Cosplayer Spotlight #01: Ashta Nightrayne

By Rizwan Merchant


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Nicole Luke, I am 21 years old. I often go by my cosplay name: Ashta Nightrayne. I have been cosplaying since 2004. I have lived in various states and finally settled down in Southern Louisiana.

Do you have any websites or facebook pages?
This is my cosplay facebook account.


When did you start Cosplaying?
I started cosplaying in 2004 going to a convention called Sakura-Con. It was only one day, and I always wanted to go to oneso I dressed up as Mew Ichigo. Then it wasn’t so spot on nor many people cared how well the costume was done. The time of Film Cameras and all!

What got you into Cosplaying?
Seeing all the amazing cosplayers and costumes online really inspired me to try my hand at making costumes-that it just wasn’t for Halloween.

What is your favorite cosplay you’ve made (or that you’ve done)?

Thus far, my favorite is still the Bride Witch from Left 4 Dead 2. Sylvanas would have been my favorite, but she is not 100% complete. I’m remaking the whole thing.

How do you determine what to Cosplay as in characters?
It takes me a while, but I really love when friends and people suggest things. Then I determine if I like it or some cases if I know what it is from.

Do you enjoy cosplaying?
Absolutely! Surprisingly, it has helped me find so many new friends.

Do you have any Dream Costumes you want to make or do?
I have several. Tyrande Whisperwind from World of Warcraft, The Dark Knight Sparda from Devil May Cry, Silent Night Sona from League of Legends. So many to name!


Out of all your costumes, which was the hardest to Fabricate?
The current costume I am making now! This is the first time I have ever fabricated wings, so Blackthron Morgana is really challenging.




What are some cosplays you are currently working on?
Current Cosplays I am working on are Blackthron Morgana, Fifth Age Taric, Silent Night Sona (All from League of Legends), remaking Lady Sylvanas (World of Warcraft) and working on other side projects when I am not cleaning or cooking.


Which costume are you looking forward to wearing in the future the most?
Surprisingly, Silent Night Sona, though even more to what is on my dream cosplay list.


Do you think you will ever retire from Cosplaying?
Maybe one day, though I do hope by then I have a little one that enjoys it as much as myself and help them fabricate and make costumes.


Have you ever considered wearing costumes outside of conventions for daily wear?
I have and did. From meet ups to just every day wear, you would be surprised how comfortable most of the costumes are. Heck, even just wearing a wig out and about is very comfortable.


Do you fabricate/make your own costumes or buy them?
I fabricate/make 90% of all my costumes. Once in a blue moon, I can find something really cool to modify, but other than that, all hand made.


In the World of Cosplaying:

Do you or have you participate in any contests? (Convention, online, etc)
I do for the giggles of it. I know I don’t have anything truly amazing to show off other than skills with make-up. Maybe someday I will present something truly awesome.


Have you won any awards if so what or which?
In 2010, I entered as a group into a contest at a convention. We were awarded as a whole, best make-up.


What was the first event/convention you went to?
My very first convention was Sakura-con 2004. It wasn’t till a year later before I went for all three days.


What is your standing on Handmade vs Store bought cosplay?
My standing is very neutral. If you know you are not skilled in making costumes and such, then by all means go ahead and buy your costume. Though, this does not mean enter into a contest that many others spent hours and hours to work on their costumes and on top of such, lie about said costume to try to win. It is very frowned upon.


How do you feel about those who Cosplay getting into character? Do you get in Character as well?
Often I find myself getting into character for photoshoots, but not for the whole time in costume. Sure once in a while I tend to slip into character if instigated. As for others, sometimes, it is fun to watch them start acting like the character. Some take it too far.


Is there anyone you always wanted to meet and have a photoshoot with?
To be honest? I really want to meet Shadowglave Cosplay in person. Once I get a druid set done, I would love to have a shoot with him. There are several Louisiana Cosplayers I want to have a shoot with as well. Whenever we get around to cosplay the same thing that is.


Personal Experiences:

Can you share a few tips for beginners from your experience?
Never tackle something you know you are not ready for. For example: I always wanted to cosplay The Dark Knight Sparda from Devil May Cry, have wanted to cosplay him since High School. I know I am not ready, and still not ready to try my hand at the complicated processes to even start with his design.


It is okay to ask questions. If you have a question, you can always ask another cosplayer for help.


What are the positives and negatives of Cosplaying in your opinion?
Positives: Meeting amazing new people, going through the whole experience of making costumes, chatting with others, and more.
Negatives: Nasty comments, being compared to others, general little things of that matter.


Have do you deal with negative and positive feedback on your costumes?
I just ignore it the negative and embrace the positive. Negative will never get you anywhere to do better.


Any words of wisdom for aspiring Cosplayers?
Take your time, set goals, and try-even if you cry, even if you hurt yourself. Try. Try for something you love even if everything seems to fall apart. Just remember. Hot Glue and Safety pens are your dearest friends when it comes to cosplay.


Outside of Cosplaying: 

Do you have any hobbies other than Cosplaying?
Outside of cosplay, I am baking, playing World of Warcraft, hunting facebook, and doing little housework. Along with this, I help others when I can and help out Louisiana Cosplayer Group as much as possible.


Do you have any helpers (pets) that often ‘help’?
Ezio, my feline companion, loves to steal my craft foam scraps when ‘helping’ me. Then Sno-runt, my glorious canine model, lays at my feet and sometime wears some of the armor I make.


Is there anything you do outside of Cosplaying that gives you ideas of what to do for a costume?
It is what I dub, the Cospalyers Curse, when baking, going to the store I can see something, pull it apart and figure out what to use it for in a costume or concept. Just by seeing it, that first thoughts of “oo! I can use this” runs through my mind, or just mark it off for a later project.



Final Words to the Readers:
Never give up. If you want to cosplay something, don’t let the internet push you down. Do not let those rude people cause you to give up because of your height, your age, your body type.  Anyone can cosplay, as long as they have the heart, dedication, and work to pull of something amazing. I know it can get hard, and things just don’t go right but try and try again or else, those rude people win and only damper your spirits.
It doesn’t matter if you are skilled, if you are overweight, or even if you have a handicap. You are you, you are an amazing person that has the talent and skill to attempt something many have not. You are strong spirited, and no one should ever cause you to question that.


More importantly, have fun. Cosplay is about having fun. No matter what some label it as. It is meant to be fun and don’t forget, it is okay to ask questions and seek advice in your endeavors in cosplaying.

For more on Ashta Nightrayne visit her facebook page.