Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and already famous members from the world of cosplay.
Danalynnex is a Community Manager for Moviepilot.com in the sunny city of Los Angeles. She’s Jigglypuff in human form and has an unhealthy obsession of Lord of the Rings.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I’ve always loved dressing up as characters on Halloween or special events but it took me many years to come up with the confidence to do it professionally at cons. There’s always that thought in the back of your head of, “will people make fun of me if my cosplay isn’t good enough or I don’t look good enough for the character?”
After a lot of encouragement from friends, I finally did an ‘easy’ cosplay as Black Canary. When the responses were the opposite of my fears, I began cosplaying every con I went to and can’t believe I was ever hesitant. The cosplay community is genuine and people LOVE seeing their favorite characters in person, even if your cosplay isn’t 100% accurate.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I mostly do it for fun but if it were to turn into a career, I would be happy with that. I’m mostly a gamer at the end of the day and an all around goofy person, so I’d rather be known for that than what I look like. However, if people truly enjoy both, why not do both? I certainly enjoy it.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I mostly do hybrid right now. I just don’t have the time or skills yet to make everything I wear. It was part of the reason I was hesitant at first to become a cosplayer, I was afraid people would judge me when I wasn’t able to make something.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Depends on the cosplay! My Black Canary outfit was basically already in my closet long before I ever thought to do her but my Widowmaker cosplay has taken me 6 months and I’m still not done. Her helmet is a pain in the butt to get right and don’t get me started on trying to figure out how to make her sniper rifle!
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
My favorite so far would definitely be my Yang Xiao Long cosplay from the anime, RWBY. She’s by far one of my favorite characters and is probably the most like me in terms of personality.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My favorite moment was when I cosplayed Sailor Moon and a little girl just stopped in her tracks and begged her mom to come say hello to me. She really thought I was Usagi, and I didn’t want to let her down. I hope I can be a role model she never forgets and I’ll certainly never forget her.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I wish I had more cosplay friends! My friend Angela and I try to coordinate our cosplays when we go to cons together (she was my Sailor Mars when I was Sailor Moon). It’s hard because everyone has their own tastes and character preferences. One day though!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I have a few. I’m updating my Yang Xiao Long to the newest outfit in the series with a mech arm, finishing my Widowmaker, and gender bent McCree. If I can fit it in there somewhere, I’d love to cosplay Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. We both have freckles so I’m going to try to make that work.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Stop hating on Harley Quinn cosplays. They’re adorable and I love them!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I’m all over the place. Generally, if it’s a strong female, I want to be her. I play a lot of video games and watch a ton of superhero and anime shows and movies. So, I’m all over the place!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
My favorite part is making the cosplays or dressing in them. As soon as I don their outfit/look I feel like I’ve become the character or at least, understand them better.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Etsy and Google for premade materials. Anything else is generally a good hobbies store.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Self-confidence is my biggest problem. I have a lot of people tell me I’m “gorgeous” and not to be insecure but you’d be surprised at how many people have also come up to me telling me I need to eat a cheeseburger or lose weight. That my cosplay could be better because XYZ. (As if I didn’t already know). That I mustn’t really be a nerd because I’m a girl or too pretty. But the worst is definitely when you get sexually harassed. I’ve had to overcome and learn to have a backbone a bit toward people like that.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve definitely become more confident and outgoing. There’s something about dressing up as someone else that helps bring you out of your shell a little bit. I’m very shy and withdrawn so it’s helped a lot to teach me how to be social!
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Cosplay is expensive and hard to make. Making stuff perfect takes a lot of time and materials, so practice and just learn to get comfortable.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I feel like it’s becoming more inclusive than when I first learned about it. Everyone now is about helping each other out and cosplaying together.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I want to gender bend Reinhardt or Arthas from WoW so bad! Their look and armor are so badass. It would be a huge undertaking but I’m so down.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Right now I have to. I set up a Patreon to help but even with my full-time job, it’s an expensive endeavor.
What does cosplay mean to you?
For me, it’s just another escape from reality. One where, for a day, I can be someone else and hopefully make someone else’s day by portraying their favorite character to the best of my ability.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
No, I almost said age, but the beauty of the age we live in is there are many diverse characters to love these days. I am so down to cosplay Betty White in my 60s, but let’s be real, I’ll probably just be Betty White all the time.
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