We have a champion of cosplay for you today by the name of Ria Parker and my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw how incredible she was! You absolutely need to follow her on every single social media she has because you will be blown away by everything she does.
We’re so grateful to have had the chance to interview Ria Parker!
The Geek Lyfe: What is your cosplay origin story?
Ria Parker: I started cosplaying toward the end of my senior year of Highschool. It wasn’t anything too serious until I was in my second year of college. That year, a lot had changed for me. I had found out that I had an Autoimmune disease, and with the way, my health was going I was still adjusting to the change. During that time, It was recommended to me that I do something that I enjoy to help as everything around me was adjusted to fit my life. At first, It wasn’t my goal to pursue this professionally. It was supposed to be a hobby and pass timer as I worked with my health, but as I’ve grown and done this full-time, my hobby became my job as well. And, I feel as though that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to do so because I can wake up, work on my own time, build and create what I want to make, while also being supported by those who have been with me since day one, and those who have just hopped on the ride.
Now, if I look back 4-5 years ago, I laugh at how I had no idea that I would be where I am now. As a full-time cosplayer, I’ve self-taught myself how to run my own business, the Tricks and Trade to Influencer Marketing, I have multiple side businesses and I’m able to travel and teach others how to build their own cosplays, such as armor, How to 3D print and Model, as well as much recently starting my own Influencer Mentoring Agency. It wasn’t easy to get here, It took A lot of momentary struggling and patience, but because I started cosplaying I feel as though I am more connected to myself, and that I’m enjoying my life the best as I can.
The Geek Lyfe: Out of all the years you have done cosplay, what has been one of your more favorite/proudest memories?
Ria Parker: Out of All the years I have done Cosplay, my proudest moment and memories were this past year. It was around April 2019, I decided to compete in Oak City Comicon Cosplay Competition literally a month before the con. I had decided that I wanted to enter a Monster Hunter Armor, but I had no experience creating successful builds whatsoever. I just decided to jump right into it, and I started posting my progress via my Instagram story while also going into detail about the build. During that time, my stories were getting a lot of traction because of this and I had built an audience watching and showing up daily to see how the build was going. With that audience, I also started getting support to help acquire the supplies I needed and before I knew it the build was complete.
I was SO nervous to enter the cosplay into Oak City Comicons Competition, I even considered just avoiding it altogether as I arrived at the convention center, but after my dad gave me a pep talk I felt like I was ready to go. Despite being nervous, scared that the judges wouldn’t get that I was cosplaying Nargacuga from Monster Hunter. That weekend I brought home first place in Armor and that was just icing on the cake. The real moment was when I first put on the cosplay and saw myself in the mirror. I was shocked and in disbelief that I had done such a huge build within a month, as well as shocked so many people had also supported me and believed in me enough to want to help get everything I needed.
The Geek Lyfe: Many people online will simply see one of your images, appreciate it for the moment and move on. However, I know that a lot of care and time goes into photoshoots. Could you describe your process for a cosplay photoshoot from the concept to when it hits your fans?
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Ria Parker: Out of all the cosplays I’ve ever done, my personal favorite would have to be my Kirin armor from Monster Hunter. I put my own twist on Kirin with that Armor by designing shoe armor which was not exactly canon to the game, but many really liked it and it was well-received despite it being different from the original Kirin Design. I also mixed in my 3D printing skills to make the Horn for that project as well, and I was really happy with the photos that came from it.
The Geek Lyfe: You feature a lot of awesome geeky content, what is your absolute favorite geeky medium? (Video games, anime, comics, film, etc.)
Ria Parker: Haha, So I would say my number one favorite medium is Anime, after that, I would say Video games. But I have been into both for so long. I’m just really diverse with my content because it’s hard to just stick to one.
The Geek Lyfe: Subbed or Dubbed Anime?
Ria Parker: I am huge on Subbed but if the voice sounds right, then I will watch the Dub!
The Geek Lyfe: It is apparent that you hustle to provide content for fans but when you actually have a day off, how do you spend it?
Ria Parker: Whenever I get a day off, I tend to spend it with my friends, catching up on Manga, Anime or New Korean Drama as well as sleeping. The more rest I get the better as I prepare for my upcoming workdays.
The Geek Lyfe: You just radiate such confidence and the swagger of a champion. However, a lot of geeks often struggle with overwhelming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. When you have those bad days and get down on yourself, what do you do to remind yourself that you are wonderful?
Ria Parker: Typically when I have those bad days and get down on myself I look at my old vlogs, and photos to remind myself of all the great things I have done. It’s one of the reasons I love vlogging my trips and experiences with my friends because it allows me to resee and memory that I may have forgotten about, as well as think about happier times.
The Geek Lyfe: What is one piece of advice you wish you received when you first got into costume design/cosplay?
Ria Parker: One Piece of advice that I wish I received when getting into costume design/cosplay is to take things slow, and not try to please everyone. There are times, where it seems that everything around me is moving so fast, and I have no control but during those times it’s best to take a step back and breathe, plus people aren’t going to like you because you do what they want, but instead, they’re going to like you for being yourself and doing what you enjoy.
It’s one of the things I’ve learned and ever since taking that advice I’ve grown with my content and have built an audience that truly supports whatever I choose to do. I don’t feel locked into one theme for my content, and that’s one of the best feelings as a content creator.
The Geek Lyfe: Where can we find you online?