Cosplay is a growing phenomenon that anyone can choose to take part in, and that's the beauty of it. I have been cosplaying ever since 2013, and I have never stopped learning new skills. Each costume teaches me something important, and I learn from each and every mistake (and so have my fingers when covered in hot glue burns). Cosplay also teaches you about yourself and encourages you to be better and push yourself to accomplish things you’d never even dream of.
To transform into a character is to be in the world, in the moment, and feeling so proud of your hard work (and maybe unable to sit down because of how many pieces your cosplay actually has). In the end, however, it's absolutely worth it. All of the blood, sweat, and tears turns into something incredible that has everyone snapping photos and giving plentiful compliments.
Cosplay is just as much of an art form as painting, sculpting, or drawing. People literally transform themselves into real-life versions of the characters they choose in an impressive display of living art. Those on this list are no exception. The following ladies listed here have truly gone above and beyond with their cosplays using a variety of mediums like body paint, makeup, wigs, and prop making and sewing skills. I am proud to be showcasing their fantastic work.
25 Holly Wolf - Breath Of The Wild Zelda
Holly Wolf is an internationally published model, cosplayer, actress, and dancer. She has an impressive 4 million fans on Facebook and has also appeared in Playboy and was named GeekFantasy's Woman of the Year. She has appeared in numerous magazine with her modeling work and at also at numerous conventions with her incredible cosplays.
Her Breath of the Wild Zelda has been featured all across the web and for very good reason. This costume is outstanding when it comes to craftsmanship, including the detailed work on the Sheikah Slate. What is also particularly stunning is how natural the elf ears she is wearing look. The detailing on her costume and even the location she chose for her photoshoot showcases the costume brilliantly and has us poring over every lavish detail.
24 Kay Bear Cosplay - Rikku
KayBear is a 21-year-old Atlanta-based cosplayer who is also an artist and a model. She has been cosplaying for a little over a year and already has amassed a huge following because of her incredible cosplay and modeling work. Art and design have always been her passion, and she continued her creative stride when she decided to make cosplays.
Rikku is hands down my favorite Final Fantasy X and X-2 character, and KayBear has crafted the absolute cutest cosplay of her I have ever seen in my life. Her prop of Rikku's dagger is also expertly made and modeled. Her wig styling is beautiful and this photo is absolutely exceptional. I also adore her pose! She makes it seem absolutely effortless to look that gorgeous, and it is for her.
23 Enasni Volz - Mad Moxxi
Enasni Volz began cosplaying in 2009 as Harley Quinn. She not only enjoys portraying characters through cosplay, but being a driving part of the community as well. She has been a judge for several cosplay contests and has won several with her Harley Quinn and Mad Moxxi cosplay that has been featured in the above photo. She has made and worn close to 15 different Harley Quinn cosplays, which is pretty freaking awesome.
Where to start with this epic Mad Moxxi cosplay? It is absolutely PERFECT. Her makeup is gorgeous, the cell shading is spot on (it's VERY tricky, so she has mastered it). She even has some cell shading on the costume itself to add to the dimensional nature of this cosplay. Plus this bar set up she has (complete with tip jar) had my jaw on the floor. Simply perfection!
22 Kristen Hughey - Suicide Squad Harley Quinn
Kristen Hughey is one of the biggest names in cosplay. Her page was created in 2012 and she has continued to gain traction with her amazing work since then. Kristen also streams both gaming and crafting on her Twitch channel, has a successful Youtube career, and has a wide variety of merchandise available including prints and calendars. Kristen's Harley is one of the most spot-on that I have ever seen.
Those shoes, for one. Perfect. The ones for Margot Robbie in the actual film are designer and these look like almost the same exact pair. Also, she used her own hair which is a bonus, no pesky wigs to wrestle with! She even has Harley's pistol which reads an interchangeable Love/Hate on the cylinder with each shot fired. Lastly, from a makeup standpoint, Harley's is pretty hard to get right. It's a weird mix of blending and smearing to create a grungy yet glam look. And Kristen nailed it!
21 Alyson Tabbitha - Lightning
Alyson Tabbitha is best known for her incredible makeup and cosplay transformations. She has become Widowmaker, Captain Jack Sparrow, and even the vampire Louis from Interview With the Vampire. She does makeup tutorials on her Youtube channel and showcases her amazing costumes on her Facebook page and DeviantART.
Alyson's Lightning is so impressive because she was able to contour and shade her face so she looks just like she stepped out of a video game. The wig styling is also immaculate, and the way the hairs lie make it look extremely natural. With the absolutely flawless costume construction, this is probably hands down the most beautiful and best Lightning cosplay I have ever seen.
20 Enji Night - Kasumi
Enji Night is a cosplayer and a model from Budapest, Hungary. She first opened her page in 2011. She is active on many social media sites including Youtube. Her Kasumi cosplay is simply breathtaking. I love the variety of materials she used and the intricate pattern work on the bottom half of her costume and also the leg and arm armor. The pattern is so perfectly even and the details and crisp and sharp.
Her pose also perfectly mirrors Kasumi's from Dead or Alive. She has adapted a strong fighting stance where she is planted and ready to strike at whatever opponent may emerge from the forest around her. This pose is not only strong, but there is also an air of beauty and lightness about this photo, striking a picture perfect balance between the two.
19 Maki Roll's Chop Shop - Enchantress
Maki is an extremely multi-talented lady. She has dipped her toes in the waters of burlesque, cosplay, and modeling. She always brings the glamour, the fashion, and the poise in every facet of her work. Her Enchantress cosplay is no exception, it is without a doubt one of my favorite cosplays of hers. This amazing sorceress puts all she encounters under her spell.
Everything about this cosplay is otherworldly and beautiful. From the black body paint that gives her a ghoulish look, to the symbols on her thighs, to her amazing face makeup. The smoky background that she emerges from is reminiscent of Enchantress's world and ghostly aura. I love the different materials she used and the draped chain mail, it really ties this amazing cosplay together. The weathering she used for the headpiece is also fantastic,
18 Leeanna Vamp - Lara Croft
Leeanna Vamp is an actress, model, cosplayer, and host. She has created and produced her own projects which include Best Fiends Forever and Star Wars Girls. She is a passionate lover of Halloween, hence her namesake. She loves bold fashion and has an absolutely magnetic personality. She is the host of Vamp TV and Fiend TV and has most recently appeared as a judge on the show Cosplay Melee.
Lara Croft is one of the best video game heroines out there today. Leeanna's is probably hands down my favorite one if I had to choose. I love how she really seems to be looking out for danger as she crouches behind the car, it looks like a situation Lara would find herself in. Lara has a simple costume, but Leeanna makes it look fantastic with all of those small details that add up to one gorgeous big picture.
17 Danielle Beaulieu - Kitty Cat Katarina
Danielle Beaulieu is a self-taught artist and cosplayer from the Boston area. Her specialties include armor making and special effects makeup. She attended her first convention at 13 and has spent the past decade creating amazing costumes. Danielle is most recognized for her award-winning League of Legends cosplays, such as Kitty Cat Katarina, who is featured above. She has also appeared in promotional events for notable companies such as Turtle Beach and Asus.
Kitty Cat Katarina is hands down one of my favorite skins that she has. I remember before I started playing League I saw someone cosplaying her at a con and had no idea who the character was, but now I adore her. This cosplay is just hands down adorable, and I love how well the blade is crafted, as Danielle is a skilled propmaker in addition to a seamstress. The leather work on the costume is also fantastic.
16 Kristen Lanae - Ciri
Kristen Lanae is a 26-year-old international cosplayer and model. Kristen began her career in the gaming community but was able to make an easy transition into cosplay because she already knew how to sew beforehand. Kristen has also collaborated and promoted numerous companies and brands, most recently Gunnar Optiks. It is no surprise that with her talent and drive that she has achieved amazing success during her three and growing years in the scene.
Kristen's Ciri cosplay is a marvel of costume construction. Outfits that are aged and worn are already difficult, but she seamlessly blended together numerous different fabric types to make her outfit authentic and very beautiful. The stunning editing of this shot really brings her right into the world of The Witcher, portraying Ciri, who looks on in deep contemplation on a starless evening.
15 Kinpatsu Cosplay - Raven
Kinpatsu Cosplay is a cosplayer from South Africa who has won numerous cosplay contest for her craftsmanship and attention to detail. She has been cosplaying since 2012. She also has a Youtube channel where she posts cosplay tutorials, tips, and reviews. She has cosplayed from a wide range of shows, games, and anime.
Her Raven cosplay really stands out to me because of the beautiful quality fabrics and materials she chose to work with. The vinyl body suit looks fantastic, and the lace front wig with the v-shaped bangs looks so amazing as well. The gems on her hands, belt, and forehead are also cast beautifully without a flaw.
14 Ryuu Lavitz - Harley Quinn - Batman Arkham Knight
Ryuu Lavitz is a 23-year-old, New England-based cosplayer. She has been cosplaying since her high school years. She also streams video games on Twitch and has guested at several cons. She has even won awards for her costumes. Ryuu prefers to use cheaper, locally found materials for her crafts and believes in turning "trash into treasure" to make something that is unique and beautiful.
Arkham Knight Harley Quinn is a fairly challenging cosplay to make, in my opinion. You have all of those straps on the top which seems like it would be fairly confusing to figure out. However, Ryuu stepped up to the plate and made this entire cosplay look cohesive, professional, and beautiful. Her transformation into Harley is one of the best I have seen, and she really suits the character well.
13 Aza Miyuko - D.Va
Aza Miyuko is a Korean cosplayer who has appeared at numerous comic cons across the globe to showcase her amazing work. Her page has been around since 2011 and her fan base has been growing ever since. Her cosplay of D.Va is my absolute favorite of hers and she has a great mixture of craftsmanship and cute in everything that she does.
I really love how detailed and ornate her jumpsuit is. You can clearly see how she used different fabrics, both shiny and matte, in order to give the suit an extra lively look. Some suits I have seen are screen-printed, which makes them appear more flat looking with less texture. Aza absolutely went the extra mile to make her suit look like it is functional as well as accurate.
12 Krissy Victory - Popstar Ahri
Krissy Victory, Victory for short is an actress, gamer, and freelance model. She began cosplaying back in 2012. She has also been featured on numerous outlets for her Finn cosplay from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which attracted the notice of John Boyega himself, who absolutely loved her cosplay. Krissy has also been featured on The Daily Dot, the Mary Sue, and Fashionably Geek.
Her Popstar Ahri and her Finn cosplay are absolutely tied for my two favorites because I love them both so much! I really applaud her for how incredible those tails look. Ahri's tails are one of the most complicated parts of any one of her skins. I also love the cute whiskers on her face and all of the materials she used for this costume. They all mesh so well and she looks like she's ready to take the stage!
11 Vampy Bit Me - Tifa Lockhart
Vampy Bit Me is an internationally published cosplayer and model. She can work with a wide range of materials, from tricky fabrics to full armor builds. Although Tifa's outfit is fairly simple, the way that she put together the outfit is flawless. Simpler outfits, in my opinion, come with their own set of problems.
For example, if you mess something up on a less ornate or detailed outfit, it sticks out more. This is because you can't cover it with a pattern or design or hide it under another outfit piece. Vampy's Tifa is so gorgeous — it is absolutely perfect. She absolutely hits all the right notes as Tifa and makes my cosplay heart sing!
10 Megan Coffey - Asuka Langley Soryu
Megan Coffey is a model and a cosplayer that hails from Florida. She is also a scientist. She has numerous amazing cosplays and modeling photoshoots to her name. She made this cosplay for Colossalcon, which is held every year at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, so it is definitely a cool concept that she brought a Neon Genesis Evangelion cosplay poolside.
This adorable swimsuit that is also a plugsuit really plays up Asuka's bold and fashionable personality. It features her signature color scheme of yellow, orange, and red, and also two Nerv hair clips and bracelets with the corresponding colors. I love when cosplayers take a character and make an alternate version, and Megan's Asuka is no exception!
9 Jessica Nigri - Janna
Jessica Nigri exploded onto the cosplay scene back in 2009 with her adorable Pikachu cosplay. Now an extremely talented prop maker, armor maker, seamstress, and model, Jess touts a whole colorful spectrum of cosplays to her name. In addition, she is also the voice of the villain Cinder Fall in Rooster Teeth's animated series RWBY and has also been the voice of Sonico in both the anime, Super Sonico: The Animation and the video game Sonicomi: Communications With Sonico.
With her Janna cosplay, Jessica not only shows off her sewing skills, but also her prop making skills as well. Worbla is one of her materials of choice and you can really see the expert sculpting on the bustier and belt, along with Janna's crown and scepter. Her pose is also so stunning, and she makes the transformation to Janna seamlessly.
8 Lua Stardust - Cammy
Lua Stardust (also known as Lua Suicide) is an east coast cosplayer, Suicide Girl, and alternative model. In addition to Kammy, she has also done Leeloo, a pretty freaking amazing Gamora, and Chel from The Road to El Dorado, in addition to numerous others. She has established a fantastic career for herself and is a very versatile model, taking amazing photos with ease.
Lua's Cammy is absolutely fabulous. The build on the arm armor is exquisite. The black paint in the cracks makes it looks like it has dimension. The shot of the city in the background exudes both power and also glamour. I'm honestly obsessed with it, and I love how strong and gorgeous she looks against that backdrop!
7 Christina Fink - Burial At Sea Elizabeth
Christina Fink is a Russian cosplayer and model whose faithful recreations of beloved characters never fail to impress. With over 500,000 subscribers on her Youtube page, she documents her convention adventures and has gorgeous cosplay showcase videos. Her Instagram also showcases her modeling and cosplay versatility, where she excels.
In Burial at Sea, Elizabeth’s smoky, 40s-style makeup is by far the most striking thing about her, and Christina Fink truly looks just like the Bioshock heroine. I am always amazed at how people can transform their own features will cell shading or contouring to look just like they stepped out of a video game. As a makeup aficionado, I think this is one of the most impressive transformations I have ever seen. The costume itself is also expertly assembled, with the stitching and piping on the top mirroring Elizabeth's exactly.
6 Tasha Leigh - Juri Han
Tasha Leigh is a Los Angeles cosplayer, artist, photographer, and model. Tasha is also very diverse in the areas that she dabbles in cosplay. She cosplays from anime, video games, and comic book characters. She is very well rounded and works with a wide variety of materials.
Juri Han is a great example of a cosplay with a lot of complicated garments that require a lot of ingenuity to craft. This is a costume you definitely cannot find a pattern for, thus you must get creative, which Tasha absolutely nailed. The craftsmanship on this cosplay honestly blows my mind because that wig requires a lot of styling and she absolutely pulled it off spectacularly!
5 Katyuska MoonFox - 2B
Katyuska is an extremely talented lady who has been cosplaying since around 2007 according to her page. With many popular and perfectly executed cosplays under her belt, she has reached out to every corner of fandom to draw her inspirations for her beautiful costumes. Her embodiment of each character she chooses to bring to life is nothing short of astounding.
Katyuska is also very passionate and knowledgeable about game design and development, so she is a lady of not only numerous talents but very specified skill sets too. Her attention to detail in each costume she creates is absolutely breathtaking and incredibly inspiring, especially for a cosplayer such as myself looking to hone my own craft. NieR: Automata is one of my favorite games and seeing a cosplayer I adore donning a perfect cosplay of 2b is just fantastic!
4 Byndo Gehk- Cindy
Byndo Gehk has been creating cosplay since 2013 and is a Twitch Partner. She streams her cosplay creation and on Twitch and loves to help others out who need it during her streams by answering questions about costume construction. She also makes Youtube videos and vlogs that showcase her convention adventures. Byndo cultivates a culture of positivity on her page and that is one factor, in addition to her amazing work and personality, that shows how amazing she is as a cosplayer and a person.
Byndo's Cindy is one of my favorite cosplays she has ever done. Not only does she look exactly like her, but the costume construction and choices of materials could not have been better. Wig styling can be tricky, and Byndo nailed it with Cindy's cute bobbed curls. I also adore the detailing on the jacket, which is very well made.
3 Yaya Han - Jessica Rabbit
Yaya Han is another name that always comes up when you Google "cosplay." She is everywhere! An extremely talented seamstress, prop maker, and businesswoman, Yaya Han has really helped to bring cosplay to the forefront of pop culture. There is absolutely nothing in the cosplay world that Yaya has not attempted. She has made armor cosplays, ball gowns, and even costumes with complicated corsetry like this one.
Yaya's silhouette in this cosplay really recreates the curvy figure that Jessica Rabbit has. She was cinched in very tightly in this cosplay, and I remember on an episode of Heroes of Cosplay, she actually had to be cut out of it. Now that is a dedication to your craft! The makeup is gorgeous, as is the wig styling, and the drapey (and sequin-filled) wonder that is that amazing dress.
2 Giulietta Zawadzki - Bayonetta
Giulietta Zawadzki is a cosplayer from England. She has a degree in Fine Art and translates that into her cosplays. She is best known for her fantastic armor builds and of course, her iconic Bayonetta cosplay. She also creates original sketches and paintings in addition to her cosplays.
Her Bayonetta cosplay really does this prehensile haired witch justice. The beautiful carvings and paint work on the guns really bring the character to life. She event added the small symbols that are painted on to the ribbons that are tied into Bayonetta's hair. Small details like that may not seem like much, but in the grand scheme of a cosplay, they are everything. All the small detail work she does adds up to make a gorgeous and professional looking costume.
1 Jannet "Incosplay" Vinogradova - Widowmaker
I have been a huge fan of Jannet’s work ever since I saw her incredible Widowmaker cosplay. The fact that she looks just like she stepped out of the game and made the body paint look so flawless and natural absolutely stunned me. From head to toe this cosplay is clearly one of the best that I have ever seen, with such a careful attention to detail and the fact that her facial features are nearly identical to Widow herself.
The types of fabrics that she used for the bodysuit are perfect. Widowmaker’s suit is very form-fitting, and the accents and tailoring really reflect the character’s silhouette in an especially accurate way. Her weapon, visor, armor, and grappling hook are all expertly sculpted and are an example of the highest caliber of craftsmanship. Amazing work Jannet!