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 famous members of the cosplay universe.
About Daeris Cosplay
Hi! I am Daeris Cosplay. I’m 22 years old and live in the splendid Netherlands. I have been cosplaying since 2014, and when I don’t cosplay, I study film sciences, work in a theater or host bachelorette parties! My masters’ thesis will be about the performance of fan identity of cosplayers and why they attend conventions.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I always had a massive love for costumes. Theatre costumes, film costumes, anything that only resembled historical fantasy had my love. My favorite film Narnia had it all. I was 14 when I started doing research, how each dress was built, the shapes, the fabrics. I started doodling costumes, made a reference book full of sketches. As time went by, I kept drawing analytic pages for my favourite costumes. I started following cosplayers online, and I encountered a whole new world. When I was 19, I was going to attend a ren fair with some friends. I knew costume was the dress code, so I dug into my reference book and chose a simple costume to make for my first fair, suitable for a hot summer day. I loved doing it. All those dresses I had always dreamed about; I could make them all. I could finally make my dreams come true, I could actually own all those dresses I had studied for so long. I felt like I came home at last.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
For now, I cosplay for fun, but I hope a career might lie ahead. It would be my absolute dream to attend conventions as an invited cosplay guest, but I have also made a few connections with costume designers during my internship last year. I might also end up doing commissions, I really don’t know. The world of costumes is so broad, anything can happen.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
My favorite bit of making a costume is seeing the final result, and how close I have come to the original with my skills and materials. It’s definitely more satisfactory to oversee the entire process and put all that effort into something I will wear at that convention/photoshoot. My costumes are unique, I put a lot of myself into them. My costumes reflect who I am.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
The time that goes into a cosplay is different for each one. Generally, I am clocking them at roughly 50 hours, but the more complicated and the more hand sewing it requires, the longer I’m working on them. My Eliza Hamilton dress currently takes the lead, with the undergarments (stays, underskirts and bum pad) and dress taking up 92 hours.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
I love being Merida because she is so much like me. Strong minded, but messy. We both love archery, and Scotland is SO. PRETTY. I always have a lot of fun when I’m wearing her. I also love being Eliza Hamilton, because of the energetic reactions I get from fans of the musical. I have heard I made people’s day so often, I really like that!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
The best thing that happened to me was when I went to a local convention where Lee Arenberg was guesting. A friend of mine was taking part in a huge Pirates of the Caribbean group, and Lee invited them all over to his hotel that evening. I sensed a unique experience, and I knew that one guy in the group, so even though I was dressed as Merida, I went along to the hotel. We had a drink and Lee told us many stories about filming the Pirates films, about Johnny Depp, we could all ask questions. We took selfies and he signed some photos from the con. I still have him on Facebook!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
Group cosplays… Well, the thing is, they are incredibly difficult to plan. More like, try to stick to the plan you made a year ago and ignore all other cosplay plans you might have. If all goes according to plan, the group can slay and be really cool. On the other hand, it also means you have to stick together the entire con to keep the effect of the group cosplay going. The one time we got the entire Pirates group together we kept losing one of our Jacks. Not to mention you all need to make costumes of a certain level to keep matching with each other… If really well executed, I can thoroughly enjoy them. Otherwise, not so much, unfortunately.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Gosh, my list is so long! I really want to do two projects this year: Belle from the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast, and Susan Pevensie from Narnia (since the second film exists 10 years this year, and aside from feeling old, I would like to celebrate this milestone with a cosplay). If I have time to spare, I’ll dig through my reference book and pick another 🙂
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I have never seen a community being so defensive of race than the Disney community. The major unwritten rule is that anyone can cosplay anyone in their own way. No one has issues with genderbends. Plenty of people are offended if someone either cosplays a Disney character that is of another race without changing their skin tone (labeling it “whitewashing” since there already are so few POC characters) and if someone changes their skin tone ever so slightly to better match a character (instantly deeming it “blackfacing” and “cultural appropriation”). I can’t stand white people defining when a cosplay is offensive and when it isn’t. Besides, many people show their love for a film, which makes that particular cosplay actually far from cultural appropriation. It can better be defined as cultural appreciation. Loving a film, and thus another culture, so much you would go through all the research and trouble to make the most accurate representation should never be a negative thing in my opinion. Unfortunately, many people disagree with me. Unpopular opinion, sorry.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
At the moment I am heavily influenced by the 18th century. I recently did Elizabeth Swann, Eliza Hamilton, and the Belle I am working on all share similar 18th-century shapes. I recently stepped back and looked at all my favorite characters and I found they are all strong women who fight for what they believe in while wearing the most stunning fantasy or historical gowns: Daenerys, Merida, Arwen, Belle, you name them, there are plenty!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I spend way too much time researching my costumes. I really love figuring out where the seams should be placed to get that exact same look, to find the perfect fabric. That excitement to see it all come together, that moment before cutting and sewing it all. The photos you get back after attending cons and shoots then re-confirm all that excitement all over again. It’s like an addiction: getting good photos and always wanting more and better photos!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Honestly? Google. I try to figure out what kinds of fabric I need, and then I just google the name of that fabric. I always go to the local fabric market to get a feel, but they never seem to have what I’m looking for. I try to keep my fabrics European based for cost-reasons, but I just found the perfect brocade for Susan in India, so actually whatever.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
My self-esteem. I’ve had a low self-esteem since forever, and I still make my dresses a size too large to hide my stomach. I try to avoid tight dresses and costumes which are barely covering me. This is the reason I have fallen in love with historical costumes, as corsets can do a lot for the body. There are still some ongoing issues regarding body weight in the entire cosplay community with photographers tending to choose models who are skinny and model-like, which always feels like my body is more important than the work I put in my costume.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Life lessons not really. I do keep in mind dressing up for a convention is no different than dressing up for a football/soccer game. The opinions of people on the street don’t matter. And I also live by the motto “never failed, never learned”, since it’s okay to fail, start over and improve your original plan.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
I don’t have a golden rule. What I do say is that your hair can make or break your cosplay. If you have to invest in anything, it’s a good wig. Really.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I have only been cosplaying for four years now, I can’t really say anything has changed. I think the perspective on the community from the outside has changed since the convention came to our country and the media started giving it some attention, but other than that? Nothing much.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Gosh. Only one? I want to make a stage accurate Christine from Phantom of the Opera, that blue mausoleum dress, also known as the Wishing Dress.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
No. I buy whatever I can for my projects when I have the funds for it. I prefer accuracy over cheapness.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is a true form of self-expression, not only creatively, but also socially. It’s a way to meet other fans and to explore who you are yourself. The choice for a certain character shows a lot about the cosplayer themselves: are they like that character, do they wish to become more like that character? There is a whole psychology involved, and that is so interesting to me.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
No. I have found a world where I can feel like home, wearing the dresses I have always wanted, and I have a place to wear them to. In the rare scenario I ever become an actress, I probably have no need for cosplaying anymore, but since the chances for that are really slim, I don’t think I’ll ever quit.
You can follow and view more of Daeris Cosplay here
Check out our other cosplay features here
If you are a cosplayer and would like to be featured, please fill out our submission form