Phoenix Sisters Cosplay: The Inseparable Cosplay Duo

Left: Kelly as Phoenix. Right: Crayle as Dark Phoenix

It all started with the migraines.

After meeting each other at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois, Crayle and Kelly hit it off pretty immediately. But as their mostly internet-based friendship developed, something got weird.

Like the green-and-gold Phoenix of the X-Men, whose migraines were the first sign that she was being corrupted into Dark Phoenix, Crayle and Kelly were having migraines. They were in different time zones, at different elevations (Kelly was living in Wisconsin while Crayle was living in Colorado, over a mile above sea level!), and totally different environments.  But on the same days, at the same times, they had what seemed to be THE SAME migraine. If Kelly’s headache settled in her jaw, so did Crayle’s. If Crayle had molar pain with her migraine, so did Kelly.

One of them realized, “Uh oh. She cosplays the Phoenix, and I cosplay the Dark Phoenix…. Where will this psychic bond take us???”

A few months later, Kelly asked Crayle to convince her (then) boyfriend to take his shirt off to recreate one of their favorite comic panels – Jean Grey catching Scott Summers and Emma Frost psychically cheating on her. Crayle succeeded. They got that shot and took a bunch of Phoenix and Dark Phoenix photos, and talked more than ever after that photoshoot.

Left: David McDonald as Scott Summers. Middle: Crayle as Emma Frost (impersonating Dark Phoenix). Right: Kelly as Phoenix. | Photographer: Mark Shafer Photography

It turned out what they really needed was to strengthen the bond to stabilize. Now Crayle and Kelly are “Phoenix Sisters Cosplay,” a passionate nerd duo, ready to rock your world with at least one major photoshoot per month, whether they’re together or separate.

You can see most of their photos on social media (primarily the Phoenix Sisters Entertainment Facebook and Instagram accounts), but to make sure that you see EVERY photo and any PG-13+ exclusive content, join the Phoenix Family by subscribing to our Patreon. www.patreon.com/phoenixsiscosplay

Though their history with cosplay began separately, they’re an inseparable team now. Kelly has been cosplaying for over 15 years now, and Crayle for about 10, but they really stepped up their game as a pair. They make bigger builds and spend way more time taking photos and making appearances now that they’re Phoenix Sisters Cosplay.

Now, they’re sharing one brain cell.

Crayle and Kelly have both shown up to a con with coordinated costumes before, and then asked, “Wait, was this your idea or mine?” And gone back through their messages to realize that they never actually mentioned it to one another. They just both had the same idea.

The psychic link is strong. Even people who know them in real life cannot tell which Phoenix Sister they’re talking to online when they message Phoenix Sister accounts.  Sometimes they both respond at the same time, but it ends up still being the exact same answer with only slightly different wording.

And people think of them as a duo so strongly, that it gets downright silly sometimes.

The last time one of our convention friends saw Crayle without Kelly at a con, he approached and asked, “Did it hurt?”

Crayle replied, “Did what hurt?”

He answered, “When they surgically separated you and Kelly at the hip. Did it hurt?”

She answered that every moment apart is agony for them, of course.

Left: Kelly and Crayle as Emma and Jean, Hellfire Club Edition, Photographer: Lacy Clagg Photography | Top Right: Triss and Ciri, Photographer: Lynne Melssen | Bottom Right: Leia and Mara Jade, Photographer: Thomas G

No one is really surprised at this point that they have matching Phoenix emblem tattoos on their forearms. Crayle got hers on her left forearm and Kelly got hers on the right – so that both tattoos would be together when the Phoenix Sisters hold hands.

And when they overcommit, they do it together.

Crayle and Kelly are basically co-dependent.

Crayle edits Kelly’s books. That’s right, Kelly is a published author. You can find her superhero romance books, Scorcher and Thin Ice, on Amazon and at other major book retailers. Just search her penname, Kelly Edwards.

Crayle cosplayed as Aidan Gray, the FMC in Kelly’s Forces of Nature trilogy.

Kelly helps Crayle run behind-the-scenes parts of her main business, Pokeballs by Crayle. Yes, Crayle’s full time job is making Pokemon diorama art, and you can find it at www.craylevanest.com/homepage.

Kelly cosplayed as an Eevee gijinka to help Crayle vend at Fan Expo Chicago in 2023.

They co-chair an annual virtual convention every January that benefits charity. It’s called The Multiverse FunRaiser and you can check them out at www.themultiversefunraiser.com, by the way.

They watch the same TV shows together while in two different states by being on the phone with each other. (And yes, their husbands do just love listening to them squeal over the TV together while they hog their respective living rooms for the watch-alongs.)

Left: Kelly and Crayle as Buffy and Faith, Photographer: Thomas G | Center: Phoenix/Dark Phoenix, Photographer: Mark Shafer Photography| Right: Sailor Venus and Sailor Mars, Photographer: Thomas G

They also manage two different podcasts together. Gilmore Sisters: A Rant Podcast is a Gilmore Girls fan podcast of short rants about all number of topics, many of which somehow come back to off-the-wall fan theories that the denizens of Stars Hollow might be fae or vampires. Cosplay Café is put on by the Phoenix Sisters plus their long-lost third Phoenix cosplayer, Andrea Starnes. The Phoenix Sisters interview a different guest every other week to talk cosplay, while dressed in full costume, and showing off audience-submitted cosplay photos. You can find either of those by searching their titles on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or Facebook. Cosplay Café also has all its links in one place: www.linktree.com/cosplaycafepodcast

From left to right: Andrea Starnes (Mehdiia Raise), Crayle of Phoenix Sisters Cosplay, Kelly of Phoenix Sisters Cosplay, Lauren Knight of iScream Queens, D’Elle Memphis of iScream Queens | Photographer: Toy Robot Visual Arts

They spend a lot of time and effort to support indie creators together too. They’re currently helping one of Crayle’s editing clients navigate the self-publishing process, and they’ll be offering that as a team service for others in the future.

They attend conventions together (as cosplay guests, vendors, or just attendees who spend crazy amounts of time posting photos) as often as they can.

Left: Kelly and Crayle as Harley and Duela Dent, with Ruby of T-Shirt Cosplay as Ivy, Photographer: Mark of T-Shirt Cosplay | Right: Cowgirl Black Canary and Speedy, Photographer: David M

They talk about each other so often, that they’ve started accidentally dropping “cosplay” from their titles, and refer to each other as “my partner.” Which has since led to them often having to explain that they are not a romantic couple, and are, in fact, both married to different men.

They’re also the Sew ‘n’ Slay columnists for this very publication, bringing different cosplay help topics to you lovely readers every month as well. So, you can trust that the cosplay tip column in Comics Illustrated comes from two cosplayers who have been around the block a few times.

So many irons in the fire, right? Well, if you want to find everything about them all in one place, just go to www.phoenixsistersentertainment.com

The Phoenix Sisters eat, sleep, and breathe cosplay.

Did we mention that they do all that while still managing to publish a major photoshoot EVERY SINGLE MONTH? We did? Allow us to reiterate it then.

They couldn’t be together this June and July, so they did solo shoots, and completely accidentally decided to do Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn shoots back to back. The Phoenix Connection strikes again! Haha. See both of them when you join at http://www.patreon.com/PhoenixSisCosplay

Their proudest achievement though, is that they have gained somewhat of a reputation as people who spread joy through their creative efforts. Prop builders, other cosplayers, podcast listeners, and many others have expressed that the Phoenix Sisters work on projects that make them happy. That’s the greatest accomplishment a cosplayer can hope for, in their opinions.

Unless you count them becoming best friends as an achievement, because that’s really important to them as well. And if you gain one of them in any of your networks or on any of your projects, you’re basically getting two. Because they are a package deal. Phoenix Sisters Cosplay, the inseparable cosplay duo.

       Right now, they have some pretty big goals. They’re both looking to do some cosplay competitions in 2024 and 2025. Crayle is working on an armored original character based on the Necromongers from the Chronicles of Riddick. Kelly is sewing and piecing together Lulu from Final Fantasy. They have several X-Men characters in-progress or currently being upgraded.

      And you can follow their progress on any of their social media or their website. Just go to www.linktree.com/phoenixsiscosplay

Savage Land Emma and Rogue, Photographer: Thomas G | Batgirl and Emma Frost, Photographer: Lacy Clagg Photography | Arwen, Photographer: Artsortment | Shanna, Photographer: Mark Shafer Photography | Additional Photography Credits: Thomas G, David M, and Kelly

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