A beaming image of positivity, perseverance, and inclusivity in the cosplay community shines through the work of cosplayer Diana The Great. Entirely self-taught, Diana has amassed an impressive portfolio of costumes over her six-plus years of official cosplaying.
Widely recognized throughout the Lore Olympus webcomic fandom, Diana showcases a colorful array of characters from the comic brought to life through her costumes. She notably portrays the main protagonists of the comic, the gods of the Underworld Hades and Persephone. She claims the latter as her personal favorite cosplay, of which her most recent adaptation was photographed for the publisher of the Lore Olympus graphic novels, which she described as “an honor.”
She gave insight into the process to prepare for the photoshoot: “I sourced materials and supplies for about a week before working to get everything ready. Making the Dress. Steaming the wig. Hand painting heels because I couldn't find white platform stilettos in November. Dyeing a pair of gloves. dying tights. Making a cape, too. It was a crazy time but it was a good time, and the pictures came out fantastic.”
Diana has not only accomplished much as a creator, but has overcome hardship through it all after losing her father in the last year. Though it was during a personal, difficult time, a moment of joy came through that would become a memory to last a lifetime when she entered the cosplay contest at Planet Comicon 2021 with her Obsidian (Steven Universe) cosplay.
“I won Best Foamwork at the master level. I entered Journeyman/Intermediate. And honestly in the green room, we didn't have audio so we weren't really aware of what was happening. When the contest runners called my name to come with them, I figured it was for a consolation prize or something like that. It didn't dawn on me that it was for a prestigious award until we were lined up, and I saw one of my other friends with me who I know was at a Master level. I had no clue why I was there and when the emcee called my name I still didn't realize it. You can watch the video replays and hear me shriek because I was shocked. But it was a really special moment because it was a time I wanted to give up, especially after the loss of my father. The last conversation we had was about me going to this convention and competing again. It was such an accomplishment to not only win an award, but to move up a rank too. Daddy would be overjoyed.”
A fan of using EVA foam and traditional sewing to bringing her visions to life, Diana described her favorite parts of her creative process, which is seeing everything come together.
“Sometimes we get frustrated, or we give up, or want to give up. Cosplayers who build often make something out of nothing at all. And watching it come to fruition is really gratifying and gives me a sense of accomplishment, because I did that. I did the thing.”
“I hope to impact the cosplay and creator community by bringing representation for plus size, black femme cosplayers, as well as a resource for education in the cosplay community. I do my best to be transparent about my process, even if I get it wrong, because learning is important. you don't know unless you ask, and knowledge is power. I didn't get into cosplay until well into my thirties, and I know that there are some people who struggle with their age, or they feel they don't have the right skills. I am entirely self taught, and though I'm not perfect, I still seem to be an example of someone who refuses to give up. It's never too late to start. Cosplay truly is for everyone.”
Diana continues to stay busy in her creative endeavors and has plans to keep educating and advocating for other cosplayers to follow in her footsteps.
“For future goals and plans, right now I am hosting a cosplay challenge for the Lore Olympus community, #LOCosplayChallenge, to help generate content and inspire other cosplayers during the mid season break for the webcomic. I also hope to finally open an Etsy shop with a few Anime inspired POC Styled wigs too. I often put a piece of me with every cosplay that I make, and sometimes that boils down to the hairstyle my character has. I like to have representation there for we black girls, because it means a lot to see someone like me, with hair like mine, in mainstream media. Since there's a disproportionate amount of we POC in mainstream media, I will do my part to help put us there. I also operate a cosplay event calendar, @cosplaycelebrations, which is a resource for fun cosplay themed events so that cosplayers and folks in their respective fandoms can plan better, such as Black Fae Day, Mer May, Sailor Moon's Birthday, the anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, and a bunch more notable nerd events. anyone can contribute, I just centralize it on a domain for easy access.”
To follow along in Diana’s cosplay adventures, follow her projects at @DianaTheGreat as well as @cosplaycelebrations.