I was inspired after watching Moana and was going on a cruise to Mexico with my group of girlfriends and decided to shoot it on location there!

I made the top by sewing a tube top for the top. Creating a stencil pattern to outline the design on the top and using fabric paint to paint it out. I sewed lace trim on the top for the diagonal design. For the skirt, I sewed the same type of fabric on top and created a long skirt with scrunch at the top. Then the part that folded over the top, I stenciled out the design that I was hand cutting out with small razors (since I don’t have a laser cutter). I very meticulously frayed the bottoms as I cut out the designs as well.

Because it was right after the release of the Moana movie, Everywhere I went at the convention, people were singing the theme song and felt like I was actually in a Disney movie haha. Even when I walked by the Ocarina booth, they would play the theme song too! There were other Moana’s at this con and we all complimented each other. Children were so excited to see me and take pictures with me. People of all different genders and ages were excited to see my costume and take pictures with me.

Cosplaying as a plus size Latina, people come to me and tell me they never felt like they could’ve cosplayed because of their body type, or color until they’ve seen how happy I am in my own skin and costumes. That really helps make a difference knowing my love of cosplay can really help influence others to cosplay and celebrate themselves no matter what color or body type! 

– Surely Shirley

📸: Danielle DeNicola

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