Preston Wallace recently stood in the middle of Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., wearing a Spider-Man costume that he bought from Amazon. His cousin stood in front of him, Wallace’s own camera in hand. Wallace and his cousin made the trip in hopes of getting some promotional content to advertise the former’s business. As pedestrians walked near the duo, they took notice of the superhero on the street.
“Hey, it’s Spider-Man!” a passerby said.
“Spider-Man!” someone else called. Wallace extended his arm with all but his middle and ring fingers extended, mimicking Spider-Man’s web-shooting pose.
Wallace felt his confidence boost, and he jumped to the nearest light pole. He crouched down to get in a famous Spider-Man pose as more people called out, “Hey, Spider-Man! It’s Spider-Man!” People clapped and cheered as he posed, and his cousin took pictures.
Preston Wallace grew up in Hernando, Miss., spending his childhood playing video games and watching movies, particularly those featuring Spider-Man. “I have been a fan of Spider-Man since I was 7 years old, and I would constantly watch the movies over and over (and) play the video games,” Wallace said.
Today, Wallace juggles three jobs: being a personal trainer, a photographer and Hernando’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
‘Serving My Purpose’
A close friend suggested to Wallace that he should dress up in costumes to help cheer up children in hospitals. At first, Wallace was unsure, but he eventually decided to take the idea seriously. He bought a Spider-Man costume and volunteered to work at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, but the hospital did not allow him to wear his costume due to restrictions. Nevertheless, he continued to work with children in his spare time.
“What I learned is that you don’t really need to have a costume,” Wallace said. “You don’t need to be a superhero. It was about how we made the patients feel and just me serving my purpose by being there.”
Dressed as Spider-Man, Wallace works as an actor at children’s parties and events. “I was nervous at first,” he said in reference to the first party he attended in costume. “But when it happened it just came easy because I love kids. I just interact with them. I put myself in a (headspace) of if I was a kid.”
Of course, being a children’s party entertainer comes with its own difficulties. “(Kids will say), ‘You’re not Spider-Man!’” he said with a laugh. “And I’ll say, ‘Yes, I am!’ I have to show them. I have to get into Spider-Man mode and do, like, a handstand or something.”
Wallace has two characters that he plays when he’s Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Miles Morales, who both share the moniker but use differently designed suits. While his first costume came from Amazon, he now acquires his “work uniforms” from Sam Cosplay or PrintCostumes. His newest costume will be tailored and custom-made.
The Hernando resident said that his message to children is to “Be yourself. Be productive. Be nice. Find out what you want to do in life. It’s important to know what you want to do in life.”
Through his company, Friendly Neighborhood Spidey 662/901, he has mostly done entertainment work in Hernando, but he wants to widen his scope to work in the Memphis area as well. Furthermore, he wants to turn his business into a nonprofit so that he could get more opportunities to visit hospitals dressed as Spider-Man. He also hopes to be able to get a line of other superhero costumes—both Marvel and DC superheroes—to expand his business.
His future aspirations with the company is to be able to go to schools to participate in programs that help children in various ways.
“I want to go to charity events, I want to do speeches on not doing drugs, (to not) be a bully. I want to impact as many kids as possible.”
Much like Peter Parker, Wallace also works as a photographer. His college friends inspired him to pick up a camera, as he was in awe with the content that his photographer friends were creating, and he wanted to do the same. At first, he borrowed his friend’s camera, but he later purchased equipment of his own. He started his photography business Unique Shotz Photography. So far he has primarily taken pictures of family and friends, but he wants to open his own photography studio in Hernando.
He also works as a personal trainer, which he started doing in 2020. He started this path after having a positive experience of his own with two personal trainers after he began exercising more regularly. “By working out with them, I learned so much, and I was motivated to continue,” Wallace said. “I lost a lot of weight, and I was satisfied with the results. I wanted to help others like they had helped me.”
To inquire about Preston Wallace’s entertainment services, contact him through Friendly Neighborhood Spidey 662/901’s business page on Facebook. For his photography work, find Unique Shotz Photography on Facebook.