Raychul Moore — Crush of the Day
Raychul Moore knows a thing or two about being a nerd. When she isn't busy covering comic book conventions, dressing up as superheroes or producing videos for her popular YouTube channel, she's playing video games and adding to an already insane action figure collection. Moore recently posed for the nerd-themed 'Girls of Geek 2012' calendar to benefit breast cancer research.
We caught up with the avid gamer to talk about the secrets of cos-play, her love of all things "Star Wars" and how she won't go easy on male gamers just because they lack breasts.
GuySpeed: Gaming has become a fairly mainstream hobby, with girls and women cited as a large portion of modern players. As a female gamer who cut her teeth on the Atari at the age of five, I'm assuming you faced some criticism growing up. How often were you told by friends and family that "gaming is for boys" and that you'd grow out of it? Do you believe that line of thinking is less an issue now?
Raychul Moore: I was quite a loner growing up and the few friends I had were a group of guy friends who shared my geekiness. We would sit in the back of math class and play Star Wars cards. We would also write Star Wars scripts and gaming scripts but with us as the heroes. We played co-op games before co-oping was even a thing. We would call each other up on the phone and then put Resident Evil into out PlayStation at the same time, and then make sure we hit "Start" at the exact same time. That way we could talk to each other about things going on in the game and experience the game together almost as if we were playing together online, but a little more amateur than that. So as far as others giving me a hard time about being not the typical cheerleader type, I didn't face that much at all. If people did think I was weird, I never noticed.
With my family, they have always been supportive of any of my passions and interests. I am really lucky to have super awesome parents who just want me to do what makes me happy even if it doesn't fit into many people's cookie-cutter expectations.
With more girls being gamers now and being proud of it, a lot of us don't experience much resistance in the industry. We are actually usually welcomed with open arms. But now we have the issue of having to almost prove ourselves more than male gamers, because with the popularity of being "geek" comes people who are trying to use it to their advantage. So we do experience a lot of people assuming we are "trying" to be gamers. They think we want to fit into the gaming scene just to gain popularity and attention, or to use it as a stepping stone into acting. It is frustrating at times. But in the end, I game for myself, not to get attention from others. So people can think or assume all they want, that won't stop me from going home and popping my favorite game of the moment later that night.
GS: So you were a geeky 'Star Wars' kid? That certainly plays against stereotypes. Speaking of which, you mentioned how female gamers who get into the industry face certain scrutiny male gamers just don't. It's fairly common to hear critics allege female personalities at gaming sites are only doing it for exposure so they can be cast in a TV pilot or pose half-nude for a magazine and move on. However, a man's allegiance to the industry is rarely questioned; they're considered die-hard gamers doing it out of love and passion.
RM: Yes, I was a Star Wars geek...and still am! Just back in high school I looked the part; I was chubby, and hopelessly shy. I was a loner. Still am a loner, but the Internet helps me appear more "social." I agree with everything you said, but again, I think guys get more of a break when they state they are gamers because of the fact that there aren't handfuls of guys proclaiming to be geek for their own gain in career or popularity.
GS: As someone who routinely puts herself into the public eye, how do you handle that attitude discrepancy? Is it something you've experienced firsthand from an employer?
RM: Yeah, I used to get the whole "she's not a REAL gamer" judgment a lot, but not so much anymore. Usually, when someone questioned my geekiness, I challenged them to a game of their choice. But also I tend to make a lot of game or Star Wars references when I talk to people, so that usually helps people see my true colors too. And all someone has to do is take one look at my apartment with all of my action figures and game collections and then they question the geekiness of my heart no more!
It takes all kinds of people to be gamers, and just because I have boobs, doesn't mean I can't hold my own in Gears of War.
GS: You recently were featured in the "Girls of Geek" calendar alongside several other well-known geekettes. How did you get involved with the project? I'm sure there's no shortage of guys who would've loved to be a fly on the wall during that photo shoot.
RM: Yes, I am super excited about this! My first calendar! Well, a friend linked the Girls of Geek website to me through Twitter, telling me that they were looking for some more girls. At the time, I think they had only three girls signed up. So I contacted them, and found out that they had received a really impressive amount of feedback from people around the net who were requesting they reach out to me for the calendar. After I heard that some of the proceeds of the calendar would be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, I was excited to be signed up. After I was announced as a new model, I put the guys at GirlsofGeek.com in touch with some of the other geeky lady friends as well, who are now in the calendar too.
I actually did two photoshoots for the calendar but only one of the shoots made it into the final product. The shoot that made it in was of me and some of my action figure collection. The other shoot was me in my Cammy cosplay and two Street Fighter arcade sticks.
I am super proud to be part of such a great idea with so many beautifully geeky girls. We were each in charge of coming up with our own photoshoot themes and I love the ideas the other girls came up with. I had a lot of fun and hope to be involved with something like this again in the future.
GS: You own a ton of geek paraphernalia. What's your most-prized action figure or collectible?
RM: Out of everything I own, my most-prized possession is my 2 Phurba Dagger replica which came in the Fortune Hunters Edition of Uncharted 2. That particular special edition was never available for purchase and only 200 were made. I don't let anyone touch it when they come and visit. I am a very nervous mother around most of my figures and collectibles. I did a video tour of my apartment if anyone is interested in seeing my collection.
Next year, I am looking forward to adding the Nathan Drake, Kratos and Cammy figures from PlayArts to my collection. One thing I have always wanted to own is a life-sized Darth Vader statue. I would also be a proud owner of a Big Daddy statue too. Man, I need a bigger house!
GS: You had some problems with your Facebook page recently. What happened?
RM: Yes, I unfortunately had a very angry viewer who was going on Facebook and reporting all of my photos for containing nudity, when obviously there wasn't any nudity in any of the photos. The person was also getting friends of mine in trouble by going onto their pages and reporting any of their photos that had me in them. Facebook doesn't actually check the photos that have been reported, they just send out warnings to the people who posted the photos and delete the photo that has been reported. This person was reporting me so much that I had my right to post photos onto Facebook suspended and I was also sent a warning that I would permanently lose the ability to post photos to my page and could possibly be banned from the site.
Thankfully, I had some very angry fans who did some research and tracked the guy down. It turned out to be a nature photographer in Australia who had a very intense hatred for woman who have ever posed in lingerie or swimsuits. I ended up contacting him through Facebook and asked him to please stop. I accused him of stalking and harassment. After that, the daily reporting stopped and I haven't had an issue since.
I think Facebook is starting to change their policies and how easy they make it for people to bully someone on their site , so hopefully no one else will have to put up with such annoyance.
GS: Sounds like he just couldn't handle your Cammy cosplay. Speaking of which, can you hint at any secret costumes you're working on? You've already surprised fans with unique takes on Kratos and Thor. What's next?
RM: This San Diego Comic Con I have a few costumes I am working on. I will be upgrading my superhero Snow White costume and will be with a much bigger group of girls for the Superhero Disney Princess group. But also am hoping to debut a female Nathan Drake costume. It's been a bit hard getting his costume just right and making a female version of Drake not look like Lara Croft...but I have some special tricks up my sleeve.
Also working on doing the pink alternate costume for Cammy, which is by far the fan favorite of mine. Then another one I have toyed with but might not be doing this year, is a female Dante from the Devil May Cry series.
We will see what I actually end up doing. I would like to upgrade my Kratos costume one of these years and add some of his accessories like the Golden Fleece and I would also like to wear my Thor costume again at some point too.
GS: I know you have to say you love all your fans, but are there times where some just act creepy?
RM: I don't have to say I love all of my fans, but I do love them. I do tend to get quite a few creepers though, none that I have met in person. I love meeting fans and viewers at conventions and I try to make myself as available and as open as possible to them to be able to approach me. I even give them hugs. Everyone I have met has been awesome, sweet and fun to chat geek with.
I guess the worst ones I have encountered are the few who have sent me messages saying that they loved me and if I didn't respond back to them then their lives were worthless and they would "end it." That's an incredibly scary thing to say and to put on someone.
I try to answer every message I get, just sometimes it does take me a few weeks to catch up on all of them. That's why I started doing my "Ask Raychul" videos on YouTube so that I could answer as many questions from viewers as possible.
GS: Are there any questions in particular that you're asked repeatedly?
RM: Yes, I constantly get "What's it like being a girl gamer?" I never know how to answer that one. I dunno, what's it like not being a girl gamer. Probably about the same.