12Q with Danica Rockwood

Favorite Cosplay you’ve done?
Liara T’Soni, Mass Effect 3. By far the most challenging, time-consuming, and varied (material wise) character I’ve done so far.
Day Job?
I’m a full-time student, part-time after caretaker at a private school. They don’t know my outside hobbies.
Social Media Links

Booking Email
I like to be well-rounded. Jack-of-all-trades.

Dahlia Thomas (7)How do you think your cosplay inspires other people?
I don’t care about being pretty, girly, or clean in my photos. I don’t want to see myself in the image; I want the audience to see the characters in their world. I work hard with expression, building to accurate levels, and dedicated research to bring a character to life via photo. This isn’t a modest question to answer, but I’d like to think I’m encouraging others to attempt cosplay or costuming as a form of expression. I could be wrong, I never know what inspires people, but I hope that’s something.

(Two-part Question) Your least favorite cosplay was Jade, because you didn’t have the opportunity to build it. Do you think there’s a level of legitimacy that comes with building a costume versus buying it, and can a cosplayer be taken seriously if they don’t build their costumes or are there levels of cosplay?
When I said in my vlog that Jade was my least favorite, many of my page followers assumed I meant I hated it. I don’t, I’m just not attached. I noticed that even shooting that costume I felt like I went into the photo shoot blind. I realized that while building a costume I imagine what the character looks like, why they wear their outfit the way they do, what makes sense in the design, and all that jazz. I purchased this costume from China, came out of a Ziploc bag, and had no love, it was factory made.

I put it on and felt no emotional attachment to any hard work or dedication that I put forth into all of my costumes, this just felt like a Halloween store item. It just doesn’t sit right with me, I felt like I had let a bit of followers down by coping out and going to store-bought method. Even though this was only purchased for a model who wanted to do a VS fight with me and the only game she’d ever heard of to fight was Mortal Kombat. Jade was the only one I would be willing to put on.Dahlia Thomas (3)

That being said, there is a legitimacy of buying vs. building. My opinion, I find, is unpopular.
You can buy your costumes and be considered a cosplayer; you can build your costumes and still be a cosplayer as well. There’s no way it’s a completely different thing.

If your costume is 100% bought, commissioned, and not made by you in any way, you’re a model or a cosplayer. Cosplay means “Costume Play”. If you built your costume, you’re still a cosplayer, but you’re also a builder. The only thing that’s wrong in the situation is just the terminology. Store bought you’re a model, hand-made, you’re builder.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with anyone wearing store-bought unless they’re competing. If they compete, it’s if you’re modeling commissioned work while crediting the builder to the judges and handing them the award at the end of the show, you’re okay with me. Wow lengthy reply, I apologize.

You’ve expressed an interest in branching out to East coast cons, what about the Florida con scene has worn out its welcome?
I’d absolutely love to branch out to other conventions. The Florida scene is just getting a bit old on me. I’ve been adventuring around for nearly 2-3 yrs and I’m just in exploration mode. Florida cons are mainly anime and comic book based. I’m video game orientated; I don’t fit in very much.

Dahlia Thomas (1)Do you think any element of cosplay has become watered down over the past few years?
Well, I can’t accurately attest to that. I started cosplay over the past few years. I think some people are taking the easy way, cutting corners, and wimping out over a short period of time. I believe some cosplayers forget to have fun rather than rubberneck at others’ success. It’s a little tiring, but if you put on your peripheral blinders from them, you can have a great time doing costuming.

Why are building costumes so cathartic for you?
Haha! That’s a funny way of putting it.

Hmm. Well, I grew up in a home hand-made and built by father’s blood sweat, and tears. There may have been cement slabs, wood, insulation, paint, and some other materials to make the house, but it was mostly made of blood, sweat and tears. Kinda gross, but I digress.

My dad built everything around my family, he was always working on something, getting his hands dirty, and eager to show my brother and I how he made things. I was always fascinated. I had a jerk stepmother who had only one mission in her life: wedge her way in my father’s relationship with his kids.

Whenever I wanted to see what my dad was up to with building, my step mom would make me go do something else indoors. Kind of stupid. My father passed away a year shortly after divorcing that evil woman. (Stress induced heart attack, I was 18) I never got to build anything with my dad ever. I learned how to build by myself, like my dad did. Making impressive things was what my dad always did; I feel close to him whenever I create with my hands.

What other hobbies do you have?
Besides playing video games, I do photography, Horseback riding, and go on adventures.

What is your dog certified in, and why?
She’s ESA Certified. Which stands for Emotional Support Animal. I suffer from Chronic Depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Dahlia Thomas (11)Disorder). Sounds a lot worse than it is. I don’t need her around like a fish needs water, but all she does is just hang around if I want something warm to hug. The certificate just means that she’s in no way, shape, or form, a threat to the public. However, she’ll kill you with being so adorable!

If you could create a video game of your life, what’s the name, type of gameplay, and premise?
I had to think about this question for a while. A flash game somewhat mixed with Surgeon Simulator, but you’re building costumes while taking photos, petting animals, and lighting candles. Available on Steam soon.

What has been the most extreme transformation you’ve gone through for a cosplay project?
I’ve had many, I think the most extreme is Liara T’soni, I have to put on 6 ½ hours worth of make up just for the hear piece alone. Putting the costume on takes a solid 15-20 mins and I need at least 2 people to do it. I’m not very recognizable in that outfit.

Moxxi vs. Faye Valentine, who wins?
Faye, done. Faye is a good shot. She’s a bounty hunter, Moxxi.. Just no.

Dahlia Thomas (10)Give us five video game personalities you would pick to go on a trip to Mexico with, and what each character’s purpose would be for the trip.
1. Mad Moxxi, Borderlands 2- she’s there to serve us drinks, crack inappropriate jokes when she gets too intoxicated, and she’s super attractive so she’d probably get so many things for free while we’re on our trip.

2. Nathan Drake, Uncharted -incase we get in trouble he’ll save me any day and he’s not too hard on the eyes.

3. Ogrhen, Dragon Age Origins- He knows how to party. The end.

4. HK-47: KOTOR II: He’s the robot that’ll just say silly things while we hang out, he may suggest murder, but we will laugh and pretend he’s not serious.

5. Banjo-Kazooie, do they count as one or two? TSA may not confiscate the backpack? I don’t know, something about being in Mexico with a bear with a bird in his backpack amuses me. He’ll be there to do all the translating in his goofy bear language.

One thing you really don’t want anyone to know but you’re going to tell us anyway?
Well, that’s silly, I’ll tell you something that I don’t really tell many people because I don’t think it matters? If I don’t mist my bed with any type of fragrance at night I cannot and will not sleep. My bed has to smell nice. HAS TO!

In this madness we call cosplay all of the pretty pictures and fun costumes, we fail to realize that there are real people behind the mask of beauty, sometimes getting through each day by the skin of their teeth. Dahlia’s ability to show vulnerability behind her fun-loving personality displays that much more strength and beauty. A beauty that can’t be shown through a cosplay, but through the substance of character.

Much like the flower in which she shares the same name, Dahlia is strikingly original. Her convictions are well-founded, but her derpiness adds light-hearted volume to an already robust and engaging  personality.

Photo Credits: David Love, IM Photography, Driftwood Images, Short Fuse Pinups,Chasis Photo,

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