Cosplay Queen Dax ExclamationPoint Talks Us Through Her 5 Favorite Past Looks
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Dax ExclamationPoint is a force to be reckoned with. Cosplayer, drag performer, RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and the “Queen of All Nerds,” she’s like if Storm stepped off the pages of a comic book armed with Plasti Dip and a killer sense of humor.
Hornet recently had the chance to speak with Dax! for some insight on cosplay, creativity and terrifying cat creatures — in addition to Dax! telling us the backstories of her five favorite past cosplay looks.
HORNET: How did you get into cosplay?
Dax ExclamationPoint: Basically, I’m a nerd — always have been, always will be. I’ve always read comics and always loved sci-fi movies, so when I started doing drag, I wanted to start out by being a superhero. I wanted to be Storm pretty much at all times. And it just kind of happened — I’d done Storm costumes, kind of half-assed, thrown-together costumes for Halloween parties or whatever when I first began doing drag, and then eventually it kind of just evolved into me deciding one day, I wanna be Storm. Why not just be Storm? So I kind of just started exclusively doing that, and people actually liked it, so I kept going with it.
What’s your favorite thing about cosplaying?
I get really obsessed with the construction of costumes. Drag and cosplay are those things where when I’m not doing it, I’m thinking of doing it. And then when I am doing it, I’m thinking about the next thing. I’ll be watching or reading something and then be reminded of a character, and then I’m making Amazon wishlists and Pinterest boards for inspiration.
Here are 5 of Dax ExclamationPoint’s favorite past cosplay looks:
1. Dax! as Seer from Commanders In Crisis
Steve Orlando, the creator and writer [of Commanders in Crisis], is a friend of mine, and when he finally got the chance to start putting this together he asked me if I would do a cosplay cover of Seer. The whole premise of the book is all the characters on the team are U.S. presidents from alternate realities, and she’s a Black female president with superpowers. He wanted me to do a character from the book, and of course I chose her because she’s gorgeous.
I work with a costume maker sometimes; her name is Carol Russell. She made me the white bodysuit while I was working on the armor, which is basically all foam pieces. I do all the visual editing and retouching, so I designed the cover and did all the graphics for it, and then they put it on a book!
2. Dax! as the X-Men’s Darkveil (FKA Shade)
Comic artist Sina Grace created this character. She’s the first drag queen mutant in the X-Men world. She’s loosely based on me and a few other drag queens, and we did a collaboration where I made this costume for the cover. I made the costume because I was doing an interview with him as well, and I figured if I was going to be in costume I should show up as his character.
It’s an honor to have a character based even loosely on you, so I absolutely had to make the costume as soon as I could.
My heart is so warm seeing DARKVEIL (FKA shade) in today’s release of Marvel Voices no. 1!
— Sina Grace (@SinaGrace) February 19, 2020
3. Dax! as Storm
I just love the suit, because it’s very classic Storm but also updated and very couture. I made the shoulder piece with foam and the bodysuit.
The Hellfire Gala was a big comics event that happened, and so I really wanted to do my version of Storm in that. I wanted a reason to do a new Storm costume regardless, and I just love the design. I just love everything about it.
It’s one of those costumes that when I wear it in public, people react to it the best. It’s also one of the more wearable ones — you know, some costumes are like just, you can get into them but wearing them for a long period of time is uncomfortable and hot and makes you miserable eventually. This one I can be in all night long and be fine. I can go to a convention, I can walk around, and I don’t feel like I’m being choked to death.
4. Dax! as DC’s Fatality
I was part of a Green Lantern Pride photoshoot meet-up situation, and basically everyone in the photoshoot represented a color of the Pride flag. I really wanted to make this costume, because I thought it was something different; I wanted something that I could be covered in without making something up from scratch. I made the bodysuit myself, and I did the star on the chest with a stencil and Plasti Dip and spray paint. I made the tiara out of foam.
It was one of those last-minute costumes. I want to say it took roughly two weeks to put together, mostly waiting for supplies to show up.
5. Dax! as Catwoman
I’ve just always loved the character; I have every single issue. And also this is the only picture of me with my cat, because she hates cameras.
The cowl is made by the artist Reevz FX. They are a maker who does primarily Batman-related stuff; they do custom cowls for Batman characters almost exclusively. And, honestly, I love it; it’s on display at all times in my home.
It was something I always wanted since I was a kid and decided one day, I’m just gonna do it now, because I feel like with cosplay that’s a lot of what it is — the things you wanted as a kid, now that you have your own money and no one telling you no.
Do you have a cosplay that you’re really looking forward to doing next?
I’ve had it on my list for a while: a character named Feral from the X-Men. She’s a mutant cat, basically. I love cats, in case you couldn’t tell. It’s kind of like a personal goal to just run down the list of sexy but terrifying cat creatures. I think it’s funny, I think they’re ridiculous. I don’t know who the person was who was one day like, You know what’s sexy? Cats.
Do you have any words for someone looking to get into cosplay for the first time?
I mean, with cosplay and with drag, people talk about how they’re gonna do it one day when everything comes together. But that’s not really how it works. You have to kind of start doing it and just go with it.
I meet young drag queens all the time who will, you know, say they’re not going to start doing drag until they get this one piece, this one pair of shoes, this one wig, this one thing. And it’s like, media and TV will kind of make you feel like you have to spend tons and tons of money on your costume, whatever it’s for — and, yes, money always helps — but also the whole point of drag and cosplay is that you’re learning different skills in order to make it happen for as cheap as possible, because it adds up eventually.
No one begins looking amazing. No one begins perfect. It’s really trial and error and growth, and, I mean, your first time in cosplay, your first time in drag … you’re gonna look busted! It’s just gonna happen. So I think just bite the bullet, be prepared to look back in four years and be like, What was I thinking? and just move on with it. Because you’re always going to be able to improve your skills over time, but if you’re just going to rely on throwing money at the problem, you’re never gonna really learn anything from it — except for how to budget better, maybe.
There’s no shame in having other people make your costumes for you, or purchasing pieces — no shame in that whatsoever — but if you’re just spending your time waiting for that all to come together, you’re never going to get around to it. My first Catwoman costume was made out of pantyhose. It was a mess, but I was like, I’m a genius. Just do it before you don’t.