To those in the unknown, Cosplay is an extreme form of dress up, but that couldn’t be further from reality.
Ms. Darlene aka Super Showgirl talks to us about how Cosplay helped her bring about change & positivity.
To those in the unknown, Cosplay is simply an extreme form of dress up. It’s people attempting to feel like heroes, by wearing them.
But that couldn’t be further from the reality. Well at least not for Ms. Darlene aka the ever-talented Super Showgirl.
Slipping into her first suit almost a decade ago, when Cosplay wasn’t as mainstream, Darlene said it started as a way to express her passion for comics and the characters that she felt akin.
However, over time that passion turned into a real life super power that brings smiles to sick children’s faces, and raises awareness for breast cancer, all while helping her combat her own personal battles.
Darlene told Geeks Down Under that by dressing up as Wonder Woman, Captain America or one of the other 30 Cosplays she’s designed and co-created she’s been able to bring joy and make a difference in a way she could never have done as simply herself.
“The thing that I’m totally addicted to is when a little kid comes up to me, looks at me and he or she doesn’t know that I’m Darlene or that I’m a Cosplayer,” she started to explain.
“They just know the character and you can see it in their eyes, they just light up at meeting their hero.”
“Especially with sick children, it’s amazing because for a moment you help them forget everything that’s happening to them and they’re genuinely happy. That’s my super power.”
In addition to bringing joy to young ones, Darlene also uses her power to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, a cause close to her heart.
After losing her mum to the disease in 2012, Darlene made it her mission to ensure that everyone who sees her in costume walks away with a plan to get a check up.
“When people take a photo with me, I want them to look at it a few months later and remember to get a mammogram,” she explained.
“I want to save lives. I don’t want people to lose their mum they way I did.”
Of course, while making a difference through Cosplay is vital to Darlene, so too is bringing justice to the characters she represents.
She said that her Cosplay preparation will start almost a year before she’s due to debut a look. She’ll personally design all her outfits and then work with a Western Sydney tailor to bring them to life.
Although she always looks identical to characters such as Maleficent, Belle and Storm, each outfit is slightly modified to feature her own special touch.
“I don’t want to copy characters exactly, I like to bring my own interpretation without losing the essence,” Darlene said.
“I make little tweaks such as bringing ruffles to Belle’s yellow ball gown.”
Once the costume is ready, she’ll spend the night before ‘getting into character’ by watching their movies and shows or reading their comics.
The day of dress up, Darlene said she will spend the most time doing her makeup, which can often require several wipes and restarts.
“People often ask me how I do my makeup, or how I make myself look like certain characters,” she said.
“I use to spend hours offering advice and giving step by step tips on Instagram messages, but now I’ve launched my own Youtube page that will hopefully help everyone in one location.
“The page will cover my Cabaret looks, general Cosmetic advice and of course, Character Cosplay.”
The Youtube page called ‘Nurul Illyana’ launched this month and already has five videos, including tutorials on mastering Wonder Woman’s makeup.
Click here to check it out.
Before heading off, Darlene offered one bit of advice for anyone wanting to take on Cosplay, and that’s to be prepared and stay composed when dealing with the public.
“Whatever comes at you, you have to take it with a smile and be sincere,” she advised.
“If you’re going to have attitude or get upset about the little things, you might as well not do it.”