I saw online pictures of Janice Rhoades taken on the 2017 Walker Stalker Cruise cosplaying multiple characters. I was exceedingly impressed! This was the first cosplayer, especially a female one, that I had known to portray more than one character from The Walking Dead. And she was good at them all. I knew I had to know more about this talented cosplayer and she agreed to an interview.
Where are you from and will you go anywhere to cosplay?
Missouri farm girl from the middle of nowhere, currently living in St. Louis.
Had you been to any comicons before you start cosplaying?
Nope, not a one, and it has been driving me crazy!
How and when did you realize you could look like the different characters you cosplay?
Realization of characters is a work in progress. I think to myself, “why not them?” and run as far with it as I can.
What made you decide to begin cosplaying?
Looking at photos of other cosplayers while prepping for the first Walker Stalker Cruise was the motivator. I always loved Halloween, so this was a perfect outlet for me.
Which character did you first cosplay?
Carol, followed closely by Rosita (I seem to work in pairs). Then came phantom Lori and Officer Lerner.
What made you decide to add others?
I can’t seem to stop, there’s such depth character wise with The Walking Dead! Each character has left their own mark on the show, and it’s fun to try to bring that out when I step into their shoes…
How long does it take for you to get in full wardrobe, makeup, and character?
Prep time varies per character (Rosita is probably the fastest). I’m still working out the kinks with the makeup right now, I don’t go too heavy with it. Maybe 20-30 minutes? Once the outfit is assembled, the character starts to come out naturally.
Have you met any of The Walking Dead cast? What was the reaction to you?
I met Michael Cudlitz for a photo op while dressed as Officer Dawn–that made for a pretty funny photo!
How many conventions or events do you attend each year?
So far, only the Walker Stalker Cruise…but I’m thinking that may need to change.
Is cosplaying just a hobby?
Yep. Just love hanging out with all the cosplay folks and those just watching.
What has been the craziest interaction you’ve had while in cosplay?
While I was Officer Dawn, some people confronted me genuinely upset that I had killed Beth and demanded to know why I did it…others saw me and thought, “uh oh, there’s a cop!” Definitely caught people’s attention with that one. Carol is the most loved, though (and my Mom’s favorite).
Is there any other character from another show or movie you would like to cosplay?
You bet! But my pesky budget keeps getting in the way.
What do you see in your future?
I have Crohns disease, so any future activities will have to revolve around my treatment schedule. I am definitely considering attending some of the land based cons (schedule permitting). I get as big a kick out of all the other cosplayers as I hope others get out of the characters I try to represent.
When you attend comic cons in the future, be on the lookout for Janice Rhoades. You never know who she might be next! I’m sure you’ll see her as Carol, Rosita, Officer Dawn, or Ghost Lori flitting about. She truly is a remarkable cosplayer and I can’t wait to see her next costume.
Source: All photos supplied by Janice Rhoades; Walker Stalker Cruise 2017 photo taken by @WILLBYINGTON