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Meet Jinxie Cosplay, one of the 2024 Cosplay Central Crown Championships finalists

After triumphing at Comic Con Africa, the winner of the African qualifier is heading to Chicago to take on the world in the Cosplay Central Crown Championships

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Every year, cosplayers from around the world show off their creations at conventions - and the best of the best chase glory at the Cosplay Central Crown Championships. From Australia to South Africa, and across Europe, master-level cosplayers head to their local conventions to compete for the chance to represent their regions and a round-trip ticket to the yearly finals - which take place at Chicago's C2E2 in an show packed with so much incredible cosplay across the last USA Semi-Final and National Final before the global competitors battle it out on stage for the title of Crown Champion and bespoke awards, crafted by Hoku Props for ReedPop.

As excitement builds for the 2024 Cosplay Central Crown Championships finals (which you can watch here for free!), we're talking to the amazing finalists who are getting ready to board a plane and meet their competitors for one last, epic competition.

Today we're talking to Jinxie Cosplay, returning to the competition after being crowned Champion of Cosplay in 2020. Qualifying at Comic Con Africa with her creation of Hannah Alexander’s Princess Zelda design, can she take the crown once again?

POPVERSE: Welcome back to the competition! Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as a cosplayer?

Image credit: Dylan Foonk

JINXIE: Hi there! My name is Kel, but most people call me Jinxie. I’ve been cosplaying since 2015, which is when I discovered this wonderful hobby through my love for Game of Thrones. I absolutely loved the show and the beautiful costumes and wanted to make one of the dresses for myself. When I began researching how to replicate the dress as close to the source material itself, I learned it was an actual hobby called cosplay! I’ve been hooked ever since.

I love cosplay because it’s a hobby that allows for endless possibilities for creativity and ideas, and you’ll always find something new to explore and try when figuring out how to make something for a costume. It’s limitless in how many ways you can express creativity with it, whether its through painting, sewing, interesting electronics, wig work, prop making… anything and everything!

I enjoy making highly detailed and screen accurate costumes that involve a lot of different techniques and materials. I want every cosplay I make to be something that I learn something from. I also really love to focus on using authentic methods to recreate costumes, because I love history and learning more about how things are made.

As someone with previous competition experience on the Global Stage, how did it feel to win the qualifier this time?
I have competed in several competitions in my cosplay career, but despite that I still always feel the nerves and trepidation in the lead-up before any competition! Competing is one of the ways I challenge myself to put out my best work and see how I have improved. It sets a goal and a motivator to make sure you give it everything you’ve got!

The qualifier was very exciting because there was some really tough competition in the running and I entered with a cosplay that went against everything I had ever made before. I was so nervous and excited to debut Zelda as I felt the build challenged the notion that “bigger is better” in the competition world. However, I hadn’t even dreamed of winning, and hearing my name called was electrifying and terrifying! I have represented my country before in the Crown, and now my chance has come again! I can’t wait to showcase my work once again and see whether or not I have improved as a costume maker on a global stage!

What inspired you to make your costume for Crown?
Zelda was initially a passion project that allowed me to try out some new techniques and refine my skills in sewing and armor. I really just wanted an excuse to make a ridiculously pretty and pink costume and see how much I could perfect the finer details!

However, I hadn’t thought Zelda would win the qualifier, and so now that I am preparing to compete in the finals at the Crown, I am hoping to debut a new costume that better showcases all my skills as a costume maker! A lot of Zelda’s techniques and elements have gone into this new cosplay, as well as many other skills and methods, and I can’t want to show her off on the stage!

How did you create your costume?

As with every project, I spent countless hours researching for reference material, methods to use to achieve the outcome I wanted, sourcing unique and accurate materials and watching many tutorials that covered techniques for the costume I wanted to try out. For Zelda, I spent a lot of time looking up historical patterns to replicate her dress, and creating digital vectors for the embroidery and metal laser cutting. Hours went into hand dyeing all the fabric, embroidery and finishing off the metalwork.

For my new costume, I think I have spent well over 1000 hours in total between researching methods, sourcing special materials, digitizing unique embroidery and creating digital vector patterns for almost every part. There’s also so much goldwork embroidery, smocking and beading, corsetry, metalwork, electronics, specialised pattern making and cutting, wig work, 3D designing and printing, resin and rubber casting, LEDS and armor. This really is my masterpiece cosplay!

Have you learnt anything while making your new costume?
I learnt several new techniques such as working with metal and complicated electronics and 3D printing, as well as refined a lot of things I already knew. I figured out the best way to take on such a big project with such a tight deadline is to really pipeline your work and swap between “chunks” of the costume to avoid becoming too fatigued or burnt out on one part! I took a break from the sewing aspects by allowing myself a few days to work on armor/props, and vice versa. It really helped in the time crunch where taking a break hasn’t really been an option! I learned that I can really push myself to achieve what seems like the impossible, by starting a new cosplay between the qualifier and the final, on top of work and studies, I’ve really shown myself that I can reach the goals that I set my mind to!

What is your favorite part of the costume? And Why?
I really couldn’t choose a favourite part; I’ve spent so much time on each and every aspect of it that I feel a deep love for every piece I’ve worked on! It’s an impossible choice, but I really think the corset deserves a nod of appreciation, as I spent about 60 hours on it and it’s mostly hidden by the rest of the cosplay!

What are you most looking forward to about the final in Chicago?
I am excited to meet the other contestants and revel in our shared love for cosplay! Competitions are also a space to meet like-minded costume makers and learn from them. I am also thrilled to be able to experience Chicago and C2E2 again, as in my previous run in this competition I didn’t get much opportunity to explore the city and event and cherish my time there.

Any advice for anyone thinking about entering a competition like this?
A competition like the Crown is a huge undertaking that involves a lot of pressure and a call for good sportsmanship. Before entering a competition like this one, I’d suggest entering a couple smaller competitions to get feedback, experience the competitive field, and learn how to interact with other entrants on a friendly, professional, and constructive level. Make sure to focus on improving your techniques, highlighting your strengths as a cosplayer, and above all, don’t forget to enjoy the process and have fun with it and your fellow competitors.

You can follow Jinxie on Instagram and Facebook.

The Cosplay Central Crown Championship finals will be one of many C2E2 2024 panels Popverse will be livestreaming this year.

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