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. In 2018, I was lucky enough to work with Henchmen Studios on behalf of Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm and I was the official Cosplay model for Orphea when she was announced at BlizzCon 2018. Cosplaying is an exciting journey and I look forward to future projects and events as my journey in the world of Cosplay continues.

-+- Updates -+-

December 27th, 2018
I was anticipating writing a summary post for 2018 and it would be a breeze since last year was such a tough year. I'm actually going through a family tragedy right now so updating here is just a chance to distract myself for a bit. Recalling this year in terms of costumes and conventions, it was quite a change from previous years. It seemed like things were going to be the same as usual and then I was given the amazing opportunity to work with Henchmen Studios and that became a highlight of my year, and of course, my Cosplay life in general.

My only Cosplay project that I worked on myself for the year was my Sakura Kinomoto school uniform costume. I worked on it during the winter between January until March. It was a pretty fun project as I love the final look that I achieved. The skirt didn't work out exactly as I wanted it to, but overall it looked really nice and I got a great photoshoot of the costume at Toronto ComiCON in the spring. I did intend to make one or two other costumes during the year, but with some major events like the Nominoichi at Anime North, the Nerd Market at U of T and then working with Henchmen, they all became big focuses for me. I did debut the Twinkle Snow Miku costume at Fan Expo, which was a costume I purchased from a Taobao seller back in the spring. That was a fun costume to wear since it was very flowy and pretty. I upgraded my Sakura costume in time for Anime North with Sakura's dream wand prop that I bought from another Taobao seller. It was a great addition to the costume and Sakura was really nice to wear at Anime North and Pretty Heroes.

I ended up going to six conventions/events throughout the year. The events were: Toronto ComiCON, Anime North, Pretty Heroes, Fan Expo, BlizzCon and Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show. Anime North was interesting since it's always my major con for the year. It was the first year since 2003 that I didn't have hotel space so I got a lift to the con each day. That was kind of handy for the Nominoichi since it made it easier to take my leftover goods home and organize things. I thankfully do have hotel space for 2019, though. I did fairly well at the Nominoichi or at least as well as most years. The event was still extremely hot, but not as terrible as some previous years, but as usual it was an exciting and fun experience.

I attended Pretty Heroes for the first time in the summer. It was neat to finally see since my friend Ammie has been a Cosplay guest at it for years and she loves the con. It was at the Science Centre and the con ticket included access to the Science Centre exhibits and I always love exploring the Science Centre. I have a great love for a variety of magical girl Anime so I found a lot of the artists and vendors selling at the con were right up my alley and I had a good time. I know next year the con will be at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and I'll try to attend it again for a day since the con has a strong theme and was pretty fun.

Fan Expo was interesting enough. I loved the Dragon Ball Tour booth. It was fun to re-wear my old Bulma costume to get some photos with the Dragon Ball photo backdrops. I was also able to win tickets to next year's event so I'll definitely be going to Fan Expo again.

Post-Fan Expo was a very busy period for me. It was the one year anniversary of my mother's passing, which was quite solemn. At the same time, I was offered the chance to work with Henchmen Studios and that's when I learned about Orphea and I'm so glad that I took that offer. It was like a gift when I was feeling pretty low and it was so exciting working with the team and watching the costume come together in September and October. September was also the Nerd Market at U of T. It was my first time selling at that event and only the second event for the market. It was a neat experience. Not quite as busy as I hoped and I didnít sell that much, but I would consider trying it again maybe, if they run another one in the fall.

The end of October was super busy for me. I had a live interview with the MixerBlueShow through Skype regarding Silent Hill Cosplay and my horror costumes that was both very exciting and super terrifying. In the end it was a really cool experience.

Halloween was a decorating bonanza as usual, but then I had to quickly board a plane to go to Anaheim for BlizzCon on November 1st. I never expected to ever see that con and it was such a cool convention centre with such a cinematic feeling. It was truly an amazing experience to be the debut Cosplayer for a brand new character. I got to meet so many people who had been involved in Orphea's creation and I also met tons of fans of Heroes of the Storm. I'll carry the memories of that exciting weekend with me for a long time. I truly appreciate Henchmen Studios, Blizzard and Heroes of the Storm for picking me to portray the character and attend that exciting convention.

The final weeks of the year felt a bit overwhelming at times as I tried to catch up with my life after how busy I was with fittings and planning for BlizzCon and then dealing with post-con matters. I had fun wearing a sort of Casual Orphea costume as a homage to the character and my experience working with Blizzard and Henchmen Studios at the Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show. I owe my awesome friend Adrien a huge thank you for creating a crown for me so I could portray the character again.

That brings me to now. I had a fairly quiet and relaxing Christmas with my family, but things have become difficult since Christmas Day. Only time will really heal at such a tragic time. I can reflect on a year, though, that had some big highlights and some difficult lowlights. Like one of my best friends dealing with health issues, but triumphantly getting better after surgery. I've reached the stage in my life where years are pretty much a toss-up between grief and joy and you just have to hope that the joy can outweigh the grief.

Regarding 2019, I expect to attend my regular crop of cons. I'm not sure if I'll make plans to travel to a con. I actually was kind of hoping to look into travelling to a con right before I was offered the chance to go to BlizzCon so that was a nice treat. I definitely want to get a table at the Nominoichi again as I want to be a bit more pro-active with selling a few more figures from my collection to cut it down a bit.

In terms of Cosplay, I've been trying to think of new costume idea for weeks. I usually like to start a costume right around the Christmas holidays, but this year I just never settled on anything. I think I have an idea for something somewhat casual, but I'll need to wait to post about it until I find fabric first. I know that I plan to re-wear my Sakura Haruno costume if Pan finishes a new Naruto costume and I have a Dilandau costume from Escaflowne, a Super Sailor Chibi Moon costume and a Wendy from Peter Pan costume all ready to go that I need to wear at some point. I'm glad I got a chance to shoot my Candy Corn costume before Halloween to add least get that off my photo backlog although I'm still waiting for shoot photos from that. I think I'll settle on some costume projects early in the year and try to make 2 - 3 costumes throughout the year. Hopefully 2019 will be a productive, but chill year. 2018 was a bit all over the place so I could use a calm year after the chaos of 2017 and 2018.

-+- Past Updates -+-

December 8th, 2018
Today was the Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show. I've been looking forward to it for weeks, but I actually slept really poorly last night so I wasn't really running at 100% when I was getting ready for it. I debuted a new outfit. I decided to create a sort of casual costume based around the cute Orphea Cosplay dress that I bought at BlizzCon. I paired it with a pair of red contacts, some short boots, a white bob wig and a crown that my friend Adrien made for me. I was pretty excited to Cosplay as Orphea again even in a casual capacity so it was a fun experience. I just wish I had been a bit more on top of things when I was doing my makeup. I wish I had made my eye makeup a little stronger, but it still looked pretty nice albeit subtle. I did a shoot with my friend Elemental, so I'll look forward to getting those photos back in the new year.

Thankfully my friend Pan took a bunch of photos on her phone and mine so I have few pics of Orphea from around the con. A few selfies as well as a pic with Santa! I've been attending the Fan Days Show for the last 3 years and Christmas outfits for various characters have always been popular, but it was super popular this year! I would say 80%-90% of all costumes were Christmas themed or incorporated some Xmas bling. In my little Blizzard dress with no adornment, I felt a little underdressed. XD Maybe next year if I Cosplay I'll actually wear something Christmas themed. XD

The con was pretty casual. I checked out the dealer's room and artist alley. It was a somewhat small area, but there was still a lot to see. I bought some handmade lip balm, some cute Eevee and Pikachu stickers and a fanart pouch of Overwatch characters. My favourite purchase was a cute little plush jellyfish. It's dessert themed with little strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream on it and is coloured like chocolate. It has yarn tentacles to be a cute hanging decoration. It's already proudly hanging in my room. (^^) I got to see a number of friends in passing including my wonderful friend Ammie who was at the con with her bf Sean. So glad I could catch up with her. I was able to meet Santa with my friends Pan, Adrien and Mackenzie so spending quality time with my friends made the day a big success. The Toronto Fan Days event is super casual (or holiday I guess) and is pretty fun. I'll probably check it out again next year. (^_^)

I created a write-up for my new casual Orphea costume and I added it to my costume gallery with photos that Pan took of me from the con. You can find it here. I'll add the pics that Amanda took when she gets a chance to edit them. They'll probably be ready to post in early 2019. One thing to note about the outfit was that the crown was 3D printed by Adrien. He found the model and sized it to my proportions. He cleaned it up after printing and he used a pretty sparkly clear coat on it so itís super cute! The crown was one of the things that I really loved about my original costume so Iím glad that I have a nice crown that I can now use to reminisce about Orphea.

December 3rd, 2018
Just a quick update after my last post yesterday. Henchmen Studios posted the Behind the Scenes video on YouTube for the Orphea costume that they built and I wore at BlizzCon last month. It's a really neat video that includes shots from the various times that I visited the studio for fittings as well as some shots of the costume on the con floor. The most interesting shots are of the costume in progress. You can see the Henchmen team hard at work on the various aspects of the costume like the dress and the stunning relic. <3 I actually got a little emotional watching the video. There was so much of the process that I didn't get to see, but as a fellow costumer, it's incredible to see what the team was able to create and the process to go from the drawing board to the final outfit. I fondly remember the cute 3D printed model of Orphea. It was one of the first things that greeted me when I signed the NDA. That feels like so long ago! Seeing the Orphea model for the first time didn't prepare me for how amazing a journey it would be for the costume to come to life and it was a wonderful experience to be part of that journey. Hopefully that won't be the last time that I Cosplay Orphea. I have so many feelings about the character now! (^_^)

I also added a few progress photos of Orphea to the Orphea costume page of pics that Henchmen Studios posted last week. I like the shots that we did in the Henchmen Studio of the costume a week before BlizzCon when it was pretty much done. The wig and makeup were tweaked afterwards so it's not the final version of the costume, but the lighting was quite pretty to show off the nice details of the costume. (^^)

December 2nd, 2018
Next Saturday is the Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show, which will be my last event of the year. I'm still not 100% sure that I'll make it out for the event, but I'm planning for it. I have a mini photoshoot booked with my friend Elemental so I'm looking forward to working with her. I have a fun idea for a somewhat casual costume that I'm itching to put together for the event. The Fan Days Holiday Show (put together by the Fan Expo crew) is a pretty low-key event. It's really just an excuse to do some shopping for geeky stuff before Xmas. It should be a fun change of pace after the intensity of BlizzCon. I'm pretty excited to get photos of the outfit that I plan to wear so I can't wait to put together a gallery for it after the event. (^_^)

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.

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.

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