(Editor’s Note: This interview with cosplayer Danielle E. Lowe, professionally known as “Murder Nurse,” was conducted by Tom Heckbert for the now-defunct website Eyestrane.com, where it was originally published in March of 2012. It’s been republished at Idol Features courtesy of Tom. )
Born in Philly, raised in South Jersey. Growing up, (Danni Lowe, known professionally and henceforth here as) “Murder Nurse” was always attracted to the performance lifestyle. Her vocal style has always been a little more symphonic, progressive, and Gothic metal. She started taking acting and piano lessons when she was young and was in almost all of her high school plays, being cast as the star of her very first one. Her favorite role was being the bride of Dracula.
Murder Nurse started doing photography before she considered being a model. She started to venture to the other side of the camera because of her growing interest in Cosplay modeling, photography, and fashion in general. As she was testing these waters, she came across a new and most fascinating interest: Burlesque. Her first show was a cosplay burlesque performance. After expressing interest, she was given lessons by Lily Stitches herself and was soon accepted as a member of the troupe. Shortly after, Geek Girl Productions picked her up for their shows as well, and is now a member of a new trio on the scene called “Ink & Paint Club Burlesque.” Murder Nurse specializes in survival horror video game themed acts, but has also done anime, as well as shows based on holidays, mythology, and Internet memes. Her modeling portfolio has grown since then, burlesque serving as a magnificent springboard into it. She has even started to do some runway modeling.
MURDER NURSE: Of course you may! And thank you for taking an interest in me I’m still getting used to this interview thing so go easy on me (laughs). Now for your question; yes, I am a singer! And sadly, most people don’t know that because it was before I got into doing much modeling, so I didn’t quite have a name for myself then. I’ve been in multiple local metal and Gothic rock bands as a lead vocalist. I still sing and absolutely love to, especially along to Kamelot or Serj Tankian in the car. It’s something I hope to start pursuing again in the near future so expect more on that from me soon. For now, Ill just let my wonderfully talented boyfriend Chris Rivers from Time Will Tell be the musician in the relationship.
EYESTRANE: How did you come up with the name “Murder Nurse”?
MURDER NURSE: I get asked this a lot. Honestly, it was something I asked my friends to help me come up with because I was completely lost for a name. Obviously it’s very heavily inspired by the video game Silent Hill, one of my favorites, and I chose it because I like that it portrayed not only my love of gaming, but of horror, which is also really important to me. And who doesn’t love a sexy nurse by their hospital bedside with a bloody scalpel?
EYESTRANE: What is it that first attracted you to cosplay?
MURDER NURSE: Probably the idea of getting to become a character. Cosplaying is a lot like acting. You get to take a step out of yourself and a step into that fantasy role. I had already had a huge fascination with Halloween and dressing up, so my love of costumes also played a part in what drew me to cosplay. I never knew it’d lead me to so much more from there.
MURDER NURSE: Babydoll (from Sucker Punch), Bunnysuit Deadpool (Marvel Comics), Panty (Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt), Catherine (Catherine), Black Cat (Marvel Comics), Mitsuru (Persona 3), Rise (Persona 4), Juliet (Lollipop Chainsaw), and of course, my No More Heroes cosplays; Sylvia and Bad Girl. I especially love cosplaying from Atlus and Suda51 games, so I tend to really enjoy those ones the most.
EYESTRANE: Are you a big gamer? If so, what are some of your favorites?
MURDER NURSE: Is that a question? (laughs) Unfortunately, yes ….and I say unfortunately because I practically live in front of my console, but what can I say? Gotta feed my addiction! Some of my favorites include No More Heroes 1 & 2, Catherine, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, Jet Set/Grind Radio/Future, Phoenix Wright, The World Ends With You, Soul Calibur, Enslaved, Splatterhouse, Shadows of the Damned, Decay, Persona 3 & 4, Dead or Alive, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Jeez, I better stop there before I name everything in my collection, but I tend to stick more with survival horror. Nothing satisfies me more than a really good horror game. Well, almost nothing.
EYESTRANE: One of your best known cosplay characters is Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw. Now where did you get that huge chainsaw?
EYESTRANE: You are gaining a reputation as one of the hot girls of cosplay. How does it make you feel?
MURDER NURSE: This is the first I’m hearing of it, honestly (laughs), but that’s quite amusing! Well, I suppose I find it a bit flattering since most of the more well known ladies of cosplay tend to have a curvaceous figure, so its nice to know a petite girl can get noticed once in a while. I just try to be myself and do what I love, so if people enjoy it then it’s just a plus!
EYESTRANE: Tell us about your move into burlesque and what is Cosplay Burlesque?
MURDER NURSE: Cosplay Burlesque is a troupe of burlesque dancers that perform shows at conventions as anime, video game, manga, fantasy, and geek fandom characters, performed by fans for fans. The idea is to take those characters everyone fantasizes about and not only turn them into reality, but bring a bit of sex appeal with it in a very classy and entertaining and sometimes humorous way. The shows go over amazingly, the first show I saw as an audience member being the show that inspired me to want to be on that stage right along with them and people just love to see everything this troupe can come up with. I really loved the performance and entertainment aspect mixed with something I already adored doing, so it really just wasn’t even a question for me and more of a calling.
EYESTRANE: You trained with Lily Stitches. Tell us about her and what she taught you.
EYESTRANE: Traditional burlesque entails dancing as well. Are you a dancer?
MURDER NURSE: If by dance you mean that thing I do whenever music comes on and all of a sudden people are asking me if I need to see a doctor, then yes, I’m a dancer. But I honestly wouldn’t call myself much of a dancer despite taking classes when I was younger. I enjoy stage dancing, burlesque dancing, and pretending I know how to shake it with the best of them, but if you threw me in a competition it’d most likely be disasterrific [sic].
EYESTRANE: Aside from your cosplay you also do other types of modeling. What types of modeling do you do?
MURDER NURSE: Mostly lingerie and alternative. I’ve modeled for a few clothing designers, from every day alternative wear (featured on Too Fast) to fetish and latex (Vengeance Designs). I’ve also done pin-up, Gothic, steampunk, and club wear!
EYESTRANE: Is alternative modeling something you want to do more of?
MURDER NURSE: Of course! It’s something I’m always looking to do, so I try to take as many opportunities as I can when they’re offered to me. I have the advantage of also being best friends with a really well known and successful alternative model, Jeanne Killjoy, so with her to learn from and look to as an inspiration, I can see myself getting better with each shoot.
EYESTRANE: What are some accomplishments you are most proud of?
EYESTRANE: You have a number of areas you could branch out into? What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
MURDER NURSE: As long as I’m performing, I’ll be happy. Whether I’m still doing burlesque, singing, acting, etc., I plan on following my dreams and overcoming whatever obstacles necessary to achieve them. All the experiences I’ve had so far have given me the drive to never give up, so I’m a lot more confident in my abilities than I used to be. Hopefully it’ll pay off and you’ll be seeing me in a band or some horror movie soon enough! (laughs)
EYESTRANE: How important is it to interact with your fans?
MURDER NURSE: Extremely important! I do Livestream Q&As once a week just for the purpose of not only communicating with them more, but to allow them to get to know me on a more personal level. I try to meet as many as I can at conventions and am never one to blow someone off for a picture or a hug. I also try to hold a lot of contests for them to participate in to show my appreciation and do something fun for them. They mean the world to me and without them, I couldn’t have possibly gotten this far. I’ve come to believe you’re nothing without the support of others, and I have an incredibly dedicated and close-knit Gorehound Army to thank for being such strong and awesome fans!
EYESTRANE: Where can we go to keep updated on you and your work?
MURDER NURSE: I am constantly updating my Facebook page Murder Nurse, both my vlog and burlesque Youtube pages and try to keep up with my DeviantArt. Anyone is also welcome to come to the Livestreams for a chance to talk to me personally if they’d like to get to know me more! (All links below)
Character based on those of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Said Murder nurse of this outfit: “I chose it loosely based off the fur armor and some other pieces in the game, but I wanted something feminine and closer to some mods I’ve seen that I really liked. It was just about personal preference in my case. Sorry bout that, but if I’m gonna wear it, I wanna be in love with it, accuracy be damned! ”
As Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw. Photo by Carroll Kong, costume
by Victoria Belmont, and chainsaw by Nira Wolffe.
As Catherine, performing at Anime USA 2011