If you've attended any sort of Comic Con or geek convention in the last few decades, you'll know that nerdom is populated by an array of different types who all share a common interest in dressing up as their favorite super heroes, anime characters, and more.
The word "cosplay" comes from the terms "costume" and "play". It has, in recent years, become the center of some controversy with accusations that the practice tends towards the misogynistic: With beautiful women dressing up as sexy versions of favourite fantasy characters and making a career out of having their photo taken, the cosplayers who garner the most attention are, typically, the women.
Of course, accusations of sexism have plagued comic books and video games for as long as either art form has been existent, and those same accusations haven't prevented the practice from exploding in the convention community. It's worth noting, too, that the women who engage in cosplay are typically artistic costume designers with a passion for they do who, perhaps, just happen to look great doing it.
Thanks to social media, fans can follow their favourite cosplayers and check out their stunning creations without having to make a roadtrip to every big Comic Con. As the cosplay community continues to heat up year on year, the following are the twenty hottest cosplaying women to watch in 2015. They have the biggest pool of social media likes, followers, and admirers and they're by far some of the very hottest geek girls out there.
20 Marie-Claude Bourbonnais
With over 170,000 likes on Facebook, Marie-Claude Bourbonnais is a French Canadian cosplayer, glamour model, and a designer.
Marie-Claude brought cosplay to a new level when she started to win contests at Canadian conventions. Her exposure grew as members of the general public wanted to interview her about the art of cosplay and the practice's emerging popularity in the United States and Japan.
Not only is Marie-Claude beautiful, but she's wildly talented; she makes all of her costumes herself and has even designed some of her own creations. Marie-Claude is dedicated to educating her fans about cosplay and sharing her love for the art of turning fantasy characters into real-life people.
WindoftheStars, also known as "Mel", has been cosplaying for the last ten years. In that time, she has created over 80 costumes for herself and others. Her cosplays originate from video games, movies, comics, anime, manga, as well as her own designs. She currently has over 176,000 likes on her Facebook page.
Her work has been featured in print and online publications and she has also won numerous awards for her innovative cosplays. WindoftheStars currently works as a professional seamstress and tailor, utilizing her sewing skills and making a living from her creations and alterations.
Dustbunny has been cosplaying since 2003 and as of 2015 she has definitively reached the ranks of professional cosplayers. Based in Los Angeles, Dustbunny studied makeup and costume design in college and has made over 50 costumes for her cosplay work.
Currently, she's traveling to numerous conventions every year speaking on panels and judging cosplay contests. Dustbunny's followers are not only cosplayers and enthusiasts, but also costume designers who want to learn more about her techniques in turning fantasy into real life.
17 Alexia Jean Grey
Alexia Jean Grey is an actress and costume designer who raised the bar in terms of quality cosplaying. She started to become well known in the cosplaying community in 2012, and currently has over 193,000 likes on her Facebook page as well as regular traffic to her popular personal website on a daily basis. She has cosplayed super sexy versions of Bat Girl, the Black Widow, Poison Ivy, and Dark Phoenix, to name but a few.
Kamui, whose real name is Svetlana Quindt, is a cosplayer and costumer designer who strives to share her knowledge and skills with the public. She has written several books and regularly posts tutorial videos on YouTube, giving fans the ability to watch her incredibly intricate work.
Kamui is known for her exceptional ability to make armor that translates from pop culture to real life. Kamui currently has over 193,000 likes on Facebook and over 10,000 Twitter followers.
Maridah has been a huge fan of anime since 1999 and started cosplaying in 2001. She became well known for her Saber cosplay from the Fate/Stay Night novels. Aside from her cosplaying, Maridah works in the video game world as a community manager for a video game publisher.
Over the years, she has made numerous costumes for her cosplay activities - helped along by her performing arts background. Currently, she has over 225,000 likes on Facebook and over 8,000 Twitter followers.
14 Vampy Bit Me
Linda Le, better known in the cosplay world as Vampy Bit Me, is an American artist, costumer, model, cosplayer, and online personality. Growing up in Oklahoma and attending San Jose State for college, Vampy started to garner attention for her cosplays after being featured in a few convention books.
Not only does she cosplay, but she has proven herself to be quite the business entrepreneur; Vampy works with numerous entertainment and design firms promoting products in the world of gaming, conventions, and cosplay.
13 Adrianne Curry
Adrianne Curry is not only a cosplayer, but she's also the very first winner of "America's Next Top Model." Who knew that someone in the fashion world was also a major geek?
Curry has been a role model for female gamers and geeks in North America, hitting the convention scene on a regular basis. She has a fan following that includes fashion lovers as well as convention regulars and gamers.
12 Misa TW
Misa TW is a cosplayer from Taiwan who started cosplaying while she was in school, as a member of an anime club. An avid lover of anime and video games, Misa typically cosplays her favorite anime characters.
She makes her own cosplay costumes, only spending money for supplies that she can't make herself, and keeps up with the latest trends in the community. Misa has over 240,000 likes on Facebook, a number that's still quickly growing.
11 Ivy Doomkitty
Ivy Doomkitty has numerous titles under her belt including international cosplayer/costumer, model, and artist. Ivy attended numerous conventions before finally deciding to join the cosplay community as a fully committed fangirl.
She strives to show an increasingly superficial community that it doesn't matter what size you are, you can still do what you love. This mantra has brought her an increased level of fame; she often represents female cosplayers on panels and regularly judges cosplay competitions.
10 Monika Lee
Monika Lee joined the cosplaying world at the age of 13 due to her love of videos, anime, and pop culture. She considers herself to be an avid gamer and many of her cosplays depict video game characters.
Monika has earned awards for her cosplays and has attended conventions all over the world. She has gained international recognition, which has led to a fan following numbering over 314,000 likes on Facebook and 65,000 followers on Twitter.
9 Giada Robin
Giada Robin is an Italian cosplayer and model who's also an actress and gamer. Famous for her cosplay work as anime and manga characters, Giada has traveled all over the world to speak on panels and judge competitions.
With over 358,000 likes on Facebook, Robin's not shy about interacting with her fan following. Giada, who started cosplaying in 2008 thanks to some nerdy friends, has made an impact not only on the European convention scene, but also across the pond in the United States.
Also known as Riki LeCotey, Riddle was introduced to anime and gaming at an early age. She moved from Canada to the United States to help further her costuming work, and her reputation has exploded. Not only is she a cosplayer, but she also works as a costumer for movies, and has appeared on SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay."
Riddle is known for her craftsmanship and her ability to translate costumes from animation to real life. She has over 400,000 likes on Facebook and 53,000 followers on Twitter.
7 Destiny Nickelsen
Destiny Nickelson has over 433,000 likes on her Facebook page. Costuming has been a way of life for her since she was a little girl, when her mom taught her how to sew at the young age of 6. For her whole life, Nickelson grew up making her own Halloween costumes. Destiny attended her first convention in 2003 and fell in love with the art of cosplay; she hasn't looked back since.
Famous for her intricate detail and attention to the "little things", she has gathered a following through making herself available for panels and judging so that she can pass on her expertise.
6 Stella Chuu
Stella Chuu calls herself "The Anime Princess of Burlesque", giving her a unique flair that makes her stand out from other cosplayers. With over 500,000 likes on her Facebook page, Stella first started cosplaying in high school, and in 2011 she started to focus more on her cosplay and burlesque work.
Her first cosplay was Sakura from "Naruto". She makes appearances at various cons around the country discussing feminism and etiquette on numerous panels as well as bringing in her burlesque performances to different audiences. Stella takes inspiration from well-known cosplayers and uses their success to drive her own work.
5 Kristen Hughey
Kristen Hughey is an American cosplayer and costume designer who is not only beautiful and sexy, but also a hard worker. Kristen credits her mother for getting her started in sewing, and she also started crafting when she was very young.
Immediately falling in love with the cosplay scene at her first convention, Kristen wanted to get involved right away. Fans motivate Hughey to continue to make her costumes by hand and she pays special attention to detail at all times. It's a time consuming process, but her 666,000 fans agree it's worth it.
4 Nicole Marie Jean
Nicole Marie Jean is an American cosplayer based in San Diego, California with over 867,000 likes on her Facebook fan page and 31,000 followers on Twitter. Nicole first discovered cosplay in 2010 when she saw it at her first convention; she had no idea that the practice existed before she became involved.
Nicole currently cosplays characters from video games and movies, and recently branched out into anime. Unlike many other popular female cosplayers, Nicole doesn't do any other modeling outside of her cosplay endeavours.
3 Yaya Han
Yaya Han is an American cosplayer based in Marietta, Georgia with over 1.2 million likes on Facebook and 96,000 followers on Twitter. Yaya was featured on SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay" and is often a guest judge on TBS' "King of the Nerds".
But she doesn't just judge for the camera; she is often invited to numerous conventions and competitions as an on-site judge. Yaya is also a model and costumer, so people can check out and even buy her costumes on her website.
2 Jessica Nigri
Jessica Nigri has been cosplaying since 2009, and has become such a celebrity in the practice that she has gained veritable celebrity status. Currently, she has over 2.7 million likes on Facebook and 390,000 Twitter followers.
Jessica first garnered attention in 2009 at the San Diego Comic-Con, when her cosplay of "Sexy Pikachu" went viral. In 2012, she won IGN's contest for her cosplay of Juliet Starling, the heroine of the video game "Lollipop Chainsaw", and Warner Bros. hired her as a spokesmodel. Since then, Nigri has cosplayed professionally, continuing her work as a spokesmodel and promoting various video games, comic books, movies, anime, and more.
1 Alodia Gosiengfiao
Alodia Gosiengfiao has become one of the most popular cosplayers in the world with over 4 million likes on Facebook and 376,000 followers on Twitter. Along with cosplaying, Alodia is a Filipina model, actress, and singer.
At the age of 15, after being encouraged by friends (both online and personal), she started cosplaying and competing against others cosplayers with much success. Alodia began to gather national attention, which led to a strong fan following.
These days, she is regularly invited to appear at conventions and competitions worldwide to judge other cosplayers. To date, she has cosplayed over 40 characters from movies, videogames, and anime.