Daphne Cortes: Bringing superheroes to life

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In the past few years, we have seen an unprecedented increase in superhero movies and TV shows. Marvel and DC continue to battle it out in theaters with their respective superhero universes, and Netflix and other TV studios have been producing new superhero titles left and right. While advancement in cinematography and graphics might be fueling this influx of production, it also shows that our interest in superheroes haven’t faded a bit, which is music to the ears of superhero cosplayer Daphne Cortes.

 

 

Young superhero

Daphne has been doing cosplay since 2011. But her love for superheroes? That one goes way back. “I grew up watching heroes and superheroes always saving the day from bad guys or making a big difference in their own ways. As a kid, I was really inspired and wished to be like them back then,” shares Daphne. Her first foray into cosplay was when a friend invited her to suit up as Erika from the anime Daimos for a group cosplay competition, as part of the 25th anniversary of TOEI, the company behind the iconic robot anime. From then on, she did her homework, learned the ropes, and now actively belongs to three cosplay groups: Team Cyback Metafusion, Cosplay Heroes, and Fil Xmen.

 

(Photo by: Edu Boquecosa)

 

But it wasn’t a particularly smooth road for Daphne in pursuing her passion for cosplay. Although she had support from family, she had to overcome a couple of hurdles. “They were very supportive, especially my parents. My parents know that I really want to try cosplaying since high school but I wasn’t able to because of my studies and work as an artist under ABS-CBN Star Magic during that time.” Still, she soldiered on and eventually, she was able to juggle school, work, and cosplay.

All cosplayers have their own structure that they follow when planning a cosplay project. For Daphne, she starts with a list of characters. After choosing a particular character, she does an extensive research on the costume and saves all the high-resolution photos she can get for reference. Finally, she makes a schedule when to buy the materials needed and sets a deadline to avoid cramming.

 

Of mascots and low pay

One of the things that surprised her was that cosplayers are often mistaken for mascots.

“Mascots and cosplayers are totally different. Cosplaying for me is an art of portraying a character and bringing it to life. Characters can come from anime, cartoons, comics, manga, and movies while a mascot is used to symbolize an event, organization, or brand. I’m hoping that more people will accept and respect this art and kind of hobby”, Daphne explains.

 

During our Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Meet & Greet in Century City Mall (Photo by: Luigi Ojeda)

Budget constraint is also a usual concern among cosplayers, as the hobby itself can be quite expensive at times. Also, while Daphne’s team get ample compensation when they get invited to events, it is not the same for some other cosplayers, who don’t get enough pay for their time, effort, and services. And that’s why when Enduins asked her what she would do to help the industry if she was the president of the country, she responded without batting an eyelash: “I’ll support our local cosplay conventions and I’ll give funds for crafting and sewing seminars that are essential and very useful to cosplayers to help them develop the needed skills. This project may also help them earn money via commissions.”

 

Cosplay love

But despite these seemingly big challenges, Daphne says that the positive things cosplaying give her far outweigh the negatives. And the perfect example of that was when Daphne actually met her future boyfriend in cosplay. “He (Fred Vinas) was already cosplaying by the time I started. We first met when I was invited into a team (Team Cyback Metafusion). We were to compete in TOEI’s 25th Anniversary where we won 1st runner-up. From then on, we shared that moment and started dating and the rest is history”, Daphne vividly recalls.

 

Fred and I have been together for more than 5 years now. (Photo by: Joel Aragones)

 

Cosplaying has also helped Daphne her become more confident with herself, develop her skills, and spark genuine and lasting connections, and that’s why she wholeheartedly recommends to those on the fence about trying it to just go for it.

“Have the right passion, always aim to be accurate as possible to the character and strive to always do better in your craft. Be true to who you are and who you want to portray. Don’t give in to peer-pressure or doing characters whom you have no idea of. Cosplay characters that you are drawn into, know by heart, love, and most comfortable with so that cosplaying will be a pleasant experience for you and everyone,” she says.

Cosplaying has also helped Daphne her become more confident with herself, develop her skills, and spark genuine and lasting connections, and that’s why she wholeheartedly recommends to those on the fence about trying it to just go for it.

“Have the right passion, always aim to be accurate as possible to the character and strive to always do better in your craft. Be true to who you are and who you want to portray. Don’t give in to peer-pressure or doing characters whom you have no idea of. Cosplay characters that you are drawn into, know by heart, love, and most comfortable with so that cosplaying will be a pleasant experience for you and everyone,” she says.

 

As Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy (Photo by: JD Valdez)

 

As for those wanting to take it to another level and join competitions, Daphne advises to focus on two factors: love for the character and enjoyment. “Skill is important but we all have to start from somewhere. As long as you love the character, portray it well, and be resourceful enough, skill will only be a factor in later stages especially in competitions. And the last one, you don’t really need contacts. You need friends who you will enjoy this hobby with.”

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