Meet The Artist – What I’ve Been Up Too

Greetings World! Right now feels like an important time to reintroduce myself on the social medias…;) Diamond is the last name I recently adopted for myself & the I in my name is short for Irene, it’s my given middle name & my maternal grandmother’s first name. ❤

Many of you knew me previously as ‘Dani Barnes.’ I’ve shape-shifted so many times over the years it’s been challenging to come across as both authentic AND consistent at the same time. 

Transformation isn’t a linear process…Fellow shapeshifters do you feel me?!

This is what instagram’s bio never gives me room for: 

“I’m a dancer, a character actress, a photographer & a costume designer. I’m a personal stylist, a filmmaker, an art director and a choreographer. I’m a writer, an art model, an herbalist, a traveler, an earth based spiritualist, a student of permaculture, a depth psychology researcher & a costume-therapy investigator!

YEE GADS! Way over my word count there! 

Here’s a story I’ve never told online before about how I got to where I am now…

I began my arts career moving from Abbotsford to Vancouver in 2009, as a straight-out-of-bible-college (it’s true), professionally trained dancer & theater actress. 

I started working in the industry & had some incredible experiences performing in drag, as a backup dancer, working as a model, a burlesque artist ect.  However, when faced with some serious ‘scene’ drama & financial struggle, this country Gal lacked the thick skin needed to fight back in the City…

…so by fluke I put my passion for performing on the back burner & became ‘The Costume Lady’ instead.

The stylist aspect of myself seemed to be more easily digestible, I was challenged less by life, and didn’t often have to face rejection. I seemed to succeed naturally in this realm & people rewarded me with compliments, kindness & connection. My sensitive spirit wanted & needed more of that.

I dove into my special interest in couture fashion by reclaiming vintage wedding gowns to make avant garde costume collections, complete with opulent wigs & accessories. I produced fashion shows, photo shoots & art films with these collections & practiced my photography skills by installing a small portrait studio in the costume rental company I was managing at the time.

Though I did get out for a year of overseas travel, I essentially hermited on the North Shore, working on my art while secretly battling what I now call an ‘Identity Crisis.’ (More on that later.)

Then enter 2020. Dun Dun dun…

I had been working so hard in the film industry & FINALLY was sworn into the coveted TV/film union on March 1st, 2020. Just over two weeks later, March 15th, the entire industry was shut down indefinitely…The irony! 

I spontaneously decided to buy a camper van. I gave up my apartment & left for the Kootenays in search of freedom.

These covid cancellations actually re-ignited my spiritual path & helped me rebuild my relationship with Nature. I still post about this path if you are interested…that’s what @redvelvetrenegade is all about.

So I found myself touring around BC, studying herbalism & alternative, sustainable lifestyles. A year and a half later while I was staying with a local medicine woman up North in the Cariboo, I received an offer from a designer back in Van to move home & take on a big Netflix contract….

I accepted that Netflix invitation because there were wild fires in three different directions surrounding the property I was living on and I took it as a sign it was time to go back to work. :

My time spent alone in nature had helped me shift into a new heart frequency and I felt ready to start letting myself be fully seen, unaware of what that would end up looking like..

Quickly settling into City life, my Capricorn business-nature fired into overdrive & alongside working that Neflix contract, I built a sweet little studio in City Center Motel to start hustling my costume & vintage collections.. 

Summer came around & Mural Fest threw a 2 week long event at our studio. It was bloody HOT out, thousands of ppl were coming through, & I was feeling overwhelmed by the attention I was getting. Not because I don’t like attention, *EMOJI* but because without realizing, I had focused all my energy on becoming the costume lady again, leaving my other passions on the side lines.

“There MUST be a reason I keep doing this,” she thought to herself as she scrambled to re-invent her business mid summer. “There MUST be a reason I keep coming back to costumes…but I still feel misaligned!” 

It was during this hot girl summer panic attack that the words ‘Costume Therapy’ first came to me. *LIGHTBULB*

After my accident last September there was a time period where everything felt like it was floating. Anything that wasn’t aligned in my life felt super heavy & I made some life decisions:

  1. I promised myself I would stop partying, and replace that habit by getting back into dance & performance.. 
  1. I committed to getting organized & staying focused on transforming my costuming career into something that could have profound healing effects on individuals & communities. 

So after some solid research I can not claim to have invented the idea of ‘costume therapy’, (in fact I believe the concept is ancient), the program I have been designing over the last 6 months uses a unique blend of my personal & professional experiences in transformation & I’m ready to publicly present a practice that feels in the vein of ‘My Life’s Purpose.’

Naturally, this both terrifies & electrifies me at the same time.

So without further ado…I will proof-read my website for the 100th time, make a wish, and press PUBLISH on what I am thrilled to present as my life’s next chapter:


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