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Behind the Scenes - Crown Championship of Cosplay 2017

I'm really honored and blessed to be chosen for a second year in a row to compete in the Crown Championship of Cosplay during C2E2 this year. Last year, I competed as Galacta: Daughter of Galactus. This year, I wanted to challenge myself and competed as Myrrah (Queen if the Locusts from Gears of War).

Queen Myrrah photos by Zatoyoshi Photography

Ok, enough about me! Let's hear it from my fellow competitors and their experience in the contest.

What's different this year is that instead of dividing the categories by genre (Comic Book, Anime, Fantasy, Video Games, etc.) , they decided to judge us by skill-set - Sewing, Armor Building, FX, Larger than Life. I believe this was a lot better since it gives the contestants a fairer chance of being judged. For instance, judging someone's sewing talent may be overshadowed by someone who's building a Larger than Life- type cosplay.

Contestant Stories

One of the people who I looked forward into competing in this year is my friend, Liz. Liz has been cosplaying for a few years now and I see a LOT of growth and potential in her work! She wore her Destiny warlock cosplay for the contest.

What made you want to join Crown this year?


Describe what it felt like receiving the email about qualifying for the contest this year.

It was one of the best feelings ever. It was only a few minutes after my good friend and fellow "Bisdak" (girl from Cebu, Philippines) just got hers and I was still riding the high of learning she had gotten in. It's only my second time joining any cosplay contest and it was quite surprising that I got in too.

What did you love most about the contest? Most embarrassing and most memorable moment during the contest?

LOVE MOST: Meeting and getting to know a lot of super friendly and talented people MOST EMBARRASSING: My shoulder pauldron popped out during pre-judging MOST MEMORABLE: Being on stage and getting to do my 'rude taunt' emote right in front of the judge's table

Would you do it all over again?

Not sure. I missed seeing a lot of my friends and their great cosplays that day. I also know how much more skilled and talented everyone in the contest were and it made me realize how much I still have to learn and practice. My one year of sewing and foam armor experience against these gurus was laughable.

You can follow my fellow "Bisdak" on her Instagram - @bizatchian!

Henchwench Cosplay competed in the world competition representing Australia. She won the Australian Championship of Cosplay last year and flew in for the competition.

Little known fact is on her way to the contest, her airbrush was broken in her luggage on the way to Chicago. And if that didn't made her nervous enough, her wig caps didn't fit the day of the competition. So she ended up shaving her hair off!

"All 3 of my bald caps broke, so I sent down to the hotel front desk for some razors and cut it all off." - Henchwench Cosplay

Despite all that, she looked absolutely fantastic and wouldn't have guessed any of this happened.

If stress about the competition isn't enough, there are always those last minute things that come up. One contestant fell on her way to the pre-judging room, and others are still doing finishing touches in the waiting room. But everyone still kept calm and maintained their composure despite all of it. And the best part? Even if it's a competition, people help each other out. Myslef, along with a few other contestants brought emergency tool kits just in case mishaps happen.

My jaw dropped when I saw Hiro Creations' amazing build on his T-60 character from Fallout ! If you saw it up-close, he really captured the details of his character and did a lot of rusty, weathered look into his character!

"Let it be on record that I am not a smart man, as I severely misjudged the distance from the parking space that I planned to stage at and the contestant area for the Crown Championships.

So what would have taken a unencumbered version of me in casual garb 15 minutes to reach was in reality a 90 minute exhausting slog with the amazing assistance of 3 friends. So by the time I had reached the contest check in I was pretty thoroughly spent and exhausted. Of course my mobility woes did not end there as the ramp to get up on the stage proved to be a formidable enemy indeed. I nearly fell over twice and it took 6 people to catch me, steady me, and guide me up on to the stage." - Hiro Creations

No worries, buddy! We did the same mistake last year and ended up walking really far and taking 3 trips.

You can follow him on Instagram - @yasutano, Facebook- @hirocreations , Youtube -HiroCreations and his website,

Jessica Stacko Creations competed for the first time this year in the Needlework category as Rey from Star Wars. She was so excited to find the email that says that she qualifies for the contest.

"First, when I got there is I felt intimidated. Here I was with the best of the best, but I had to remember I was standing along side with everyone! It was fun to hear people's inspirations and see everyone's skills and creativity.

My costume is mostly needlework, so it was insightful to talk to other cosplayers about their techniques since we all have tricks up our sleeves. I've done one cosplay for a friend using EVA, and even though I'm too much of a Star Wars fan to not make those for myself, I'm also inspired to make another costume for myself - hopefully using lights, EVA, and for the first time worbla.

No matter what we were all nervous back stage, all shaking and standing anxiously. However, we were ALL supportive of each other. Everyone was kind and friendly and encouraging. I've been going to cons since I was in a stroller as a toddler; this was my 5th year at C2E2 and my 4th year costuming. I can only hope to improve my skills and learn from my new friends and offer my own advice! I'd love to walk that stage feels so surreal that it already happen. - Jessica Stacko Creations

You can also follow Jessica on Instagram - @jessieestack0.

My cosplay friend, @Nina London and I met during the Crown Championship of Cosplay competition last year. She wanted to try something different this year and enter the Larger than Life category, and push her limits and go beyond her comfort zone. And so Howl's Moving Castle was created (Photos from Nina London's FB page)!

"C2E2 as a whole, but particularly the Crown Championships, has the best cosplay anywhere. Standing in the backstage area, you can look in any direction and see people with professional-grade skill, who could make a living building movie costumes if they wanted. What's astounding is that competitors come from all walks of life: bankers, teachers, lawyers, nurses, programmers... everyone has a "real world" job, but they're all drawn to cosplay for very personal reasons. For me, it's the chance to immerse myself in a totally individual, completely creative project. No matter what character I select or how closely I try to mimic a particular design, my outcome will always be unique to me.

At the Crown Championships this year, I saw probably the biggest variety of talent yet. Dividing the costumes up by skill (armor, needlework, etc.) was a really smart move-- it helped the judges compare like costumes, and I think it helped the audience consider what really goes into a cosplay, no matter how "big," "small," "flashy," or "plain." Of course, the competitors themselves are the perfect audience for costumes because they already know what it takes to put a decent cosplay together! They know the literal blood, sweat, and tears (and glue gun burns, Xacto slashes, and paint-drenched T-shirts) that go into every cosplay. I couldn't have asked for a better experience, and I hope to see everyone again next year." - Nina London

You can catch Nina on her Facebook page - Nina London Cosplay and follow her on her Instagram - @Nina_London_Cosplay

One of my absolute favorite female cosplayers are the Egg Sisters! I was so thrilled to see them as part of this year's competition and I have been following their cosplay work for a long time now. For the contest, they brought their massive cosplay, Blackhardt from Overwatch.

"The contest was fun but very stressful! We have never competed at c2e2 before so we didn't know what to expect. We knew that somehow we would have to get this huge costume to the fifth floor for pre judging... luckily the ReedPOP staff was super nice and showed us a behind the scenes elevator that we could use. When we were being led to where the elevator was, a man in a scooter whizzed by us. It was Stan Lee! We actually saw him a second time when we were bringing the axe up the elevator.". - Egg Sisters

What makes Crown Championship of Cosplay different from other contests that you've joined in?

We haven't entered too many contests. Really just Final Fantasy Fan Fest and Blizzcon. We appreciated the quick prejudging and how quickly the actual contest moved. The hard part was Courtney staying in costume for the judges decision for what seemed like forever.

Was this the first time you competed in Crown? What did you do to prepare for the competition?

Yes! We had tried entering two years ago but didn't make the cut. We already had Reinhardt built so we worked on improving him and we ended up making his axe.

The Winners

We also had a pleasure speaking with @OkkidoCosplay - she won the overall prize for the competition.

How long have you been competing in cosplay and what do you love most about it? I made my first costume more than 10 years ago, but I have been competing since 2010. My main inspiration in cosplay is the possibility to become better and better. I love creating something out of nothing. Every time I build a costume I learn a lot: I try out new techniques, experiment with new materials. So cosplay is a never ending learning process that ensures my constant development.

Did you see any differences and similarities between cosplays in America and cosplays you have back "home"? I think cosplay in America is quite similar to cosplay in Europe, but people/cosplayers are different. They are more open-minded and friendlier. In my home country cosplayers take competitions too seriously and they do not support each other that much.

Another difference is that in Europe we use more thermoplastic materials like Worbla. Maybe because it is easier for us to get to it. Tell us the story behind your cosplay for the competition. My cosplay is an Ordo Heteticus Inquisitor from Warhammer 40,000. It is my very first Worbla armour and I have been working on the first version for nine months. I think it took about 800 hours to complete it. It has 19 armour parts, a huge wig, two self-bound and hand-written books, four working weapons and various other parts and features.

I am a great fan of Warhammer 40,000, and this is my third cosplay from it. I have competed with it twice in Hungary, in my home country - but it did not seem to be good enough. So, I tried Championships of Cosplay in Vienna, and to my surprise, I got the chance to represent Austria in Chicago.

What was the most memorable/embarrassing/scariest thing about the competition? The most memorable thing was the kindness of the other competitors and the visitors of the convention. It was a real honor to meet the judges who were extremely lovely. And it was also my first time in the US and I really enjoyed it.

The scariest thing was that during my flight one of my bags was lost in Berlin. The bag contained three weapons for my competing cosplay, my whole outfit for Friday (a Mortal Kombat X Kitana cosplay) and lots of personal belongings. I was so terrified that I could not even sleep. Fortunately, I was not disqualified from the competition.

Luckily, I managed to retrieve my baggage and nothing was missing or damaged in it.

You can find Okkido Cosplay in the following links below:

Ginoza Costuming and More not only won the Local Qualifier/ C2E2 overall regional competition, but also won first on her category- Armor, and third place for the overall taking home a total of $2,000.00 that night!

How long have you been cosplaying and why do you cosplay?

I've been cosplaying for 5 years. I used to cosplay just to represent my fandoms. But now it's much more than that. I'm able to take all my talents and concentrate them into one thing. I love being able to create a piece of artwork that I can wear with so much detail. It's really great that people see how much time and energy I put into my art . And beyond that I get to meet so many amazing people with amazing talents along the way.

What is your inspiration behind your cosplay and how long did it take to make?

I've always really liked World of Warcraft and I played it off and on for the last 10 years. I never thought that I had the talent to create anything from it. I finally got that chance through pushing myself to compete in the crown championships of Cosplay. It too me roughly 385 hours to complete over 3 months. I was inspired to do this specific armor set because if it's Asian influence and it's beautiful depth in the armor.

What are the most interesting, memorable and embarassing experience(s) you had making the cosplay and being backstage this year?

There were many times that I went to the store looking like garbage, had breakdowns, and did nonstop painting live streams. But the most amazing thing happened while I worked on this costume. I felt like I was really being noticed. Suddenly my progress was being watched by Jessica Nigri, Volpin Props, Steven K Smith, and even Kamui Cosplay who is my all-time Idol. Those moments were extremely surreal for me and I feel so blessed to be seen by these people. On top of that, backstage I even got to meet and talk to egg sisters cosplay who I've been following for at least 3 years. They are also an incredible inspiration to me. 4. Any tips for people who want to cosplay? The only thing I can say is to go for it. You don't always need to start with a sewing machine and power tools. You can start with a thrift store, poster board, and paints. Watch tutorials. Use other people's work for inspiration. Don't think you'll be the only one at a convention with a costume. You'll wish you had cosplayed. And when you're there, you'll feel like a rockstar.

You can follow her on her Facebook page here, or Instagram @ginozacostuming.

Once again, I would like to thank ReedPop and C2E2 for giving me a chance to experience such a wonderful event!

You can find more high resolution pictures on Sunpech Photography's Facebook page.

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