Weekly Cosplay - Alissa Sallah's Marina Cosplay is Off the Hook

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Weekly Cosplay is a new series of weekly profiles focusing on diverse groups that make up the fandom community. These profiles will highlight cosplayers of all skill and experience levels and introduce a place to discuss inspiration and challenges from costume creation to embodying the characters we all know and love. Weekly Cosplay is open to all fandom characters, whether its anime, manga, video games, or American comics.

Alissa Sallah has a lot of experience under her cosplay belt. The 24-year-old started her costume creation journey at the New York Anime Festival in 2007 as Naruto's Itachi Uchiha. In the 11 years since, she's established herself in American comics, both as a creator and working behind the scenes. Her short comic stories have appeared in the Black Water horror anthology and online on her website.

Much like her own work, Sallah is drawn to unique characters with a lingering coolness about them.

Marina from Splatoon 2

"I always like really unique character designs, especially characters with a cool demeanor. Often antagonists or characters with a mysterious air about them. They always have the most dramatic designs too."

Sallah admits that her turn as Uchiha was during the height of Naruto fandom, but even cosplaying as a popular character can be rewarding. Cosplay offers her a chance to be someone, anyone else for a single day.

The Medicine Seller from Mononoke

"Cosplay let's me try out different looks and explore myself stylistically, especially with crossplay or costumes that have a little more body modification. It's all very cathartic. Especially when doing group costumes, it really feels like you all embody the show or game you're cosplaying from."

Kei from Dirty Pair

Sallah's costumes got more elaborate as she gained experience and confidence. She says that her initial turn as Itachi was "sloppy" but she now gives herself much more time to plan and create her costumes.

"I spend a little more money on the higher quality fabric to give each outfit more punch. I'm no longer afraid to go all out and do way more intensive costumes or armor builds."

Sallah is bi-racial and her concerns about how she would be accepted as cosplaying certain characters initially held her back. She also felt her options, if she only stuck to characters within her skin-tone, were limited.

Michiko Malandro from Michiko & Hatchin

Being black, I grew up very insecure about cosplay because I felt like my race would always be singled out in my costumes, devaluing the work I did and be ignored or ridiculed because of it. This was especially rough since there aren't many darker skinned characters in media. This comes with a lot more baggage outside of cosplay, so that was how those external feelings manifested in my hobby of cosplay. I grew to love myself and to appreciate my differences by seeing others in the community do the same! I now feel entirely confident in the work I do and even though there are some who may belittle that work, I realized that's not who I cosplay for."

Ultimately, Sallah sees cosplaying as an expression of self-love of her own appearance and her craft. She described the passion put into cosplay as "extremely beautiful" and credits the community for supporting her, others, and enriching the world.

"Cosplay has been the most satisfying and supportive communities I've been in; I hope we can continue to be there for each other and come together even more! You're doing some amazing art and I can't wait to see even more from you!"

Want to follow this week's cosplayer? You can find Alissa Sallah on:

  • Twitter (Personal) Link 2 (Cosplay)
  • Marina and Michiko Malandro photography by Felix Dandy (Twitter) and Logan Miller (Twitter)
  • Dirty Pair photography by Sean Dunn
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