First name and last initial: Mellyssa D.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Born and raised in Chester, Pennsylvania but currently resides in San Bernardino, California.
How long have you been cosplaying? I started cosplaying at the age of 4 and stopped due to the fact that I was always teased and talked about. I picked cosplaying back up in 2011.
Which characters have you cosplayed? Chun Li, Harley Quinn, Dark Link, Riddler, Blackcat, Catwoman, Sith Lord, Steampunk, and Harajuku style.
What inspired you to start cosplaying? For as long as I can remember, I was bullied for anything and everything I did. I always had confidence issues. I was tall, a nerd, above average intelligence, and an overall nice person. I was always into anime and manga and how people dressed as their favorite characters. It was more than just Halloween costumes to me. It was a way for me to be stronger. Cosplaying actually inspired me to have more confidence in myself as a person. There are times that I do not, and when I cosplay, I feel strong and almost invincible.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I am a freelance graphic designer and writer. I am the owner of Ai-Konic Graphics. I have a bachelors degree in Graphic Design and am working towards my masters in graphic design. When I am not designing, I enjoy all forms of music and writing poetry. It’s my other form of creative output. Anything I have in mind normally is writing as a poem. I am also into fitness, bodybuilding, and nutrition. I push my body to the limit while keeping healthy. I like to see what I can do sometimes.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? As far as my costumes are concerned, I enjoy layering. The challenge is putting pieces together to fit my body frame. I look for pieces that are inexpensive and unique and use them together with other pieces to create certain styles of cosplay. I am very picky and precise so it may take months for me to complete one cosplay.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? If you are new to cosplay or thinking about cosplay, do it. Do not let someone tell you otherwise. Start with creating a cosplay that is casual and start small, especially if you have low income like myself. If you are planning to attend a convention, start local and commute. You will save money that way. However, one key word: save. Save money if cosplaying is something you are interested in.