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Last year, I was searching for cosplay ideas online and ran into a particular cosplay. This cosplayer was dressed in all purple and had a guitar he made like the late Prince. I was curious to know who this person was. For months, I was still unsure of the identity of the cosplayer. Thanks to a person on Facebook, he was identified as Billy Light, also known as The Purple Rainger. I recently had a chance to interview him via Facebook Messenger.
Texxx-Man Cosplay: How long have you been doing cosplay and how did it change your life?
The Purple Rainger: I've been cosplaying for about 13 years now. Jayne Cobb was the first cosplay I did when I went to my first convention. Cosplaying has definitely taken over my closet.
What made you become interested in cosplay?
I got into cosplay about the same time I realized I was a nerd, late bloomer here. I was meeting some friends at DragonCon, but I wasn't attending. I didn't even know what it was. While I was waiting, I would point to a cosplay and ask, "What is that and what's it from?" I knew the obvious ones, such as Star Trek and Star Wars, but things like Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, etc. caught my interest. When I got back home that I immediately started binge watching so many shows that were suggested to me. From there, I just had to do a cosplay for my first true DragonCon experience and it just felt like home. The community was and still is so welcoming and the cosplay bug had bitten me.
I know that you have gotten your inspiration for your cosplay from the late Prince and also mixed in some Power Rangers. When did you first start doing the Purple Rainger cosplay? How long did it take you to create the helmet and guitar?
I started the Purple Rainger the following September after Prince passed away. The guitar took me only a few days and I think the WIP is posted on my Deconstructive Studios Facebook page. During this same time, I was building a decently sized set piece of Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, peeking over a building setting for a Ghostbusters event in Atlanta. So I sent a Green Ranger helmet cast to my buddy, Jason Lopez at F5Props, and he created the helmet based off my design. It was a great choice too, because his skills are far superior to what I could have done. The reaction to Purple Rainger was overwhelming, but in a great way, like overnight, and still continues to be so.
Besides the Purple Rainger cosplay, have you done any other cosplays?
My other cosplays that I do is Austin Powers Ranger, "Jason" the Red Ranger, Wolverine, Batman (BvS version), Marty McFly from BTTF 3 in the pink cowboy outfit, a Ghostbuster, several different others that can be seen on my IG @thepurplerainger.
If you had some advice to someone who wants to get into cosplay, what would it be?
Advice for first timers getting into cosplay, would be to have fun with it. Don't worry about being 100% accurate either. If you can't figure how make something, then just commission or buy it if it's commercially available. Cosplay is meant to be fun and for everyone, so if you have a cosplay you want to do, use whatever means necessary to complete it.
Do you have any future cosplays planned?
I'm always working on future cosplays. Just attending a con gives you so much inspiration for new ideas, not to mention the things that pop in your head on a daily basis.
Which conventions would you like to attend in the future?
Answer: Well DragonCon is always a must! If you haven't been, I suggest you put that one your con bucket list. It's officially Thursday-Monday on Labor Day weekend, but people start arriving and cosplaying the Tuesday before! I still need to make it to Powermorphicon, Spooky Empire, and Texas Frightmare weekend.
I want to thank The Purple Rainger for taking the time to interview with me. To check out his cosplays and con adventures, feel free to like his page on Facebook: Purple Rainger and follow him on Instagram @thepurplerainger.