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Your new Cosplayer of the Month: Christina Dark.
Tell us the first time putting together a cosplay piece.
The first time that I ever assembled a costume, I created Batgirl. It was during my junior year of high school for Halloween. I had just barely been introduced to the world of cosplay, and unfortunately at that time there was no convention scene at my city. So, I saw Halloween as an opportunity to explore this newfound curiosity for costume making. I didn’t know how to sew at that point, so my Mom helped me to learn and create what I had in my head to something tangible. I couldn’t find any patterns, so I had to purchase a pre-made costume from the local store. It wasn’t my exact design idea, so we had to modify things by purchasing other fabrics and attaching them to complete the look I had envisioned. We improvised, which is a good thing to learn early on when starting out with crafting. Every costume requires new and different things, so it’s good to get practice being creative. I remember being so scared to use the sewing machine, as I had only ever watched her work with it for household projects. She helped me to gain confidence by just jumping in and guiding me if I ever felt overwhelmed or nervous.
It’s an interesting question, because in a way I have two answers that are both applicable. Batgirl was not my first “cosplay.” However, Zatanna was the first one I wore at a convention. But because Batgirl was my first experience with costume construction and it was inspired by cosplay, I like to think it is the more suitable answer when I’m asked about my first time. I still have Batgirl in my closet as a reminder of how far I’ve come with my craftsmanship. Even though to this day, the sewing machine is still an intimidating contraption for me.
What are the types of characters you’re drawn to for cosplaying?
I am without a doubt drawn to cosplaying characters that I perceive to be very strong-willed or that have a complicated background. I find an interesting complexity in characters that possess these traits, perhaps because I see the traits in myself. I see it as an opportunity for introspection. I do enjoy comic superheroes, as that is what I grew up on and what I’m most familiar with. That is for sure one requirement I have for everything I create; I don’t like to construct characters that I know nothing about.
One character I cosplay a lot is Catwoman. She is someone I look up to for many reasons, a few examples being that she is resilient and independent. She is strong but sweet, good but bad, the prototypical antihero. That is the type of character I like to explore.
What do you hope to achieve through cosplaying?
This is an interesting question because I think that the answer evolves as the years pass. Initially, I would have said that I wanted to be very successful, but my perception of what “successful” means has changed as I have grown older. Success to me 10 years ago would have had a more selfish definition. Today, it means helping others and inspiring them with the passion I have chosen to pursue. I want to show people that being brave and bold, and confident in oneself can open limitless opportunities. That the sky is the limit and you’ve got control of the wheel, no one can take your dreams away from you unless you give them that control.
Whether it’s with my cosplaying, my acting or my modeling, I want to empower others that need that encouragement. There are a lot of successful people out there that take their position for granted, and I don’t want to be one of them. I’m lucky to be in a position of doing what I love and having an opportunity to express myself creatively, that makes me feel a great sense of joy. And I’d like to encourage others to adopt that mindset – they should do what makes them happy and live life in the most positive space they can create for themselves. It may sound sappy, but I’m all for it. Pursue your dreams with all your heart and happiness will find you.