I'm so excited to finally share the wonderful Dara Def. She's a hilarious streamer on twitch and a very talented cosplayer. Read her full interview below.
I’m Dara Def. I’m a 29-year-old Canadian cosplayer and Twitch broadcaster and uber dork. I’ve been playing video games since I was little, starting off with Mario bros. My brother was 5 years older than me and I always looked up to him and wanted to do whatever he did, so if it wasn’t for his love of video games, I may have never been interested in them.
I graduated from Mount Royal University with a Communication degree with a major in Journalism and minor in Public Relations. I started a club in university called Club N3Rd, as I wanted to share my love of gaming and geek culture with everyone and build a local community where people could feel comfortable waving their geek flag high and make friends while doing it! I ran it for 3 years and had over 700 members. While I had to step down after graduation, I still run local events in Calgary to keep the community strong!
How and when did you get into cosplay?
I started cosplaying in 2006 when a friend wanted to go to the Calgary Comic Expo. She had been playing Warhammer Online and asked if I would make a costume with her from the game. I chose the witch elves as I love elves and evil characters. I made it out of craft foam from an online tutorial and ever since that day, I had fallen in love with cosplay!
How did you come up with your cosplay name?
Def is short for my last name, Defreitas easy peasy.
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
In the summer I babysit 4 children, and in the winter last year I had lost my job at a yoga studio when it went out of business. I couldn’t find other work and was denied EI, so panicked, I took the plunge into streaming full-time. I streamed creative – making costumes, and playing video games and it was able to keep me afloat until the babysitting job began in april. I may even do it again this winter if all goes well!
What is your proudest cosplay accomplishment?
I would say the cosplays that I have come up with my own designs for and mashup ideas. My first mashup was punk rock sailor scouts I did with a group. My cosplay partner-in-crime and I came up with the idea and no one had really done it before – which really appeals to me. I have no problem doing costumes that have been thought of or done before, but it’s really extra fun when it hasn’t been! So that was incredibly fun.
Our my little PWNY costumes were next – MLP characters with a post-apocalyptic twist. Again, we hadn’t seen it done before and thought it would be a neat mash up to do and I loved the final products we ended up with. Lastly our Harry Potter Battle Hogwarts costumes had to be my greatest accomplishment in terms of the finished product. (I have to give Creationsbycaiti credit for the idea on this one!) I created my design as I went and spent over 150 hours making it (all the while streaming the process). I’ve never gone so hard on a costume before and never went so into detailing. I pushed myself so hard and am incredibly proud of the outcome
What cosplay(s) are you working on right now?
Since I had so much fun making an apocalyptic costume, and want to continue doing fun mash-ups. I had been inspired by Riverdale to make a post-apocalyptic Betty (or Ronnie, I haven’t decided yet!) costume. I want It to be more detailed and better than my post apocalyptic rainbow dash, as I always try to push myself a little further every time to be better and make more skilled outfits each time. This is the first time I’ve told anyone about this upcoming costume! No one knows yet :P
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
Miss Sinister is such an incredibly talented, strong, and beautiful woman. Her makeup skills are absolutely insane!! I love all her costumes <3
What is your dream cosplay?
My dream cosplay is my own original character elven armored costume and I would absolutely love to do any photoshoots where I’m riding a horse (making elven inspired horse armor would be so cool too!) I love horses and miss riding them, so I NEED to do this at some point in my life!
What is your favorite convention to attend and why?
Perhaps I’m biased because I live here, but Calgary Expo is always my favourite con to attend – and I’ve been to a lot of cons! I’ve lived here all of my life and tried to be very present in the gaming/cosplay community, so basically this convention is like one big party where you know nearly everyone!
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
When cons don’t have enough seating, especially in food-serving areas!!
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
It’s okay to not feel cosplay anymore or to fall out of love with it. I have fallen in and out of love with it many times and I felt bad and like I was letting my fans down for not doing as much cosplay as I used to. But I’ve learned that I need to do what makes me happy, and if cosplay doesn’t make me happy anymore than I need to accept it and move on – luckily inspiration hits me and I tend to keep coming back to it!
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplayers?
Just be kind to everyone. Cosplay is expanding rapidly and lots of people are doing it for varying reasons. Be respectful and leave the drama out of it! It’s incredibly hard not to compare yourself to others – try to focus on yourself and your own goals. Some of these people have been cosplaying for many many years, some have backgrounds where they have professionally worked on costumes/props/design or it may be there full-time job so they have much more time to pour into their work. We can be our own worst enemies and really hard on ourselves sometimes. Remember cosplay should be FUN not feel like a daunting, awful task. If that’s how it’s starting to feel, really sit back and think about why and who you are doing it all for and reassess.
Where can we find you on all things social?
Photos for this interview provided by Britney Quinn, Destiny's Curse Photography, and Peter Fiornio with editing by Bosslogic Inc.
What a fantastic interview. Go support this lovely lady on all things social and tune in to some of her streams!