Welcome to another edition of Cosplay Spotlight – a new feature here at Nerd Nation, where each month we’ll be spotlighting a new cosplay artist in a showcase of both their talent on display in selected photos, as well as the personality behind the talent in an exclusive interview. For this third edition, we have selected Daphne Reeder!
Daphne is a cosplayer, actress, model, burlesque performer, costumer, and independent filmmaker from Charlotte, North Carolina who has been active in the entertainment industry for over a decade, and currently owns independent film production company Drache Media Films. We recently had the chance to sit down with Daphne follwing her guest appearance at ConCarolinas 2016 in Concord, North Carolina for an exclusive interview… read on to see what she had to say, and to see even more great photos!
Nerd Nation: To begin with, how and when did you first get into cosplaying?
Daphne Reeder: “I first got into cosplaying when I was pretty young, actually. Of course back then, I didn’t know it was cosplaying; I just liked dressing up like my favorite characters from She-Ra and He-Man. The first costume I ever made where I was trying to accurately dress like a character was a full dress kimono I hand-sewed in high school for a project on Anime. Don’t ask what the anime was, I couldn’t remember if I tried (laughs). Having a love of theatre only added to my love of dressing up, and when I went to my first convention, I saw a few people walking around dressed as characters from shows, comics, and anime. By the second day of the convention, I had my first truly official cosplay: Zoey Washburn from ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’. After that, it’s been me trying to see what new ideas I can come up with to “outdo myself.”
NN: Do you make all of your own costumes yourself?
DR: “A lot of my costumes are hand-made by myself, some pieces are bought on Amazon or eBay, and some of them are commissioned because I lack the time, exact skill, or expensive equipment. Many of them are actually amazing finds I came across while browsing thrift stores and consignment shops. Even with the costumes that I don’t make, I still manage to add my unique piece of flair to it to make it my own.”
NN: What are some of your biggest influences on your cosplay?
DR: “Well, if we’re talking about what influences me, I would have to say I’m a big fan of the steampunk and fantasy/sci-fi genres. I love intricate designs and I always try to figure out how to simplify the production of a piece without losing the details. Also, there’s always that one costume you just HAVE to dress in, and that sparks you into other directions without even realizing it.”
NN: Of all the cosplays you’ve done, what would you say was your favorite one? Why?
DR: “Ha! That’s such a hard question! I have a little over 25 distinct cosplays that I can think of off the top of my head that I currently do. I tend to have a flair for the dramatic, so any time I can airbrush myself, that’s a win for me. I’ll say my favorite for this month is my World of Warcraft Draenei Rogue – and I don’t even play WoW (laughs) . Who knows what it’ll be next month!”
NN: Your name seems to pop up on a lot of convention guest lists. Did you ever think you’d be a guest at a con, as opposed to just an attendee?
DR: “When I first started going to cons, I was always in awe of people and their costumes. Having a theatre background, I knew I wanted to dress up, too. I think I only ever went ‘plain-clothes’ once in my entire time attending conventions. The minute I put on an outfit, I immediately had people ask me about it, ask for tips for their costumes, and it went from there. I’m always willing to help people and give advice if they ask me, so I see it more as a natural progression from attendee to guest for me. As a guest speaking on panels, I can share with a lot more people than being flagged down in a hallway talking to one person. Not that I’m against being flagged down; by all means feel free to approach me anytime!”
NN: On the subject of conventions, what are some of your personal favorite conventions? Why?
DR: “That would be a tie between ConCarolinas and Mad Monster Party, each one for different reasons. I love being able to see my celebrity friends that come back regularly to Mad Monster. It’s one thing to say ‘Hey, I have so-and-so’s autograph’, but it’s a completely different level to say ‘Hey, let me text so-and-so to see when they’re getting here’. These are people I’ve formed friendships with – because celebrities are people too – that I only get to see once a year, so the reunions make it fun for me. ConCarolinas will always be my hom con, and it’s where I like to showcase and try out any new cosplays I have. Want to see what Daphne’s going to be sporting around cons for the year? Come to ConCarolinas and see it there first!”
NN: You also do quite a bit of modeling. Do you prefer cosplay modeling or more traditional modeling?
DR: “I am very much a chameleon; I love dressing in all styles and genres, and for me, I don’t see cosplay modeling as being that much different from ‘traditional modeling’. You put on clothing, accent with makeup and props, then pose how the photographer tells you. A lot of times with the cosplay modeling, the prep time is longer, especially if you’re doing a lot of airbrushing. I’m willing to do any form of modeling as long as it’s tasteful and creative, and as long as the model and photographer both are having a fun time doing it!”
NN: You also work a lot in film and television, do you feel that your film work helps with your cosplaying in any way?
DR: “Definitely! Several of my cosplays are original characters from scripts I’ve written for film featurettes and series. It’s a way of bringing the character closer to the people who enjoy them. A perfect example is the star character from my upcoming Star Wars fan film, ‘Forsaken’. I wanted to use her as a way to get people excited about the project and about Drache Media Films, my independent film company… to have that connection with the character before they even saw her on screen; almost like a ‘living teaser’. And because the concept was going to be going before the judging eyes of the public, it made me take extra care in making sure she was exactly the way I wanted her to look. I still have a few tweaks I want to do, but I’m happy with the results thus far. I’ll let you in on a little secret: you might have seen a cosplay I’ve done for a character whose script is still in the process of being written… but I won’t tell you which one!”
NN: Any new projects currently in the works that you’d care to share with us?
DR: “As far as film goes, as soon as we finish ‘Forsaken: A Star Wars Fan Film‘, the next project is going to be an original horror feature. In the cosplay world, I have two projects that will be gracing the con circuit. I’m almost complete with my Darth Talon cosplay, and plan to join the 501st Legion very soon. After that, I do have my eye on Fran from Final Fantasy XII, or at least a Viera—which is her race; we’ll see how that goes.”
NN: Finally, what advice would you give to someone new to the cosplay world?
DR:“Just have fun with it. Find something you enjoy and see what kind of creative ideas can spring from that, and always remember that your first attempt doesn’t have to be perfect: we all have to start somewhere. Another big thing is to always be open to asking for help: you’re not alone in the world, and there are plenty of people who would love to help you realize your costuming goals. Lastly, I would say make sure you don’t max yourself out: trying to take on more than you can handle will only lead to you getting stressed, and not enjoying your costume. That’s also why asking for help when you need it is important. Remember: you want to enjoy what you make and enjoy wearing it. That’s the fun of cosplaying!”
We would like to thank Daphne for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview. For more on Daphne and Drache Media Films, please visit the official Drache Media Films website at http://drachemedia.wix.com/drachemediafilms and like their official Facebook @DracheMedia and Twitter @DracheMedia, and check out Daphne Reeder on IMDB!
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine