Cosplay in itself is an art form, and with each art form, artistic expression differs; that's no different from cosplay as an art form cause although they may use the same medium and character, they are all represented in unique and specific ways to each individual. Dana Michelle Moore is the Unique Artist I had the privilege of speaking to this week; the 23-year-old cosplayer goes by the cosplay name Sundai which she got as a nickname from a community she's a part of on discord. "I use discord a lot, and when the world shut down during covid, I joined a community on discord there that soon became a part of my support system. A friend of mine on there found out I'd never had a nickname and was determined to get me one, so she came up with Sundai, with the "Dai being a short form of Dana; I loved it so much I began to use it as my cosplay name" She said as she explained how her cosplay name came about.
Dana started cosplaying Officially in 2017 and has always loved Sci-fi and nerd culture but somehow saw cosplay as a little intimidating and unattainable until she got into college, where she made a lot of black nerd friends who loved SciFi and cosplayed and that helped get her out of her shell. "Cosplay has always been something I loved, but it seemed unattainable in a way; my best friend was the one who helped get me out of my shell, in the beginning, to try it out and post my cosplay on Twitter; once I started the Twitter community were really supportive and helped me gain a lot of confidence in my skill" she explained.
She takes daily inspiration from the people around her when she feels down to keep going despite the challenges. She said, "when I see people who love what they do, they motivate me to keep doing what I love, and it doesn't have to be cosplay. It could be an architect who loves what they do; just seeing them so passionate about something gives me a boost in energy to continue on my journey".
Dana's Creative process starts with what characters she can create from what's around her; as she reminisces about the characters she loves growing up, she begins to piece together and create items that she feels reflects that character. When she first began cosplaying, Dana started from the things she had in her closet, mixing and matching till she got her desired outcome. As she continued to grow, she began incorporating thrifted items and some upcycled pieces into her collection to create these fantastic characters.
When asked what her favourite character to cosplay so far, none came to mind immediately; she explained it'll be a complicated process to choose just one as they are all very dear to her. Dana has a powerful support system from her Discord Community to her family, who support her dearly. The Ohio Native cosplayer said that in the beginning, she didn't want to be seen as weird by her family, so she was hesitant to tell them about her love for cosplay, which is a very relatable fear that a lot of people have. Once her family saw what she did, they loved it and have been the most supportive; her mother is her biggest cheerleader and supports her through all her cosplay processes. "Whenever I begin a new cosplay, my mother is always there cheering me on every step of the way, trying to guess the character, even helping out in the creative process of coming up with the costumes.
In her everyday life, Dana works in a library which she loves doing as she's surrounded by literature every day that helps her be more creative when it comes to creating the characters. She loves her work at the Library as it helps fuel her creativity. Her love for cosplay and characters helps fuel her to continue to do what she loves, even in the most challenging times.
Dana is truly an amazing Cosplayer who takes her artistic expression to the next level with the simplest of materials; she's someone to watch as she grows and develops more as a cosplayer with a flare for creativity. I can't wait to see what she does next as she takes the nerd stories and flips them on their heads as she recreates these characters we all love.