The decision to dive into the cosplaying world is not a simple one - or even a common one - and is often the result of a number of factors. Creative spirit, combined with artistic skills and an avid interest in gaming and comic book culture typically combine to make cosplaying feel a compelling calling for the community's biggest players. It's a welcoming, exciting niche, and it's a way to express one's passions while meeting other like-minded individuals. The art of "cosplay", a play on the words "costume" and "play", has been around for decades but is gaining huge popularity in tandem with the explosion in popularity of comic book movies.
Anyone who's ever been to some sort of comic con or geek-related convention anywhere in the world will have seen plenty of cosplayers in action. Sometimes a cosplayer's work becomes so popular that they gather a fanbase that watches their projects with a keen eye and follows them to comic cons to see their favourite cosplayers in action.
Alongside those who have reached near-celebrity status for cosplaying, some rising stars in the craft look set to bring their innovation and talent to the community on a large scale in the near future. The following 20 cosplayers are quickly rising in popularity for their hard work and dedication to the art of cosplaying, with their uncanny abilities to turn fantasy into reality.
20 Candy Keane
Believe it or not, this is her real name - you won't find any stage names on Candy Keane's profiles. Before she was active in the cosplaying world, Candy was already a longtime swimwear model and spokesmodel.
After she opened her own costume store, she missed modeling and decided to model the clothes and costumes herself. Candy has a passion for creating costumes, which bodes well for her cosplaying career as she is always trying to find something new and inspiring to create.
Based in Florida, when she's not cosplaying, she's playing video games or being immersed in some fantasy world either on screen or in print. With her modeling experience, she is able to bring a special touch to her cosplay photo shoots.
19 Tine Marie Riis
Tine Marie Riis is a cosplayer based in Norway who started cosplaying in 2009. She first discovered cosplay through her love of anime and attended her first convention in Los Angeles.
She went on to attend conventions in Norway and debuted her cosplaying skills at these events, beginning a rise to fame in the cosplaying world. Tine selects her characters based on whether she feels she can relate to them, giving her the passion to work on the costume and creating the character.
Cosplaying has opened up opportunities for her to use her skills in photos and film, bringing her work to life on screen.
18 Jessica LG
Jessica LG hails from Miami, Florida and has been a comic book fan since 1999. Starting off in theatre, Jessica was studying design and production for theatre and film, and cosplaying conveniently combined her passions.
She started attending conventions when she was in college and seamlessly fit right into the cosplaying community. Jessica is skilled in making armor, medieval costumes, and futuristic material. One of her favorite cosplays is Wonder Woman and she typically gravitates towards tough female characters.
17 Sophie Valentine
Sophie Valentine is a gamer and cosplayer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a big fan of anime, manga, and movies, and often gets her inspiration from one of the many universes in her favourite cartoons.
Sophie is a huge fan of fantasy movies as well. Even though she is just in her early twenties, she has made quite an impact on the cosplaying world and has people from all over the world watching her new cosplays. She keeps in touch with her fans about her cosplaying adventures through her social networks. Of course, she's also incredibly beautiful which doesn't hurt her public profile.
16 Variable Cosplay
Variable Cosplay started life as a child who loved dressing up and acting like different characters. Naturally, she was then placed in some theatre classes. As she grew older, she began to make appearances at charity events in costume. So, before cosplay was even a thing, she was doing it.
Her first official cosplay was Lara Croft at a small video game convention many years ago. Today, she enjoys interacting with fans and other cosplayers who are making innovative changes to the hobby. Variable Cosplay has met a few celebrities in her cosplaying ventures, including industry hero, George Takei, from Star Trek.
Issabel is a prop maker and cosplayer based in Poland. She creates her cosplays from video games, television, anime, manga, sci fi, fantasy, and movies. She has won numerous awards for her cosplays, and is often praised for the exceptional detail in her work.
Issabel is inspired by other cosplayers in the community, and enjoys networking and exchanging ideas with those around her, which is what makes her a rising star in the cosplaying world. Give it some time, and she just might even surpass some of the most notable cosplayers who have attained fame from their hard work.
Vensy is a cosplayer based in Southern California, and is also a full-time student studying product design. She creates prototypes of costumes and props and is on a constant mission to improve her skills and learn something new in the world of costume and prop construction.
Vensy has an active interest in 3D modeling, video games, prop making, and costume construction - a recipe that's guaranteed to create a fantastic cosplayer. She gets her inspiration from movies and games and works on the desire to create something "cool" in her work. She experiments with an array of different materials, which makes her cosplays exceptionally unique.
13 Li Kovacs
Li Kovacs is a lifelong Nintendo gamer and has been cosplaying Nintendo characters for years. She is well known for her incredibly detailed cosplays and is not constrained to a gender type. She might be what you may call a Nintendo super fan.
Li has made hundreds of cosplays from the Nintendo universe from princesses to warriors to plumbers. It's not uncommon for her to spend up to 6 months working on a cosplay, and she has dedicated nearly all of her time to her costume construction. Her work in making props and accessories has been praised at several conventions.
12 Kassandra Leigh
Not only is Kassandra Leigh a cosplayer; she's also a photographer.With her diverse skillset, she can bring different things to the table when it comes to the cosplaying world and has helped advance cosplay photography.
Her first convention was a small gathering known as I-CON, and it was enough to get her feet wet in the convention scene - she knew then for sure that it was something she wanted to be involved in. She routinely posts videos with modeling, cosplay, and photography tutorials, and has proven to be a beneficial and educative addition to the cosplaying community.
11 Dalin Cosplay
Dalin Cosplay is a Mexican cosplayer who loves manga, anime, and video games. She fell in love with the art of cosplaying when she was a young girl, and would often buy foreign comic books and magazines to indulge in her passion of anime and manga.
Being from a small town, the first time she cosplayed at a convention was difficult for her, as she was shy. Now, there's no more timidity as Dalin Cosplay is quickly becoming one of the most popular cosplayers out there in the geek world.
With over 60,000 followers on Facebook, she keeps in touch with her fans and supporters effectively through social media.
10 Callie Cosplay
Callie Cosplay hails from Florida and first started cosplaying when she was given a Black Widow costume for "The Avengers" release in downtown Disney in Orlando. After falling in love with the idea of getting a chance to step into the world of her favorite characters, and seeing how much joy it brought people, Callie started cosplaying and never looked back.
Along with cosplaying comic book characters, she also enjoys cosplaying story book and princess characters. The advice that she gives to the new cosplayer is to have dedication and passion for the hobby because it's definitely a time-consuming practice, but worth it all in the end!
9 Lady Lemon
Lady Lemon first dreamed about becoming an astronaut. She even studied engineering in school and embarked on a computer engineering career. However, she soon abandoned that career and started working as a special effects artist.
Lady Lemon has dressed up as different characters since the age of four, and seriously started cosplaying in 2011. Before cosplay, she tried to show off her talents in local beauty competitions, but she wasn't well received by fellow competitors.
After placing high in her first cosplay competition, she found an excellent support system and a safe world to explore her passions. She also notes that cosplay taught her more about special effects than she ever learned in school.
8 Mira Scarlet
Mira Scarlet has been cosplaying for a little over four years, and gets a lot of satisfaction bringing a fictional character to life. Hailing from the Carolinas, Mira Scarlet's passion is sewing, and it has helped her tremendously in her cosplaying ventures.
The hard work that she puts into her cosplays comes from her passion for and dedication to the craft, and her inspiration comes from the characters that she falls in love with in comics, manga, anime, and more.
Mira has gathered a fan following and even offers prints of her work to her adoring public. She engages with her audiences through social media sites as well as conventions.
7 It's Raining Neon
Deanna Davis, AKA It's Raining Neon, has been cosplaying since 2008 and has made over 100 costumes. She is a martial arts master, designer, crafts extraordinaire, and an artist.
Based in Virginia, Deanna fell in love with cosplaying before she even knew what the term meant. She would draft and design costume plans for some of her favorite characters from films and video games at the age of 11 and 12. Deanna has received countless awards for cosplaying and dedicates herself to the hobby full time as well as being a dedicated gamer.
6 Soni Aralynn
Soni Aralynn is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and first fell in love with cosplaying when she attended her first convention, Otakon, in 2003. She obtained her own sewing machine and got to work on her first costumes.
Along with cosplaying, Soni is also a model, and she is currently working on perfecting the art of prop making. She is a huge fan of the Power Rangers, comic books, movies, and video games. Soni works off the creative energy inspired by her favourite characters, and doesn't select them based on popularity.
BelleChere first started cosplaying in 2005 at DragonCon. With a background in theatrical costume design and construction, BelleChere first discovered cosplay when she was looking for ideas for a Halloween costume. She fell into a community of people who wore costumes year round and was immediately in love with the idea.
She constructs all of her own costumes and even commissions pieces for others. BelleChere selects her cosplay ideas based on characters from movies, anime, video games, manga, and television that evoke an emotional response, whether or not she is passionate about the character. The method hasn't failed her, as she has won numerous awards for her work.
4 Enji Night
Enji Night is based in Budapest, Hungary and fell in love with anime and manga at the age of 13. When she started playing role-playing video games, she started to notice the characters and identified with what they looked like.
This inspired Enji to start cosplaying at her first convention in 2009. Enji doesn't limit herself to just comics, but branches out into video games, movies, and more with her cosplay ideas. Enji got into costume design after venturing into cosplaying and is currently studying costume design in school.
3 Eve Beauregard
Eve Beauregard is an Australian cosplayer and a self-proclaimed professional nerd. She is a cosplayer, writer, and model, with a focus on making a positive impact on the nerd world.
Eve first got into cosplaying over seven years ago when her brother took her to her first convention and she discovered that cosplaying actually existed. The next year, Eve made her own costume and has been a cosplayer ever since. She studied fashion design in school and considers herself a huge fan of the Batman series (Poison Ivy was her first cosplay). Eve is currently getting into prop making and makes all of her own costumes.
Mariedoll, also known as Maria Ramos is based in Texas and has gathered a following of a few hundred thousand people. From her first venture into cosplay, she transitioned into modeling and this was when her career took off.
Anime was the artform which first got Maria interested in cosplay. As her interest in the animation saw her dive deeper into the anime world, she came across cosplayers in Japan and immediately fell in love with the idea. She finds cosplaying not only creative, but also gratifying. Maria makes all of her own cosplays and will sometimes network with others to obtain a piece if she can't make it herself.
1 Abby Dark Star
Abby Dark Star is a Bay Area-based cosplayer who has been active since 2007. She grew up in theatre in middle school and high school, but once she got to college, she realized she would rather study history. Still desiring a creative outlet, Abby got involved in cosplaying after attending her first comic book convention and seeing people dressed as some of her favorite characters.
First, she started off buying her costume pieces and making a few of her own. But now, she has transitioned into making more of her costumes herself from scratch. Abby does more than just work from a picture. She researches, storyboards, and puts an extraordinary amount of time and dedication into every costume she works on. With over half a million followers on Facebook alone, her dedication is clearly paying off.