LIFESTYLE - Article
09:00 - 20th October 2013, by Mary-Ann Russon

COSPLAYER PROFILE: KELLY JEAN

Cosplayer Kelly Jean has been cosplaying for seven years and is well-known on the UK scene, but while she's often seen as a judge or guest at anime / sci-fi fan conventions, you won't find her competing as much. "I only care to focus on things I want to make rather than what would be impressive enough to win a competition," she told us.

"I have entered a few silly competitions. At Minamicon they gave me the "Are You Cold in That?!" award, and I came runner-up when Ubisoft ran a SoulCalibur competition last year. Otherwise it's unlikely you'll see me enter anything, though I would like to challenge myself to making a difficult costume sometime soon."

Kelly started cosplaying after she found pictures of people dressing up as Sailor Moon on the internet while Googling in IT class in school.

She has made over 20 costumes featuring characters from anime series, popular video games and western cartoons, including Poison and Roxy from the Street Fighter x Tekken video game, Scanty and Panty from anime series Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Rogue from X-Men, Charlotte from Vampire Hunter D, Lilith from Borderlands 2 video game, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Nana Osaki from the anime NANA, Eva from Metal Gear 3 and Princess Daphne from Dragon's Lair.

"The part I enjoy about cosplay the most is getting to be a character I really love. There is nothing better to me than that," she said. "Even if it's uncomfortable and takes hours to get into, it's worth it."

Having judged several cosplay masquerades and competitions for several UK conventions over the years, Kelly has developed a keen eye on how to judge cosplayers' work. "Sometimes it can be stressful and sometimes it can be fun. It depends on how many great entries there are and how much on the same level with you the other judges are," she says.

But Kelly also admits that making costumes can sometimes be quite difficult for her too, even though she has a lot of experience. "Cosplaying is hard for me sometimes because often it is not simply 'buy pattern, sew dress'. It is far often more a case of needing a huge mix of medias required to come to the finished result," she says.

"I think for the most part (especially sewing) it is better to look to industry professionals (and invest in a good book), more so than looking to other cosplayers.

"The only exceptions to this rule are when you have to use materials that cosplayers use more often that industry pros do not. For example, there are some great craft foam or Worbla tutorials out there which is unlikely to be covered by industry SFX tutorials. Most cosplayers are not pros, but a few of them are, so in that case they can be a great source of information."

Kelly sees cosplay as a form of creative expression, and while she doesn't see herself as a "cosplay model" per se, it has helped her to get some work running workshops, sewing commissions, and also allows her to freelance doing a variety of work from promotions, to even voicing the English dubs for hentai.

She also sings in rock band Rexon, where she performs onstage in costumes relating to singing characters such as Envy from Scott Pilgrim.

You can find out more about Kelly Jean's work and her band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kellyjeanartist and https://www.facebook.com/rexonband.

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