here on out! They've earned a lifelong customer! XD The dress is actually super cute and I'm excited to get a chance to wear it to a con in the future. :3

When it was time for me to say goodbye to my Orphea costume at the end of Saturday, it was a real bummer to take it off. I knew the relic would be taken to the HoTS office to be displayed. I've heard that they want a proper display cabinet made for it and I think that's going to be amazing. Stephanie also kept my costume so hopefully it'll also be displayed. I do hope that one day I can portray Orphea again, though.

Attending BlizzCon was like a dream. The only dark cloud for me was the fact that I couldn't tell my mother about this tremendous opportunity. I still wish I could tell her that her support of me with Cosplaying and teaching me to sew would one day give me this Cosplay modelling contract. I know she would have been so proud of me.

The trip home was not the smoothest. I had to return home solo. I was up and out of my hotel room before 5:30AM and I had 9AM flight to San Francisco where I took a giant Air Canada jet back to Toronto. It was a bit of a roundabout route. The plane was delayed in San Fran and the customs line was dreadful back in Toronto. At least the food at San Francisco airport was great (definitely check out Napa Farms Market in the International departures area of San Fran if you're ever stuck there). I was able to watch A Quiet Place and The Meg as well as some tv shows because the plane was so delayed on the way back. I didn't get home until after 10PM EST so it was a very long day, but I made it home in one piece.

If I was given the chance, I would attend BlizzCon again in a heartbeat. The convention almost had a glow to it. The community is quite vibrant and the con is cinematic. I can see why it's a fan favourite con and why so many people go back each year. I'll forever be thankful to Henchmen Studios for offering the modelling position to me and for Blizzard accepting me as their official Orphea Cosplayer. I think she'll add an exciting new dimension to the HoTS game and I can only see her popularity growing in the future. I'm so thrilled that she'll be headlining the marketing for the game in the future. It's awesome to see a girl character have a position like that. Now I have to return to my everyday life, but I'll definitely look back fondly on the dream come true that was BlizzCon 2018!

I've added a costume page for Orphea to my costume gallery featuring some photos that have been sent to me or that I've found around the net. If you're looking for more detailed information about the costume and my experiences with the Henchmen crew as it was being put together, then be sure to check it out here.

-+- Past Updates -+-

October 27th, 2018
My last update was just last week, but it's actually been an extremely busy week for me. The photoshoot that I did for my Candy Corn costume from Costume Quest went really well. At least I think it did. Last Sunday we gathered together five costumers for the occasion. My friend Pan was the Statue of Liberty, Slothcore Jen was the Space Warrior, my friend Rin was an adorable Unicorn and my friend Mackenzie put together the Pumpkin costume in the last couple of days before Sunday's shoot. XD We spent a lot of time outside and took some photos in front of a couple of random houses that were decorated. Our photographer Elemental was kind enough to ask each homeowner if it was ok. We also went to the field behind Upper Canada College and took some fun photos there. I have no idea how well the photos turned out in terms of how I looked. With the cold and the constant movement, my wig was probably a mess and the candy corn hat kept falling off, but we had a blast. It was fun to wear a truly Halloween inspired costume just a couple of weeks before the holiday because regular folks were so nice and understanding and it really gave me a Halloween feeling. I've been so busy since early September with a project that I haven't had that much time to get excited for Halloween so this shoot really hit the spot. We also have to thank Adrien as well as Jen's boyfriend, Brian for helping out with the shoot. It was a great evening! Elemental should be sending out preview shots from the shoot soon and I'll have the full set back in a few weeks. It'll be too late to share the pics for Halloween this year, but I'll have some fun pics to share on social media for Halloween 2019. (^^)

I still can't write about the project that I'm currently involved with, but I'll be able to talk about it soon. Just a few more days until Halloween and then afterward all will be revealed. I'm really happy that it's almost time because keeping things under wraps, especially now that the event is so close, has been driving me up the wall. I'm glad the cat will be out of the bag soon! :3

Finally, my contact from the MixerBlueShow team sent me a copy of my Cosplay interview segment from the Silent Hill MixerBlueShow episode from last week. I uploaded a copy to YouTube and you can find it here. I added it to the Around the Web section of this site as well where I post videos and interviews that I've done over the years. It was such a cool experience so I'm still so thankful that I was contacted to participate.

October 18th, 2018
It's been a busy week for me. My friend Amanda finished editing the shoot photos of my Snow Miku costume from Fan Expo and sent them to me. I resized them and added them to the Twinkle Snow Miku costume page, which you can find here. Overall, I'm really happy with how they turned out. She really transformed some pretty simple con backdrops into pretty settings. The spinning photo that shows the costumeís flow is my favourite. :3

Last night I had the exciting opportunity to participate in a live webcast discussion about Silent Hill for the MixerBlueShow on the Mixer platform. I was asked to be part of the show to discuss my costume work and I even got into the spirit of it by re-wearing my Lisa Garland costume for the interview. I was originally approached because of my Lisa costume and it was a really neat experience. I was super nervous about it, but I got over my nerves just before show time and I think it went pretty well. I rambled quite a bit so I'm not sure if I gave the best answers, but it was a super neat experience. I know photos of my Lisa (Silent Hill), Sam (Trick 'r Treat), Maria (Silent Hill 2) and Heather (Silent Hill 3) costumes were included and it was cool to remember some of my older costumes. It's been quite a while since I made a survival horror game costume and I really do miss it! I'm excited for Resident Evil 2's remake. Maybe that'll give me inspiration to make something new! Thanks to the team at MixerBlueShow for including me in the episode! Everyone was super friendly.

In costume news, Pan and I have organized a small Costume Quest photoshoot for this Sunday with my friends Jen and Rin and Amanda will be the photographer. The costumes are basically silly Halloween costumes made by kids. Iíll be the Candy Corn and my costume was made by my friend Pan. Weíre aiming for an evening shoot so Iím kind of excited to see how thatíll go. Too bad itís going to be fairly cold that day! Hopefully we wonít freeze!

I wish I could say that I'm heading into a period of calm, but Halloween will be here before we know it and right after Halloween (November 1st) I'll be heading out on a business trip. It's going to be pretty exciting and I'm really nervous about it, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it goes (and talking about it once I'm there). In the meantime, I need to get things sorted out for Halloween and hopefully not get too overwhelmed with decorating. XD

October 11th, 2018
Just a quick update. The Nerd Market event at U of T nearly two weeks ago turned out to be a pretty fun time. Things ran pretty smoothly and setting things up and even getting to and from U of T wasn't horrible thanks to a lift there from my father and a lift back from my friend Stillvisions. It was a bit slow crowd wise. I had heard that the first Nerd Market back in March was super busy throughout pretty much the whole thing and was wall-to-wall people at times. Honestly, it was fairly empty throughout the whole thing this time. There was a fairly constant trickle of people and it was nice to be able to breathe a bit and chat with attendees, but it definitely was not as popular as the original event from earlier this year. I still sold alright. I made over $300 and did move a few trading items and gashapons. It was nice that several of my Pokemon Re-Ment Terrariums and some Sailor Moon capsule items were able to find new homes. My basement is happy. XD I've heard that the event will probably be running twice a year so another one will happen in the spring. I would probably skip the next one since it runs pretty close to when you can register for the Nominoichi at AN and I don't think the crowds will return with gusto again. I would consider returning for a fall event if I have enough things leftover from AN and accumulating to sell. It's a decent in-between event, but not really a good replacement for the crowds and experience of Anime North's Nominoichi (although, it was nice that it wasn't extremely hot like the inferno of the Nomi). My friend Adrien has an idea about how I can better display some of my small bagged items using a carrousel display that Iím commissioning him to build for me. Iím excited to see how that turns out and how it frees up some space on my future Nomi table and makes it better organized.

Cosplay wise, I'm still in a holding pattern. I have a lot on my plate right now and I have not had time to go fabric shopping. Iím kind of disappointed to go this long without picking up material, but once we hit November things will loosen up for me. I should be doing a Costume Quest shoot featuring the super cute Candy Corn costume that my friend Pan made for me for Christmas a couple of years ago later on this month. At least I have that to look forward to and of course, something else coming up in a few weeks as well as a potential exciting opportunity for next week. :3

September 27th, 2018
I actually had an update paragraph almost totally written up back in mid-September, but I never got a chance to finish it and update this site. September has turned out to be a pretty hectic month for me. I thought things would calm down considerably right after Fan Expo, but it's been like a cascade of new opportunities and an unexpected turn of events.

The first big news event came just a few days after Fan Expo. I learned from my older brother that he and his wife are expecting and I only just learned that they're expecting a boy. I'm going to have a little nephew in a little over 6 months! Such big life changing news! I'm going to be an aunt and it's pretty exciting. (^^)

Also, a very interesting opportunity has come up that'll be happening in November. I can't say much about it right now, but participating in prep-work for the event has been really fun and also very surreal. I can't wait to talk about my experience after the fact when I can share details.

This unexpected turn of events has actually impacted my drive to Cosplay. I had hoped to get working on some costume stuff, but I've been a bit overwhelmed with everything going on. I also have yet to get the chance to go to the fabric district to look for fabric for my Hitomi (Escaflowne) costume. I'm a bit disappointed about that since the summer weather is now behind us. I'll have to brave colder temperatures when I get a chance to go to the fabric district. I do hope that I can make a trip downtown before Halloween. One of the hopefully better stocked Spirit Halloween stores is down in the Queen and Spadina area and I really want to check it out.

Over the last few weeks I've been exploring as many Halloween specific stores and stores that carry Halloween items as I can. So far I've been to Spirit Halloween, Michaels, Dollarama, Halloween City, Walmart and the Disney Store. It's so fun to see what stores carry. I'll be travelling immediately after Halloween, unfortunately, so I won't be able to create as elaborate of a display as I usually like to for Halloween this year. Hopefully I can still put together something fun for the trick-or-treaters. I say I won't be able to be that elaborate, but my love for Halloween decorating cannot be restrained so Iím sure itíll still be pretty intense. XD

I had hoped to do a Dilandau (Escaflowne) shoot this month or in early October, but I wanted to shoot with my friend Pan and sadly she doesn't have time to touch up her Merle costume. Itís getting kind of cold for her so I guess we'll hold off on that until the spring. Hopefully we might be able to do a Costume Quest shoot at least with the Candy Corn costume that Pan made for me last year. She has the Statue of Liberty costume from the game and my friend Jen made the Spaceman costume. We know a few people that wanted to do a shoot of that game so maybe this October we can actually make that work. I did hear that the annual Halloween event hosted by Anime North at the JCCC will not be happening this year so sadly thatís one less Cosplay event for the fall season.

Another thing that has been keeping me quite busy over the last couple of weeks has been preparing for the Nerd Market down at U of T. It's almost time for the event as it's happening this Saturday. It hasn't been quite as crazy as preparing for the Nominoichi as I at least don't have to worry about creating reservation lists and posting photos and item descriptions in advance online, but getting everything packed up and figuring out the logistics has still been quite time consuming. I didn't make it out to the first Nerd Market so I'm excited to see how the event goes and hopefully the things that I'm bringing will sell well. Would be nice to make a dent in the small items that I have so for next Nominoichi I can focus a little more on selling scale figures.

I have still been trying to squeeze in some me time some evenings. I bought the new PS4 Spider-Man game (I actually pre-ordered it from Amazon last year in the summer) and I've been really enjoying slowly playing it. I'm about halfway done now and it's a great game. Spider-Man has always been one of my fave Marvel heroes and I love that the game plays a lot like the Batman Arkham games. I so miss that franchise so this really scratches that itch.

Finally, I'm still waiting on my Snow Miku shoot photos from Elemental from Fan Expo. She posted a couple of preview pics that look super pretty so I'm excited to see the rest of the shoot pics. When I get the full shoot pics back I'll be sure to share them here. (^_^)

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