Rehabilitating baby squirrels, founding her own charity organization and being cast on a show about cosplay, Riki "Ridd1e" Lecotey has had quite the journey in the world of cosplay. I caught up with Ridd1e this weekend at MASSive Comic Con and talked cooking, cosplay, gaming and underwear rules.
AiPT!: When you get to a convention, time permitting of course, what’s the first thing you like to do?
Ridd1e: Find a park with some squirrels. laughs It’s actually turning into a thing. I like to look up a good place to eat, maybe check out a local comic store, any kind of major sight seeing. Especially with international conventions, I try to stay a few extra days.
AiPT!: How did you end up in the world of baby squirrel rehabilitation? Do you work with any other animals?
Ridd1e: A friend of mine ended up finding what they thought was a baby squirrel, might have been a rat, they weren’t too sure. It was on their lawn and they were leaving the next day, so they asked me if I wanted to take care of it. I said “Oh yes! Yes I do!”
So, as I’m driving out to pick this thing up, I’m doing all this research because I don’t know how things survive in the wild, there’s so much that goes into taking care of a baby squirrel. I got the squirrel, I got all these things and at one point I thought I had killed it. You can do something when feeding them where they aspirate and get pneumonia. I ended up contacting a local wildlife rehabber and told her that I thought I may have killed the squirrel and I was so upset. She was so nice and told me that I had done fine and that squirrels are social animals when they’re babies so I had to get another one, so I’m like “Yes please!” Since this woman was a licensed rehabber, I could get another squirrel and raise them together and it just sort of exploded from there.
AiPT!: Cosplay for a Cause is a fantastic cause that has raised money for wonderful charities. You’ve been doing it for what, three years now?
Ridd1e: I started it in 2011–I believe it was when the Tsunami hit Japan. I try to do it every other year because I’m facilitating everything on my own. I always grateful when the girls and photographers donate their time to take the photos and help promote it. But I’m handling all the PR, coordinating the design and shipping everything myself. So, I get kind of burnt out. Plus I have my own calendar for myself and I’ve had to put that off for a year to release the Cosplay for a Cause calendar, which benefits the Wildlife Conservation Society.
I love doing charity in all forms. I did a maple syrup print to raise money for the Fort McMurray forest fire, since I lived in Canada and it was near where I lived. It’s me in a bikini pouring maple syrup on myself, it’s very tongue-in-cheek. After the conversion, I raised about nine thousand dollars.
AiPT!: What’re you reading for comics these days?
Ridd1e: I’m reading Jupiter’s Circle and Jupiter’s Legacy. It was recommended to me by a coworker. I’ve also been getting back into anime. I go through phases where I won’t watch anything and there I’ll get back into. Bizarrely I’ve been into this Netflix show called Terrace House; it’s like Real World with Japanese people. I call it Friend Zone House because so many people get put into the friend zone and it’s uncomfortable and hilarious at the same time.
AiPT!: I’ve read that you’re an avid cook. Being an avid cook myself, I’d love to know what your favorite tool in the kitchen is and your favorite dish to make.
Ridd1e: I feel really upset because I’ve been really wanting to embrace my sous-vide and I haven’t really used it. My favorite dish, that’s tough…anything with a puffed pastry. I go through phases. There’s a couple of slow cook things. I love this sweet potato, kale and Italian sausage soup I make, it’s great for the winter. I make a pretty good meatball, slow cooker meatball that’s stuffed with mozzarella. It’s a pork beer mixture and then you put the fresh buffalo mozzarella inside of it.
AiPT!: Wonder Woman surpassed all expectations and is breaking all sorts of records. It’s also a huge milestone for women in the comic book and film genre. As a woman who lives in the nerd/geek culture, what did this film mean to you?
Ridd1e: DC set the expectation pretty low. I went into it without giving it too much thought. Coming out of it I thought it was great and I can respect it from the point that now movie studios can say “hey we have a woman leading a movie”.
I’m going to admit, the last half I kind of checked out. Spoiler alert, Aries was too much. When she ran back to the village after the smoke I thought it was unnecessary, she didn’t even see any of the bodies. I thought it would have been cool given that she’s half god, that she had some adverse reaction to the smoke. It was essentially Captain America. It’s a period piece with a rag-tag team. Her team really didn’t really do anything; there’s the guy looking through the scope, the guy got them into one party and the other guy started a smoke fire. Chris Pine was amazing and charming, Gal Gadot looked amazing and I loved the first battle. I got my money’s worth.
AiPT!: Through cosplay you’ve been all over the world, founded your own charity, been featured in top magazines and blogs, was a cast member on Heroes for Cosplay, judged contests, the list goes on and on. Is there any accolade you’re still reaching for through your cosplay career or are you just enjoying the ride at this point?
Ridd1e: I’m enjoying the ride. I have a pattern with Simplicity, I’ve been on multiple cosplay magazine covers and the fact that I get to work on superhero films is kind of the greatest thing for me. If that was it, I’d be totally content. The thing is though I never know what’s going to come up next. Had you told me ten years ago I’d be on a TV show for cosplay or that I’d be on a Marvel comic book cover I’d be like “noooo”. I often have to sit back and think about all these awesome things that have happened because I get caught up in the next big thing and I’ll forget. I’ll think to myself “holy s--t I was on the cover of a comic book.” I’m so fortunate.
AiPT!: You’re a cosplayer who’s widely recognized for skill in craftsmanship. If you could go back in time to when you were first starting out on your journey of building costumes and drop one piece of craftsmanship knowledge into your head, what would it be? What do you wish you had known earlier on about making costumes and props?
Ridd1e: Ridd1e 1.0? Goodness. I would say work more with people. Early on I got super frustrated and discouraged. I didn’t have anybody to teach me so I was learning on my own. I have a mom but she doesn’t sew.
One, always wear underwear, on that I learned my lesson.
Have pride in what you make and spend a little extra time so that it lasts. Try to take good photos that showcase your work. I have to say I’m pretty happy with my cosplay journey so far. When I first started there was no marketing aspect, so that’s something I’ve stumbled on and had to learn. There’s some amazing girls who are fantastic at marketing themselves and it’s definitely not my strong suit. I’m more worried about top stitching stuff. I’m very slow as well; some girls can sew and market, I’m one or the other. I’m really grateful that people still follow me and are still getting excited by things that I do.
AiPT!: Do you think Ryan Gosling stands a chance of dethroning Harrison Ford as king of the Blade Runners?
Ridd1e: I don’t think so. I think Blade Runner has such a soft spot in people’s hearts. You can only add to the mythology, you can’t replace it. I have high hopes for it.
I’m skeptical about about Valerian, but I love Luc Besson and the Professional, Lucy not so much. Atomic Blonde looks absolutely fantastic.
AiPT!: What’re you most looking forward to this year?
Ridd1e: Sleeping. Getting to sleep in and getting back to the gym. When I’m on set I’m a grazer. When they have catering I eat non-stop. Any time I have downtime or I’m feeling a little sluggish, I walk over and eat. Two hours later I’m having a big lunch, a few hours later I’m having cookies and chocolate.
There are a couple of big costumes I want to make, Edward Scissorhands and Linkle from Hyrule Warriors. I’m really excited for the re-release of Shadow of Colossus.
Here’s where you can find Ridd1e online: