NYCC 2013: A Chat and Photo Shoot with Summer Rayne Oakes - Model, Entrepreneur, Harley Quinn
Last year at New York Comic Con, I took a series of photos of a particularly good Harley Quinn cosplayer on Sunday. Afterwards, much to my surprise, I found out that I had just done a photoshoot with professional model, entrepreneur, and activist Summer Rayne Oakes. Exploring her website and her work drove me to reach out and see if she was going to be at New York Comic Con 2013. She was, and the photos and quick interview below are what resulted.
TOONZONE NEWS: What draws you to Harley Quinn?
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I was introduced to the character via my friend Simon Sinek, who is a New York Times best-selling author, strangely enough. He was actually going to cross-play as her, and it was funny becuase he tried to get me in a pair of spandex, and I’m like, “Simon, I haven’t worn spandex since I got into college.” I said it’s a problem because I look like a superhero in them, and he said, “Why is that a bad thing?” So he introduced Harley Quinn to me and said, “You embody so much of her character,” and so I got into the Harley gear and I haven’t looked back since.
TOONZONE NEWS: Do you go to other cons as Harley?
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: The last 2 years I’ve been to Comic Con, it’s been in New York. Next year, due to another project I’m working on, I’ll probably end up going to a Chicago comic con.
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I took the last 10 months off to create and reconnect with friends, which was really wonderful. My last company was called Source for Style and it was a business-to-business marketplace that connects designers to sustainable suppliers from around the globe. I’ve tried to do a lot of focus on bringing environmentalism and social justice through media and fashion. But after exiting the company, I just really wanted to have the time to reconnect with friends. Actually during the process, I started doing a couple of screenplays with Michael Uslan, who’s the executive producer of Batman, and so we have a couple of projects going on together. Then I started working with his son David and Russell Simmons on an animated series, so that’s something that we’re working on right now.
I’m also going to be working on a book, after taking the time off. When I hit the nine-month mark, I started getting a little antsy, and I just decided to start doing a new book. Again, it’s on sustainable fashion, but this one’s a little bit more erudite than my last one. It kind of focuses on evolutionary biology, history, and politics, through the lens of sustainable fashion. And I’m helping one of my friends launch his company in Brooklyn called Good Eggs, and it helps farmers connect consumers to farmer products.
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Toonzone would like to thank Summer Rayne Oakes for taking the time to chat with us and pose for a quick photo session, and for playing along with the Batusi Project. Keep up with Summer Rayne Oakes via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.