Pixie Dust Never Lies: Cosplay and Second Chances with Reini Side
Fan Interview by Teresa Martin
1. When did you first become a fan of Once Upon a Time? What is your "story" in becoming a Oncer?
I first became a Oncer in 2014 when my husband was dying from aggressive brain cancer. The stress and strain of acting as full time caregiver while working full time and single parenting a toddler was so extreme, I begged God to get me through it all somehow, and Once Upon a Time fell in my lap. It became my much needed escape, and I managed to find an hour a night to shut the world out and get lost in the story of hope that Once gave. I found an immediate connection with Regina, as our stories soon became similar….we both lost the love of our lives, they died in our arms, we were both single parents, and we both found the strength to survive and eventually allow good to win in us. (That and my name Reini is a derivative of the name Regina, LOL.)
2. How did you first start cosplaying as The Evil Queen?
In December 2014, I heard about an upcoming Once Upon a Time convention called RegalCon, and I knew I had to go - it was the opportunity to come full circle with one of the big things that got me through a critical time. As I processed attending, I thought "Why not go as the queen for a day?" My mother is a very talented seamstress and was on board for creating one of the Evil Queen's dresses. We set to work on a four month project and finished the queen's iconic stand-up collar gown two days before the convention. I entered as the Queen and was well received - the Evil Queen cosplaying snowballed from there!
3. How did you make you first costume? What was the process?
The first costume we chose was the queen's iconic stand-up collar gown from "An Apple as Red as Blood", Season 1, Episode 21. My mom and I both studied the gown, the shape, the design, scrutinized the fabric and all the tiny details that really make this dress amazing. Fabric hunting was difficult, as the original fabric was no longer available, but we found something that worked quite nicely…and we were lucky enough to get the last of it, as it too was no longer being made! My mom pieced together the pattern, using some existing patterns and creating some of her own. We did a ton of research on the collar, as it was the most difficult piece to construct…but it came down to finding that buckram and millinery wire worked well in keeping the shape upright. A black silk corset was made from scratch to go under the peplum jacket piece, and my mom also custom designed all the embroidery for me to bead and sequin towards the end of the project. As I mentioned earlier, this project took four solid months of work, hundreds of hours, many late nights, and was finished just in time for RegalCon! I'm thrilled to say it was well received, even by the queen herself!
More EQ/Regina cosplay pieces have been assembled since then, and after finishing the red gown for Emerald City Comicon 2016, I'm excited to announce the construction of another popular piece…this time from Season 5!
4. You've been to a lot of conventions. Can you share your experiences? Have you met Lana (and other stars)? What was it like? What happened?
Oh my goodness…where do I begin with that question?! Each convention experience has been vastly different from each other. Hands down, RegalCon was my first and favorite, as the experience with the cast from OUAT was so personal, and the events at the convention that Roxy Nazari and Lauryn Stewart created were brilliant and engaging. Being my first convention, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised to find that so many people wanted to take pictures, and I quickly adapted some EQ attitude for them, and continue to do so at each convention. (And yes, I do study Lana's Evil Queen expressions and postures for replication).
I HAVE met several of the cast members, and that's been thrilling! I most particularly wanted to meet Lana (as most do) because of the role she played in the dark hours of losing my husband…and more importantly, I wanted to thank her. I'm happy to say I got the opportunity to thank her during a private meet and greet. Lana is truly a compassionate and gracious woman, and her response was so kind. Meeting her was overwhelming in the best of senses…unforgettable. My initial meeting with Lana was during a photo op, and I had planned on saying her line "What the hell am I wearing!?" from Season 4 when she first saw my dress ….yeah… anyone who meets Lana for the first time knows that going entirely speechless is completely normal. I could only squeak out a meager "Hi Lana!" ::::shaking my head::::
Some of my other favorite moments were spending time with Rebecca Mader during RegalCon's banquet; I had the pleasure of being seated directly next to her. She is amazing…she can be hysterically funny one moment, and a sincere down-to-earth person the next. I love that she initially greeted me with "Hello, Sis!"
Beverley Elliott was another pleasure, as she can genuinely connect with people…that woman has some soul and sass, and I love her to pieces!! I met her in the lobby while checking in at our hotel, and my friend Amanda and I were like, "Oh my gosh, is that Granny behind us!?!?" She was so warm and friendly, and we chatted with her the entire weekend!
Faustino Di Bauda is another genuinely good and wonderful person, who I'm happy to say, is now a good friend of mine. He was kind enough to invite me and my friend Amanda to spend time with him, David Anders, and Lee Arenberg after the cocktail party the first night of RegalCon. I've got some great pictures with him on my web site.
I've met many others, including Sean Maguire, Emilie De Ravin, Eion Bailey, Lee Arenberg, Michael Coleman, Gil McKinney, and David Anders. I have stories about most of them, but it might be too long to share in this interview! Feel free to read about them at www.ReginaRedeemed.com, look under the "Confessions of a Queen" tab. Pictures from conventions are posted under the "Conventions" tab.
While meeting the stars is thrilling, I do have to say the best parts of convention experiences are seeing the creativity of other Oncers, connecting with fans, and building new friendships!
5. What has been your experience meeting fellow Oncers?
Quite honestly, the experience has been wonderful. I know you hear about a lot of negativity with the ship wars in the fan base, but I've only had positive experiences with fans, and I do my best to encourage keeping the fandom positive. After all, the entire message of Once is positive…it's one of HOPE!! There's a comradery amongst fellow Oncers, and I love it.
Interestingly enough, I discovered that many fellow Oncers are fans of the show because of having experienced hardship and tragedy, and the show taught them to hold onto hope. Having that common ground with them has created an important connection, and established a network of support for many! I'm happy to be useful in that way (being a support)…I care, and I'm here for those who need it.
6. You won our award for best cosplay. Any thoughts?
That was a total surprise!!!! I had no idea I was in the contest, as I had not submitted anything. My Snow White cosplay partner, Malerie McDonald (@Malerie_mcd) sent me a link and excitedly told me I was in the running, and I was like, "What!? Really!???" I was absolutely flattered and humbled to be neck to neck with the famous Captain Hook look-alike, and even more astounded to take the title; I honestly did not expect it! But I'm very grateful for the supportive fans who loved my cosplay – so THANK YOU!! More cosplay to come!!
7. Is there anything that you would like to share with your fellow fans of OUAT?
As Regina's story continues to unfold in OUAT, so does mine, and it parallels quite a bit!! After losing the love of my life, I thought I'd never be able to love again. But I'm thrilled to announce that I've found my Robin Hood (or rather, he found me), and we are getting married in June! OUAT saw me through a hard time, and it played a HUGE role in my new chance at a happy ending. We fell in love while I was cosplaying at the 2015 Disney Expo in Anaheim, and we are having a Once Upon a Time themed wedding…the wedding gown is even being fashioned after one of the Evil Queen's dresses! Can you guess which one? I'll be posting our wedding pictures and stories on my web site, so please feel free to check it out!
8. Anything else you would like to share?
Please feel free to browse my web site www.ReginaRedeemed.com! There are many things to see, from the construction of projects to convention pictures to the blogging of my many adventures! There is also an e-mail connected to the site where people can contact and converse with me, and I do my best to respond promptly: TheEvilQueen@reginaredeemed.com.
I'm also on twitter @ReiniSide, am new on Tumblr @ReginaRedeemedCosplay, and Malerie McDonald was kind enough to set up a #SnowQueen cosplay page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OUATSNOWQUEEN/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Thank you so much!