Every year, cosplayers from around the world show off their creations at conventions - and the best of the best compete each year in a global tournament called the Cosplay Central Crown Championships. Each major convention has a semi-final where a winner is chosen, and that winner wins cash, prizes, and a round-trip ticket to the yearly finals - which take place this year at Chicago's C2E2 2023.
And in the build-up to the 2023 Cosplay Central Crown Championships finals at C2E2, we're talking to finalists from all over the world as they get into 'con crunch' mode before boarding a plane and meeting for one last, epic competition.
Today we're talking to Blink, who claimed their place in the Crown Championships with an impressive recreation of Zane Flynt from Borderlands 3 at the winter edition of Magnificon in Poland.
Popverse: Welcome to the championships Blink! How did you begin your journey as a cosplayer?
Blink: I was 13 and fell in love with practical effects in movies like Hellboy, The Thing and Alien, so wanted to know how all of this works and make such things myself! I spent hours each day watching behind the scenes videos and trying to make props, masks, costumes out what I had at home - tape, pizza boxes, paper towels, you name it!
At some point I learned what cosplay is and there was no escape. My costumes now are often characters who don't look like me whatsoever, the bigger the transformation the better! Especially since I take my makeup game very seriously. It's my favourite part of each cosplay!
What I love the most about this hobby is how it brings weirdos together! I never really had friends before cosplay and now suddenly I have them all over the world??? How awesome is that??? I'm so glad I discovered it so early in life!
Have you competed a lot before?
I've been testing myself at contests since I started, it always was so much fun, and a great way to learn new things and meet new people! I'm still processing my selection I think, I was very much not mentally prepared for a win, still shaking thinking about it! So proud of both me and my costume, never expected to make it this far!
How did you create your costume?
I feel like this cosplay is a technique on it's own, I had zero idea about what I'm doing most of the time, but went with the flow and now we're here! Not bad eh?
There was no research, no thinking, no planning, I just sat to my computer one day, turned on Colm R. McGuinness and said "Zane it's gonna be". The whole thing took me about 3-4 months and at least half of that time was eaten by celshading. Did I put every single little dot I saw on reference on this cosplay? Oh absolutely!
Did you learn any new techniques while making this costume?
I did learn how to hand paint thousands of little hexagons (some on top of other, even more tiny hexagons) WITHOUT getting completely mad! Skill I never thought I'll appreciate so much!
Also, that for a 21 year old girl? I'm a really majestic 50 year old man.
What is your favourite part of the costume? And Why?
Asking about my favourite costume part is like asking proud parent of 4 if they have a favourite child... of course I have but It's a weird thing to admit.
Seriously though, it's either jacket or wig. Both were really hard to make, or more like hard to figure out, but gave me life-long source of serotonin, it's just really nice to see your weird ideas are working!
Are there any other details or features you would like to highlight?
There's over 50 separate led light in this costume and each of them has its own power source! Also there's no single thing that isn't handmade here- even the soles are!
What are you most looking forward to about the final in Chicago?
Everything really! I'm just so excited to be part of this! It's my first time being a part of competition of that scale!
Any advice for anyone thinking about entering a competition like this?
The only words of advice I can give to people who think about entering are: Be not afraid, don't think, just do it!
The Cosplay Central Crown Championship finals will be one of many C2E2 2023 panels Popverse will be livestreaming this year. Here is a round-up of everything Popverse will be doing at C2E2 2023.