Comic Book Divas like many of you were hanging out on Facebook not to long ago when we all saw Alexia Jean Grey’s amazing Venom photo shoot photos, we immediately messaged Alexia and asked her for an interview about the Venom shoot and of course get her insight on comics, cosplay and of course get her thoughts as a woman in all things geekdom.
Q: We always like to start out and just ask the general question, Tell us about Alexis Jean Grey.
AJG: I (The Alexia) am just a girl with a love for anything nerdy. I spend most of my time playing Street Fighter, Magic the Gathering, and reading comic books. I used to live in Wisconsin and moved to Florida about 4 years ago. Outside of costuming I also have a passion for baking, animals, and drawing.
Q: We saw your Venom photo shoot on Facebook and it blew our minds away; were you into comics growing up or did you just get into the cosplay aspect of comics?
AJG: I always had a deep love for comics, and well my name actually developed from that, when I was little I idolized a lot of super heroines I used to check out books at the library about telekinesis and “practiced” in ho
Q: Growing up did you consider yourself a geek or nerd, did you collect comic books, play video games, or watch cartoons?
AJG: Oh yeah, Comic books and Sailor Moon helped me grow into the person I am today, unfortunately in a small town with a lot of bullies I kept it more on the down low, when I moved to Florida I met a lot of people who were into it as well so I finally felt like I could be my real geeky self!
Q: What comic books did you read as a kid, and what did you like about the characters and the storylines?
AJG: X-Men and Spider-Man were always on the top of my list. I loved Spider-Man a lot because I have a weird fascination with bugs, and I always wanted to be Storm, to me she’s was the most courage’s X-Men.
Q: Do you still read and collect comics, what titles do you read now, and what are some of your favorite titles now?
AJG: I have a small collection and unfortunately with costuming being a pricey hobby I don’t have much. I have a few Iron Man, X-Men, and Thor comics. I read most of them online but my favorite issue’s I always try and buy a copy of. I have been going through Avenger’s Vs X-men as well as The Walking Dead.
Q: Like we mentioned earlier we saw you knocking the Venom photo shoot out of the park, but you also have cosplayed as Batgirl, and Phoenix; how long have you been cosplaying and how did you get into it?
AJG: It’s been about 5 years now, I always saw a lot of cosplay photos online and really wanted to do it. Coming to Florida where the convention scene was huge is when I finally started putting on clown suits.
Q: What hero and villain would you like to cosplay in the future and why?
AJG: There are WAY to many! I love however basing my costume’s off of artists, statues, as well as coming up with my own twist on my favorite super-heros. I love seeing artist’s interpretation of a character as well as statues/figurines.
Q: If you were asked to to portray a comic book or other character in a comic book, movie, or video game who would you like to portray and the reason you would portray them.
AJG: That is way to tough of a choice, to me I love sexy characters and all but I love woman who can really kick ass. If I were ever to audition for a character it would honestly be Black Widow.
Q: Why do you think cosplay has become so popular today especially with women?
AJG: I would have to guess maybe that it’s more “socially acceptable” to be a nerd these days. With a lot of Hollywood has done as far as comic book movies go, they give people a chance to see why nerds grasp on and cherish these stories with all their heart. I don’t believe that’s the only reason but it does help open up newcomer’s to the costume world.
I think a lot of it also has to do with the same views that I share, they see themselves in certain characters or envy the strength’s we might not posses, I mean honestly who would you rather be? Kim Kardashian or Supergirl?
Q: The Venom photo shoot, is really burning up the social networks and have a lot of people buzzing; how did you get involved in the shoot?
AJG: Well for starter’s I always want to expand my versatility as far as modeling goes. My friend Carlos Blanchard came to me with an idea about it (of course with my love for Spider-man how could I ever say no). One reason I also really wanted to do this is because I get bored with seeing just pretty glamour shots of female’s, their pretty and of course it does take a lot of confidence to sparkle on camera. But I wanted to portray true pain and emotion and give people a chance to see something more than just a sexy costume girl photo shoot. I literally took all the rage I have felt in my life and pretended it was that paint.
Q: The artist did a full Venom body paint on you, did they let you wear a body suite underneath or did they apply all of that directly?
AJG: I am naked in that shoot (minus a thong), I wanted it to look as realistic as possible I felt as if wearing clothing with it would take away from the amazing painting that was done. Plus I also like to put myself in situations where I may get nervous (like only being in body paint) to help me grow as a person, facing fear head on!
Q: It must have taken a long time to paint the costume on you, what was the most challenging part of the process for you as a model?
AJG: There are many parts of modeling that can be very nerve wrecking, how will the photo’s turn out, will the reaction’s be positive, oh god a I got a new zit, etc. I think a lot of people might overlook the stresses of what being a model is, it’s a lot more than a pretty face. I have a super diet that I follow everyday (and I love sweets dearly), understand the different element’s of photography to help get the best outcome of a shoot, I have to be tough of enough to take critic and negative comments, take the time out of my week to practice different type’s of posing, and most importantly being in front of a camera all the time will make you your own worst critic and you still have to be the most confident person in the room.
Q: It must have gotten a bit hot under the paint, did they have to make sure you stayed cooled and did the paint have to be touched up a lot?
AJG: Actually I was freezing! I kept standing outside to warm up. We didn’t do any touch up work considering I was going to rip it off anyway. The painting took about an 2 hours and the shoot was maybe 20 minutes max, I just started pulling and screaming because we had one chance to get the perfect shot’s.
Q: You are seen tearing off the Symbiote paint, you had great expressions in those scenes; how were you able to tear away at the paint, without it all coming apart?
AJG: We put on layers and layers of body paint. The more you put on the more it will stretch, we wanted to get some photo’s of the symbol so we started in area’s such as the neck and then slowly working down the suit. Towards the end there wasn’t much left on me, which still looked cool but we really wanted people to get the idea that it was Venom.
Q: In the future what other characters would you like to portray in full body paint?
AJG: There are a lot of character’s who have different colored skin tones that I would also like to do. But I would love to do a carnage shoot if I have the chance. And also Cortana from Halo I have been asking this question in all my interviews and would like to get your thoughts.
Q: For years, comic books, gaming action movies, and pop culture as a whole has been generally a male oriented hobby, but over the years women have come to the forefront. Do you think this is something new or do you feel that women have always had an interest in these genres?
AJG: Honestly I don’t think there is a specific reason, like society showing being your nerdy self shouldn’t be shamed, comic book movies, as well as looking up towards the woman of video games, comics, and anime. I think a lot of it has to do with the internet world, before there was none so a lot more people see it even just through Facebook and twitter.
Q: With everything that is happening with women in “Geek Culture” there still seems to be a lack of leading women character’s in comics, and gaming; what female characters would you like to see in their own comic book, movie, and game?
AJG: Well I think Hollywood picks their movies based off of the most known character’s outside of the nerd world (i.e. Batman, Superman etc.) Nerd’s know who they are, everyday people know who they are, kids know who they are, they stand a test of time. Not many people knew who Black Widow was before Iron Man/ Adventures. That’s actually who I’d love to see a movie about, she has a very interesting back story with Hawkeye as well as Daredevil, I heard rumors about Captain America 2 going more into the origin about Hawk and Widow. But I guess will find out in the future!
Q: For years guys have been the stereotyped as being thin, wearing the big glasses, and wearing the pocket protectors, do you think that women have been stereotyped the same way?
AJG: Of course, nerds were generalized before both male and female, but now (or at least to me) I think nerd chicks are the sexiest of chicks!
Q: There are many young aspiring girls out there wanting to be models and even cosplayers; they are exposed to all the teen magazines, and even many of the comic book characters are portrayed with a certain body type; what advise do you have for them on health and self-confidence?
AJG: They have to remember that (well for comics at least) these woman are in fierce battles all the time so of course there going to have 6 pack and perfect legs. But that doesn’t mean that’s what’s “pretty” or what “men want”. Confidence is what make’s you stand along those woman in comic books. Realistically not everyone is going to be a runway model height and have double d’s and that’s perfectly FINE. Even the skinny girls have there insecurity’s as well.
Just eat healthy and smile at what you DO have not what society thinks you should. I even get people saying I am fat and I am 135 pounds and I don’t have that big of a chest either. Never listen to people’s remarks Everyone has the power to change their diet and work out, all it take’s is determination never let people think you can’t model or cosplay because you don’t have the “exact measurements”
Q: I was a comic book dealer for over 20 years and have been a comic book publisher for a bit over three years now, and on occasion someone will comment “Women are drawn to sexy; comics need to represent normal or average looking women”, do you think that women in comics,gaming, movies and through out the pop culture and media are being portrayed as being too sexy?
AJG: Well I think sometimes people forget that sex sells. A beautiful woman will give that extra little sparkle to a story. To me I am fine with it, does it give people a lot of unrealistic expectations? Yes but there just people on paper, they don’t really exist, it’s not just about the woman either there are plenty of men in the same boat.
And there are characters who are not portrayed like this, X-23 has very small boobs, Thor-girl is 300 pounds. Sometimes people just over look this.
Q: Will you be appearing at any upcoming conventions?
There is a list, I am still trying to make it to Dragon*Con and NYCC this year. Next year I will be a guest at Megacon and I am trying to start going to conventions outside of Florida!
Where can fans follow you and your career and of course find more great cosplaying pictures?
Alexia Jean Grey Facebook Page
Alexia Jean Grey Twitter
Alexia Jean Grey Deviant Art Page