From Jakku to Salt Lake Comic Con: Talking with the Internet’s Favorite Real-Life Finn and Rey

Victor Sine and Julianne Payne on their amazing Finn and Rey (and Baby-8) cosplay, discovering Star Wars, and more!

Victor Sine and Julianne Payne made a splash when they showed up to Salt Lake Comic Con dressed as Finn and Rey (along with Payne’s daughter dressed as BB-8). They had costumes put together with care and just the right look to be the talk of the convention. They were so perfect in their costumes that their photos soon went viral, with everyone from Entertainment Weekly to The Today Show featuring their outfits. StarWars.com caught up with them to talk about how they met, how Star Wars helped their relationship develop, and why seeing Finn and Rey on screen together meant the world to them.

Victor and Julianne as Finn and Rey

StarWars.com: How did you two meet and decide Star Wars was a thing you needed to get into?

Julianne Payne: We met on Tinder! We were both already fans of sci-fi movies, but I had never seen any of the Star Wars movies. Vic had seen the prequels but not the original trilogy; he grew up on Doctor Who since Vic is British, and all. We started dating in August, and the beginning of November decided we needed to marathon all the movies in anticipation for the release of The Force Awakens, so we could be all up to date. Once we finished the movies, we were like, “I can’t believe we missed out on this our entire lives!” and when The Force Awakens came out, I had my jaw on the floor. I was in love. We were laughing at Finn through the whole movie. He was awesome! We fell in love with Rey and BB-8. We now have five BB-8s in our house (including our Baby-8!)

We finished it all in about a week. About the end of that week, maybe a week after, we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend. So you could definitely say Star Wars was a bonding force in our relationship!

StarWars.com: What did seeing these characters in The Force Awakens on the big screen mean to you?

Julianne Payne: Seeing these characters on the big screen was really exhilarating. I connected a lot with Rey. In the movie, Rey is living in a way that doesn’t use her potential and skills at all. Over time, she comes to find her strengths and abilities and how to use them. I feel like I’ve gone through that recently; trying to figure out what my strengths are and how to best utilize them.

Victor Sine: I relate a lot with Finn. When I moved to Utah three years ago I really started developing who I was and want I wanted to do with my life; that is when my nerdiness started to bloom. Since then I’ve adopted a ferret and a pet red fox, and have gotten really into cosplaying!

There are also great similarities in the way I met Jules. She was feisty when we first started talking (like how Rey is when she meets Finn) and she was definitely pretty protective of Addie, akin to Rey’s relationship with BB-8. Over time, we have built a beautiful and trusting relationship; one that we also hope to see grow between Finn, Rey, and BB-8. At first, Rey was the only caretaker to BB-8, but then Finn came into the picture and took on that role as well. Much like how our family formed. Julianne had Addie, and I came into the picture when she was about three months old and now I’m a full on dad! Our journey has been wonderful and we look forward to every new day with our family!

Victor and Julianne take on Darth Vader

StarWars.com: At what point did you decide you were cosplaying as Finn and Rey?

Julianne Payne: We actually decided before we even saw the movie. So when we went in to see the movie, needless to say we were awestruck. Finn is black and British, and so is Victor. Our family fit so perfectly in every way. We were so excited.

StarWars.com: How has it felt getting so much attention for your cosplay?

Julianne Payne: Its been…odd. I guess it hasn’t fully sunk in for me yet. Its hard to gauge how viral we are from an outsider’s view especially because we weren’t very social media adept. But it’s also been fun, being recognized in public and people getting excited when they see us.

StarWars.com: What does Star Wars mean to you? What has it taught you?

Victor Sine: I really like what John Boyega said in one of his Instagram posts. I’m paraphrasing, but he said that “a hero isn’t made in just one movie.” I believe Star Wars was is all about that. The story of heroines and heroes that are in poor circumstances, normally circumstances that we can relate to or at least empathize with, and over the course of time and a cinematic journey, they are able to overcome their hardships, recognize their potential for good, and even meet some really cool people along the way.

Victor and Julianne pose are Rey and Finn

Header photo by RLPhotoArt.

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of BigShinyRobot.com! He’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith.

TAGS: , ,