In this edition of WAYW, we speak to Darren about his chosen character and the personal journey that led him to discover it.
Who are you wearing?
I am wearing Billy, the Blue Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
How long did it take you to complete the costume(s) for this character?
What do this character and his universe mean to you?
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers meant and still means an awful lot to me. It was an escape from everyday life and it gave me characters to look up to that were really good role models for many young people across the world. One particular character, Billy the Blue Ranger, means an awful lot to me. He made being a nerd look cool. He was proof that anyone can be a superhero no matter who they are. He was extremely intelligent which was an essential element that the team needed. Being a superhero takes more than just being physically strong.
What is special about this character and why did you choose them?
It was more so the actor who played Billy: David Yost. His personal life and story were especially inspiring and had a huge impact on my life. He’s an openly gay actor who suffered discrimination and homophobic bullying on set which caused him to eventually leave the show. He took that abuse and didn’t let it beat him. Instead, he took a voyage of self-discovery that allowed him to deal with it amazingly. He came through it a stronger person. I went through something very similar as a gay man when I came out but it was at the hands of my own family! I was extremely hurt by comments and verbal abuse hurled at me and my partner. Then I thought back to what David Yost went through and how he dealt with it. I took strength from him and his story and came through it. I didn’t let it beat me. So Power Rangers, Billy and David Yost were my saving grace.
What advice would you give to anyone who is new to cosplay or anybody that wants to start but doesn’t know how?
The advice I would give to anyone starting off in cosplay is to just get out there and do it. If you love a particular character, cosplay them. Don’t be ashamed to buy your first costume if you don’t have the skills or time to make a costume. Everyone has to start somewhere. You’ll always meet more experienced people who will be happy to help with advice on costume making or even getting a costume commissioned. I got started when I bought a Nightwing costume online 5 years ago. I’ve never looked back since. If you want to cosplay, cosplay. Cosplay is for everyone!
Darren is based in Northern Ireland and showcases his cosplay of the Blue Ranger and many other characters on his Facebook page, Epic Blue Cosplay.