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

After triumphing at Unicon, Latvia, the winner of the Baltic Region qualifier is heading to Chicago to take on the world in the Cosplay Central Crown Championships

Image credit: Photographer: Alla Privalova

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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 p

Yugoro took to the stage at Unicon, Latvia in August 2023 to secure her place in the Crown Championships to represent the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania & Estonia) with a stunning cosplay of Aela the Huntress from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Image credit: Photographer: Alla Privalova

POPVERSE: Welcome to the Championships! Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself as a cosplayer?
YUGORO: Hey there! I'm Yuliya, also known as Yugoro, coming all the way from sunny Estonia. About 12 years ago, I dove into the world of cosplay, by crafting costumes for LARP games with my friends. As time went on, I started taking this hobby more seriously, dedicating myself to creating cosplay costumes for various contests and social media. What keeps me hooked on this hobby isn’t the crafting — it's the awesome community and the sheer joy of getting creative in unexpected ways.

Have you competed in a competition like this before?
Although I've been rocking the cosplay scene for over 10 years, Cosplay Central Crown Championships is going to be my first major competition where I'll proudly represent my home country and the entire Baltic region. Prior to this, the closest I got to the big leagues was the Cyberpunk cosplay competition finals, hosted by the awesome folks at CD Projekt Red. Now, the excitement for the Crown Championships is definitely on a next level for me!

What inspired you to make this costume?
It's all about that Skyrim love! Skyrim is my absolute gaming obsession, and I dove in time and again into the fantasy RPG world. Aela the Huntress has been a character I've been itching to bring to life for ages, and it took me a while to level up my sewing skills to tackle that. Besides Aela, I've already got two more costumes from The Elder Scrolls hanging in my closet, and you can bet there'll be more where that came from. What's cool about Aela's design is it gave me the green light to go wild with recycled materials — sustainability in cosplay, why not?

What was your process to create the cosplay?
Bringing Aela the Huntress to life was a long trip for me. After playing Skyrim and doing a dozen screenshots from all the unexpected angles, I scavenged my family wardrobes and found the materials, which were some old clothes at the time. (Picture 1) Repurposing old leather clothes, along with woodworking and blacksmithing, felt like a natural RPG experience, where I was an artisan of crafts – and I loved every minute of it! As for time spent, I think it took me around 3 full months to get it done, but in reality I’ve spent over a year to finish it.

Yugoro at work

Did you learn anything while making this costume?
Oh, absolutely! Crafting Aela's ensemble was a whole new level for me. It was my first time repurposing existing clothes and sewing with genuine leather. Well, maybe not the first time ever, as I’ve done a similar job to create LARP costumes, but this time it was a whole different game compared to regular costume-making. Altering clothes into a very specific design means hours of patterns adapting, and you can’t really bend the design to fit the pieces of leather you have at hand. Besides that, I also took a detour into a blacksmith workshop, and for the first time in my life I’ve forged my very own metal accessories — iron buttons for the dress. During this time, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I can live at the workshop studio for a week without going home.

Yugoro Details

What is your favorite part of the costume? And Why?
The dress takes the crown (pun intended)! Pouring heart and soul into every detail, especially the metal parts and those turquoise stones crafted from epoxy, was a labor of love. I went the extra mile, layering the epoxy to mimic the intricate patterns of natural turquoise. My armor, crafted from good ol' EVA foam, is another personal fave. I might not have used real metal, but I put in the elbow grease to make it look like it came straight out of a blacksmith's forge. The secret ingredient? Some natural rust, courtesy of metal shavings. I'm super happy with how it all turned out!

Are there any other details or features you would like to highlight?
I've got a major love for my quiver and arrows. If you take a close look at Aela's game model, you'll notice her quiver isn't really connected to her body with belts or anything—it's just floating in the air. So I brought that mystical touch to life by using magnets, and achieved a real-life floating quiver. On top of that, I managed to get my hands on some real feathers, which all went onto the arrows.

What are you most looking forward to about the final in Chicago?
It's all about soaking in the vibes! I'm here to see the performances of other cosplayers, connect with awesome like-minded people, and get inspired for my future projects. On top of that, I never miss a chance to network with new cosplayers and build new professional relationships, which can sometimes turn into a new collab project! Who knows, maybe my next cosplay will take inspiration from a coffee-break smalltalk at the premises of C2E2.

Any advice for anyone thinking about entering a competition like this?
“Take it seriously, but not too seriously.” Here's the real talk — it's about enjoying the ride. Of course you need to invest time and skill into a proper costume to be worthy of walking the Olympus, but you shouldn’t forget to have fun and get positively inspired while at it.

You can follow Yugoro on Facebook and Instagram

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

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