Wearing Cinderella at Otakon 2016 this year wasn’t originally my idea. I was behind on my other cosplay and my friend Jackie suggested I wear Cindy. She had made and worn it the year before, but Cindy was such a large cosplay that she and I thought it be nice if it had more floor time. I wasn't too excited at first, but once I first tried it on, I knew that this cosplay was going to kick major ass. On Saturday when I wore Cindy, I felt as if the cosplay was more than just me wearing it for fun. I was a little scared at first, but after I saw a little girl at the convention little look at me as if I was magic, I had a lot more confidence about wearing the dress. I’ve read a lot of articles on how people of different colors were having difficulties being able to openly wear cosplays of characters that don't match their skin tone. I wore Cinderella because I thought it be nice to use this opportunity to show girls and guys of color that you can cosplay whoever you want. I wanted to show that cosplay is for everyone!

- Alyssa (Columbus, MD)

Well, I actually created the dress for myself in 2015 right after the movie came out. My mother and I scoured for a good base dress, and we eventually found a blue quinceañera dress that acted as a base, on top of which we added 10-15 layers of more tulle, and a large hoop skirt that had the bottom lined with multicolored tulle ruffles. For the top we actually went in and removed a layer of red lace that was originally on the dress, and added a corset of the same blue color to add the structured look in the movie. Then we added the ruffled part around the shoulders and all the butterflies as a final touch! It's actually pretty difficult to put on, as there's about 4 separate pieces to put on before the dress is complete.

I wore it to Otakon 2015 and then the next year Alyssa asked if she could wear it. She looked stunning in it, and to be completely honest she may have worn it better than I ever did! I'm so happy that all this attention has come to her since she wore it, because it's made her very happy, it's brought attention to the hard work my mom and I put in on the dress, and it's also brought some great attention to the fact that cosplay can transcend race; many of the little girls in Baltimore were amazed to see a black Cinderella, and I'm so happy that we were able to work together bring joy to those kids like that.

Ocular Octopus Cosplay (Maryland)