Celebrating BIPOC Vamp Day

BIPOC Vampire Day 2021

Move over, Dracula. There are new vampires in town, and they’re showing us that not all creatures of the night need to possess ivory skin.

After seeing the success of Black Fae Day, BlackBettieCosplays had an idea. Jamila, who graciously returned for this feature, initiated the day due to the lack of diversity in current vampire media. During the weekend of September 18-19, they invited creators of color to “incorporate their culture or favorite folklore, reinvent a known character, or create something new” using the hashtag #BIPOCVampDay.

In our continued effort to diversify our features, particularly showcasing BIPOC (meaning Black, Indigenous, and people of color), women, and LGBTQ individuals, Carbon Costume is covering BIPOC Vampire Day for 2021! We contacted six cosplayers to interview and highlight their fang-tastic looks.


BlackBettieCosplays (she/they/he)

A lavish vampire relaxing in style.

We’re thrilled to welcome back BlackBettieCosplays, who was featured in our article on Black Fae Day. They are a plus-sized, non-binary cosplayer, creator, and photographer based in the Pacific Northwest.  Along with hosting BIPOC Vamp Day, they hosted a virtual blood drive for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. We extend our congratulations for hitting their fundraising goal!

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

I’m not cosplaying a canon character. Both are original characters – The first one is from comic/story I’ve been working on for the last two years – his name is Sidney (and he was one of the hosts of the event). He’s a 200 year old vampire I started cosplaying him on TikTok as a part of the #nagelbrood hashtag as I worked on his story. He’s got a special place in my heart. Darius, the split wig look, was a duo creation with my friend @dali_de_muertos (not pictured) we wanted to do something colorful, stylish and masculine as drag vampire husbands – or vusbands.

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

I created this event because there was such a lack of representation of vampires of color in movies and TV despite all the myths, lore and fiction that exists! I’ve also experienced my share of hate and backlash for trying to cosplay or create vampires based on my skin tone – which sucks because I absolutely adore vampires. So I wanted to do something to celebrate with my fellow vampire lovers. The other important part is that I wanted to give back to charity, so I decided to have a fundraiser for Sickle Cell Disease Association as part of the event, because it’s an illness that impacts Black and POC people disproportionately and September is Sickle Cell Awareness month. It went so well in its first year and I can’t wait to see what happens next year.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

One of my favorite vampire movies is What We Do In The Shadows, it’s just too much fun. And for favorite vampire – I hate to choose but Lestat has been a long time favorite.


The Wynterwolf (she/her)

Sheena edited this background to match her vampire’s color scheme and cultural significance.

Sheena Marie, aka The Wynterwolf, is a Malaysian cosplayer who proclaims her love for books one cosplay at a time. Her cosplays focus on characters from literature, specifically fantasy novels, which is especially creative! Sheena states also that she’s an advocate for diversity, which surely aligns with the themes of BIPOC Vamp Day.

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

I’ve always loved vampires, but all the vampires I saw throughout my life had snow-white skin and brightly-coloured eyes, none of which I have, and it made me feel like I could only admire from afar. Inspired by this indirect ostracism, I came up with a desi vampire look to smash those thoughts. I chose a dark green lehenga with matching Indian jewelry to represent the time when sunlight leaves the sky, the time when vampires awaken, and the black lace on my top for the signature look of traditional vampires. Of course, I had to include an apple as a nod to the vampire book that started my obsession!

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

Growing up, vampires have always fascinated me. Most of my favourite books/ TV shows revolved around vampires, which fueled my interest in all things supernatural. As much as I loved them, I never felt like I could be a vampire. How could I be one when I didn’t look like any of them? My skin was dark, my eyes were dark, and I didn’t speak any of the European languages that they always seemed to know. Then BIPOC Vampire Day came along, creating a space for people of all skin colours to embody this well-loved supernatural creature. This is the inclusive event that I always wanted. Seeing all the amazing BIPOC vampires was a celebration for my 10-year-old self, who yearned for the empowerment from this inclusivity. To me, BIPOC Vampire Day is not just a weekend-long appreciation for vampires of the excluded races, but also a weekend of washing away the years of believing that I couldn’t be one.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

Katerina Petrova from The Vampire Diaries is my favourite vampire of all time!


Stitches and Spells (she/her)

Briona commands this photo with vampiric and witchy vibes.

Briona, aka Stitches and Spells, is a digital creator located in Tampa Bay. The first half of her username pertains to her sewing skills, while the second half notes her witchy style. She might just be the biggest Harry Potter fan we’ve ever seen, from making wands with her book club to finding all the best photo spots in the Wizarding World theme park.

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

My look is a closet cosplay for an original character I created! I was inspired by the idea of hybrid vampires in literature and wanted to create a look that drew on witch and vampire elements. I love darker aesthetics, so I went for glam goth styling with the sheer dress, gloves and finger cuffs. My makeup took some brainstorming since I wanted to show more of a witch vibe, so I added the forehead details. It took some makeup trials, but I was very pleased with the results!

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

This day was so impactful to me because it showed me there’s a hunger outside my own to see more people of color represented in prominent roles in fantasy. Queen of the Damned was the pivotal film for me, marking the first time I saw someone who looked like me, a Black woman, on screen as a vampire. While I would’ve loved more story time with Queen Akasha, she commands your attention in her scenes and isn’t in the background. I’ve wanted to see more Black vampires headline stories since then, but the tv/film landscape currently lacks that kind of representation for fantasy creatures in general. So BIPOC Vamp Day offered the chance for me to live as my own “main character” for a weekend and show support to other creatives making their own diverse stories.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

Queen of the Damned is my favorite vampire movie, but my favorite vampire is Matthew de Clermont from the book series A Discovery of Witches.


LadyToxie (she/her)

Seems like Laszlo is wearing the cursed hat again.

LadyToxie is a SoCal cosplayer and costumer. She often speaks out about her Indigenous Coptic Egyptian (Disapora) and Scandi heritage, and showcases her culture through historical garments, such as a historically accurate Princess Jasmine. Although we must comment on her spectacular WandaVision cosplays. She embodies Wanda at every decade, including the Scarlet Witch, with her husband cosplaying as Vision.

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

I chose Nadja because she is truly a fun, female presenting icon who puts up with no bullshit, is very smart and witty, and is part of an amazing series that’s quickly become one of my all time faves. I happened to have many items that would work for her look, so I spent an evening going through bits of fabric, random accessories from other costumes, historical-ish tops and skirts that could work, and only bought the bangs and fangs. I’ve been told by friends in the past that I’d make a great Nadja cosplayer, but I didn’t have a chance to. BIPOC Vamp day was the perfect excuse to put her together and I’m glad I did (even if I’m not into lookalike cosplays).

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

A united opportunity for us to create the content we want to see! Blade was the only vampire of color that I knew of, so there’s very little representation in this area. It feels good to make something with others both as a community event to lift each other up and promote the creativity we all have, and hopefully more people will notice and say “hey I can make that too” both on a small and larger scale.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

I really enjoyed Only Lovers Left Alive and of course both What We Do In The Shadows show and film. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a feast for the eyes. (I think Crimson Peak is a secret vampire movie *wink*).


Jonathan Green (he/him)

We don’t think that’s fruit punch in his glass…

Jonathan Green is an artist, gamer, and cosplayer. A cornerstone of his Instagram is martial arts, where he shows off his skills and infuses cosplay with martial arts gear. He even did 28 Days of Black Martial Arts for the month of February. Jonathan also has a Youtube channel, which you can visit and subscribe to here.

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

I’ve always been a fan of vampires. I love how they can be charming, alluring, and regal while hiding their animalistic craving for blood and their supernatural powers. I have cosplayed other versions of vampires including Blade, Laurent from Twilight and Jericho Cross from Darkwatch. I wanted this particular vampire to be more aristocratic, flamboyant unlike Jericho or Blade. I guess he is similar to Laurent in the Twilight Saga. He doesn’t use swords or guns, even though he is extremely skilled in the combative arts. His words are his choice of weapons. I drew inspiration from many of the vampire elders in movies and stories. The ones who weren’t the demons and monsters of the night (they are but they rather not show that), but the councilman, the scholars, the record keepers, the ones who were sought out for their wisdom and are usually the also the more powerful vampires.

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

I think this event was created for people of color to showcase their appreciation and love for anything involving vampires. Many times in TV and film, the vampires who are people of color were merely turned into vampires. Vampires of color are rarely protagonists; Blade, Akasha, and Blacula are a few that we all know of. We love this realm as much as anyone else. This event allowed people of color to take the gloves off and promote their own original vampire characters and vampire stories. To see so many unique interpretations has been awe-inspiring.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

Oh boy…(inhales…..slowly…..) My favorite vampire movies are Innocent Blood, Once Bitten, Fright Night, Dracula Untold, Blade, Van Helsing, From Dusk til Dawn, The Lost Boys, Dracula 2000, Underworld, Daybreakers, John Carpenters Vampires, Queen of the Damned, Eclipse (Twilight), Blood Red Sky, Interview with the Vampire, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Vampire Hunter D, Blood the Last Vampire, Priest, and Blacula. My favorite vampire is Jericho Cross from Darkwatch. I love his style, his design. I love the story and it’s the first gothic, vampire Western that I’ve came across. I think it’s the only one of it’s kind. It’s like a combination of Blade, Men in Black, and Tombstone. I just love everything about it. I also love the different variations of Dracula. He was Drake on Blade trinity and Vlad the impaler on Dracula untold.


Kasalas (they/them)

Kasalas snaps a vampire selfie.

Kasalas is an Indigenous (Kwakwaka’wakw), two-spirit cosplayer. Their cosplays are mainly from anime. In addition, Kasalas posts cottagecore outfits as well as  about their culture. Their earrings are from Beadwork by Lena Johnson.

Tell us about your look – how you made it, what inspired it, etc. If you’re cosplaying a canon vampire, you can share why you chose that character.

My tribe’s primary colours are black and red, so I wanted to do a look where those were the main colours. I’ve been building up my wardrobe in the “romantic goth” category for quite awhile, but up until recently I didn’t have any jewelry to pair with my outfits. As soon as I saw the gorgeous earrings that my cousin beaded, I knew my look was complete for BIPOC Vamp Day and I bought them immediately. Then, all that was left was to anxiously await my red contacts to arrive in the mail.

What does BIPOC Vampire Day mean to you?

Equal playing field for representation. No more belittling BIPOC for not being pale enough.

Do you have a favorite vampire/favorite vampire movie?

The serious answer is Interview with the Vampire, but to make fun of, Twilight.


Thank you to everyone who participated in this feature. Be sure to follow them! And of course you’ll want scroll through the #BIPOCVampDay hashtag on social media for more gothic goodness!

About the Author

Mandy

Cosplayer, creative writer, cookie connoisseur. Pronouns: she/they.

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