because “The Real Daryl” can’t be everywhere. The Daryl Dude makes appearances at Walker Stalker Cons, Zombie-related functions, and fundraisers nation-wide. He also owns Zombie Charm School, a company that provides large-scale walker makeup services and several other Walking Dead cosplayers for zombie-centric events. His real name is Randy Cox and he lives in Cow Island, Louisiana. He loves to hunt and fish, and fosters several cats for his local animal rescue. He’s a disabled flight paramedic for the Army, where he served for 14 years and a current satellite technician for Dish Network.
When did you realize you looked like Daryl Dixon?
I didn’t, actually. I was taking about growing my short hair out, and my girlfriend (HUGE Daryl fan) photo-shopped his hair on my head as a joke on what style to shoot for. A week later, costume components, a crossbow, and dead squirrels started arriving via UPS.
Had you been to any comicons before you start cosplaying?
What made you decide to begin cosplaying?
My girlfriend and I already had an SFX makeup company that exclusively did zombies at high volume zombie-related events. She pretty much pimped me out front as a gimmick to get more customers.
How long does it take for you to get in full wardrobe, makeup, and character?
About 30 minutes. My costume has a lot of little details and I like to get them just right. About 15 minutes of that time, I’m in the makeup chair.
Where are you from and will you go anywhere to cosplay?
I’m from Bald Knob, Arkansas, originally, Cow Island, Louisiana, presently. And yes, of course, I would, if it works within my travel budget and schedule, I’m there.
Have you met Norman Reedus and if so, what was his reaction?
Yes. The first time I met him was at a paid photo op on the Walker Stalker Cruise last year. All he said was “Awesome, Awesome! AWESOME!!!”
Was this you Norman was talking about on Conan? If so, what is your response?
Source: YouTube via Conan
No. I really make it a point not to actually try to fool people into mistaking me for the actual person, Norman Reedus. I exclusively portray the fictional character of Daryl Dixon. I don’t feel good tricking people, because sometimes they feel confused and uncomfortable having made a big deal out of me and then learning later I am impersonator, no matter how upfront I am. But even when they know, sometimes the women will still get lightheaded and woozy. It’s a weird thing.
What can you tell us about your Zombie Charm School?
Zombie Charm School was originally our mobile SFX makeup team. We started it a few years ago. Now there are affordable makeup vendors at the Walker Stalker Cons, but back then, it was one or two people charging 80-$120 a face in 45-90 minutes. My girlfriend, who really is a genius at making fast zombies and bites (for local haunted houses) knew she could do better work, much faster, at an affordable price. As a big fan of the show, she knew the ultimate souvenir is to get bit or actually become one of “the infected.” So that’s what we did. We still do that, but we’ve added The Daryl Dude and several other cosplayers for additional photo ops and entertainment for all sorts of events and fundraisers.
How many conventions or events do you attend each year?
About 20. We do private parties and fundraisers in addition to the conventions and the zombie walks we love to do. Sometimes it’s just me, sometimes it’s the whole crew of 5 artists, and our other cosplayers, Trick Grimes and Miss Maggie Maybe, like at our upcoming fundraiser Feb. 11th called “WALKER-FOR-A-DAY.” A portion of the proceeds go to Frankie & Andy’s – a retirement home for elderly rescue dogs. Fifty participants will become zombies and get to film a zombie car mob scene at the same exact location where Merle died in Season 3, Episode 15. We have a lot of surprises planned and are really looking forward to it.
(I fell in love when he said he was raising funds for elderly rescue dogs!)
Is cosplaying just a hobby or has it evolved into a career?
It’s never been a hobby. It was always our plan to monetize pictures with The Daryl Dude and his friends, and the sfx makeup artists, to pay their overhead and still be able to hopefully make enough to give substantially to charity. Every event we’ve done from day 1 has been for a variety of human and animal charities in at least some capacity, except the conventions. Those are how we pay our travel costs and entry fees into other markets and venues. You cannot give if you do not have, so sometimes, we absolutely do this for the money.
What has been the craziest interaction you’ve had while in cosplay?
Hands down, at the last Atlanta Walker Stalker Con. It was over, and I was walking to get my truck for load-out. Norman Reedus was in a loading bay area, checking his phone. He saw me and started recording me walking by. Then he called me over and asked to take a selfie with me. We both lifted our phones, with middle fingers up, and snapped our shot. He asked me to go back and walk past him again. I did and just kept on walking. I went around the corner and I sent the pic to my girlfriend. She was SO PISSED. She’s always wanted a selfie with him. She didn’t speak to me for hours.
Is there any other character from another show or movie you would like to cosplay?
No. I’m not really into all that. I just do Daryl and when this has run its course, I’ll just be me again, 24/7, like the Lord intended.
Is there anything you can tell all us fans about yourself that we don’t know, but are dying to?
I get a lot of questions about my costume, especially my squirrels. They are real. We got them off of eBay. They are stuffed with Walmart bags. So, if you need a Walmart bag at a convention, hit me up. I will pull them out of a real squirrel butt. And people ask me about the investment I’ve made into my costume. I easily wear about $950 worth of stuff on me. If it costs more than that, and it might, I really don’t want to know. Oh, and yes, I’ve eaten squirrel. I’m a genuine Arkansas hillbilly. My MawMaw would make it taste absolutely delicious.
Maybe someday I’ll get to meet The Daryl Dude and the REAL Daryl, Norman Reedus. Until then, a girl can only dream…
The Daryl Dude was posing as a wasted Daryl Dixon for his girlfriend on the Walker Stalker Cruise 2016. Rolling Stone photographer Jason Henry asked if he could take the shot, also. It ended up in the online edition of the magazine. The Daryl Dude will be on this year’s Walker Stalker Cruise next weekend. Look him up and tell him @sassypoo sent you. (And tell him he can bring back the real Daryl as a souvenir for me!)
Source: All pictures were provided by The Daryl Dude and Zombie Charm School