Dagen’s Cosplay is just a normal girl (well as normal as any Cosplayer can be) that enjoys cosplaying and all the things that entails. With 3 Cosplays under her belt she is slowly making her way through the crazy world of Cosplay. On this lovely adventure she has been willing to take a bit of rest and answer some questions for us at CCU.
Jack Nickelz: So tell us what first got you started in Cosplay?
Dagen’s Cosplay: It’s a bit of a convoluted story. I’ve always loved drama and theatre, and even from a young age I remember seeing these amazing outfits in cartoons, animes, and video games (Like the Knight Sabres from Bubblegum Crisis and the Dragoons in Legend of Dragoon, both on my future Cosplay list) and dreamed about making them. I dressed up once, probably about 13 years ago, as Yui from Fushigi Yuugi for Animethon, but it didn’t really stick. Then in 2012 my cousin and I went to the Symphony of the Goddesses, and after seeing the amazing Cosplayers there, decided that the next time we would join in on the fun. I’ve been addicted ever since.
Jack Nickelz: What was your first Cosplay outfit?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I guess my first official Cosplay was Yui from Fushigi Yuugi in her shrine outfit many years ago before Cosplay had a known name. I personally consider my first Cosplay since entering back into it is Sephiroth from FFVII which I made and competed in for ECEE in 2014.
Jack Nickelz: How was it going to a convention in full gear?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I love going to conventions decked out in full gear. Ever since the first time people have been incredibly welcoming and supportive. I am blessed to be a part of a great community in my hometown and most people are extremely to share their knowledge and geek out with like-minded people.
Jack Nickelz: What has been some of your fav. Cosplays to do?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I don’t have a lot of Cosplays so far, but I have enjoyed each of them for different reasons, a bit clichéd I know. Sephiroth is a blast because he is a well know character and there’s nothing like hearing people hum “One Winged Angel” as you walk down the hall. I know that my Twili Midna is far from perfect, but I love the detail I was able to incorporate through airbrushing. Mordred was my first full armor build and I learned a lot about how certain materials work as well as the joy of not being able to sit all day.
Jack Nickelz: Do you have a Cosplay that you are becoming known for?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I think that I am probably most well-known for my Sephiroth Cosplay. It gets a lot of wear, probably because it’s my easiest one to put on and I love the reactions I receive from people while wearing it. One of my favorite memories from it would be at “A New World” final fantasy concert where the audience sang some of the choir’s part while the chamber orchestra played his theme song.
Jack Nickelz: How do you pick which Cosplay to do?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I generally pic a Cosplay because I love the character, though for some reason I tend to lean towards flawed and slightly twisted characters. The other reasons I will do a Cosplay is because I love the design and source material, and doing a group with friends is always a great experience.
Jack Nickelz: How long does it normally take you to do a Cosplay?
Dagen’s Cosplay: It really depends on the Cosplay. Generally in the past most of my Cosplays have taken 1-2 months working during the evenings and weekends. It’s a bit hard to actually determine the number of hours I spend working on a Cosplay, I gave up counting once I reached 300 hours of work for Midna and haven’t counted hours since.
Jack Nickelz: What’s the hardest Cosplay that you have had to do?
Dagen’s Cosplay: Each Cosplay I’ve done has come with its own challenges; however the hardest one would probably be Twili Midna for several reasons. For the inside of the cape I blocked out the design with painters tape, which was incredibly frustrating to get as symmetrical as I could, and airbrushing it all by hand. I also created a pattern, covered it in masking tape, and cut out shapes to get a subtle airbrush design on the outside of the cape and skirt, the majority of the work being done pulling 20 hour days during reading week. As much as I love the character it was very out of my comfort zone to show that much skin, especially on stage in front of a full theatre at CCEE. All in all I learned a lot from that experience and grew a lot both technically and as a person from it.
Jack Nickelz: Who are some of the Cosplayers that you admire?
Dagen’s Cosplay: There are so many incredible Cosplayers out there that it’s hard to keep track of them all. I don’t know if there are specific Cosplayers that I admire, rather a type of Cosplays that I do. I know it sounds cliché (that tends to be a thing with me) but to me it doesn’t matter if you buy your Cosplay, put it together from a second hand store, beg your mom to make it, or spend thousands of hours getting it perfectly screen accurate. The Cosplayers I admire are the ones that do it because they truly enjoy it and support others in the community, not elitists or those out for their five minutes of fame. It’s very easy to get discouraged in this hobby, especially when it feels like some have the expectation that your first ever Cosplay should be blockbuster movie quality. We all start somewhere and we all learn as we go, often by a lot of trial and error.
Jack Nickelz: Are there any Cosplays that you had to adjust because they were too revealing?
Dagen’s Cosplay: Other than Midna I generally haven’t chosen to do many overly revealing Cosplays. I’m currently a bit addicted to big armor builds; however I don’t see the issue with altering a Cosplay to feel more comfortable in it. Even with Midna I became ok with wearing pretty much only body paint, a cape, and a skirt because it was a character I was portraying, not myself. I’m not sure if I will do more Cosplays like that, but I would have no qualms altering something to be more comfortable.
Jack Nickelz: Why do you think that Cosplay is becoming more main stream?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I’m really not sure why it has grown in popularity recently. Maybe it has to do with geek culture generally being more accepted? Or even with the prevalence of social media in day to day life? I find that, even though you may not know who a character is or where they’re from, the vast majority of people can appreciate the skill and time that goes into creating a design that was often never intended to be 3 dimensional. It might also stem from the nostalgia that comes from seeing characters that you love, and especially those that you grew up with, in the real world and being able to take it a step further and pay homage to them by becoming them. I think that most people have a fictional character that they relate to, for whatever reason, and it’s very rewarding as a Cosplayer to see others reactions to your character.
Jack Nickelz: What do family and friends think about your Cosplaying?
Dagen’s Cosplay: My friends and family have been incredibly supportive of my hobby. My parents have read up on Cosplay to better understand what exactly it is that I have gotten myself into, even though it’s something they have no personal interest in. Even my coworkers have been very encouraging and are always excited to see my latest progress.
Jack Nickelz: What are your thoughts on people saying Cosplay is becoming too corporate?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I can appreciate where they are coming from. Unfortunately as things become more popular and prominent in the public eye, there will be someone that finds a way to make money from it. In some ways it is nice for those Cosplayers that don’t feel they have the time, skills, or interest to make their own Cosplays. At the same time it makes it harder for the commissioners attempting to make some extra cash, especially when buyers often want the commissioner’s quality for a big box store price.
Jack Nickelz: What future Cosplays can we expect to see from you this year?
Dagen’s Cosplay: I’m currently working away like a crazy person to finish an RPG interpretation of Sailor Jupiter by Floof Canon for CCEE at the end of April. I also have plans to do an original design of Nayru from the Zelda series as well as Astharoshe from Trinity Blood this summer. There are quite a few that I’m hoping to complete this year, however I often have delusions of grandeur and tend to bite off more than I can chew.
Jack Nickelz: Thank you for taking time out to do this. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans?
Dagen’s Cosplay: Thank you for all of your support. It is incredibly encouraging to see others enjoying what I do, especially when half the time I feel like throwing it across the room. I would also like to say, if you’ve ever thought about trying Cosplay, don’t worry about being the best “insert character here” or pulling off a perfect Cosplay your first time, but give it a go anyways. You’ll probably be surprised at what you can do and you might discover a hidden talent. You probably won’t be the next world wide Cosplay sensation, very few are, but you will meet some amazing people, often ones you never thought would be a geek. Just do your best to steer clear of the Cosplay drama and have fun! That’s really what it’s all about.