She’s been an ex-soldier, intergalactic bounty hunter, a video game pioneer, and now, a cosplay favourite.
Since her introduction to gamers in the 1986's Metroid, Samus Aran has become a beloved character, spawning a continuously expansive franchise that celebrated its 30th anniversary just last year. The hero of the Galactic Federation, hailing from the distant Earth mining colony K-2L, Samus Aran experienced a difficult childhood. Think space-Batman but with missiles and a Mega Man-like appendage. The destruction of her home planet and the death of her family by the draconic extraterrestrial Ridley and his band of Space Pirates led the orphaned Samus to be adopted by the bird-like species Chozo. And like many other superhero origin stories before, Samus joins the Galactic Federation to exact vengeance on the raiding band of Space Pirates armed with a seemingly impossible Power Suit – an ancient exoskeleton Chozo artifact armed with a myriad of energy weapons and missiles.
Its 30 year run showcases the demand for the franchise’s continued success, branching out from its collection of video games to extensive forms of media, including printed media, soundtracks, statues, and action figures. But perhaps the most popular is the expanding cosplay subculture in which fans of the franchise don their best impression of Samus Aran – complete with her powered exo suit to the more revealing zero suit of recent years. So to celebrate her 30th anniversary, we’ve scoured the Internet to find the 15 hottest Samus Aran cosplayers. Enjoy!
15 Jessica Nigri
There are few things that can be said that hasn’t been said before about this cosplayer. A cosplay celebrity and industry titan, Jessica Nigri has always done cosplay her own way, adding the special Nigri touch to any character she decides to immortalize. Her ability to constantly innovate and remain relevant in an ever-changing industry has allowed her to pave the way for countless after her. A considerable feat considering that she’s only been cosplaying for eight years.
It should be no surprise then that her Samus cosplay should be any different. While most take the approach of flawlessly recreating the Zero Suit Samus concept art, Nigri has opted to display Samus in a completely new light, elevating the character to a new level of class and sophistication no one before her has attempted. Her Hefner-inspired Zero Bunny Suit Samus is one for the ages – a seductive force while revealing the character’s subtle strength.
14 Nadya Anton, Nadyasonika
A cosplayer from Mexico, Nadya is a cosplay vet, having made over 60 cosplay outfits in the last 10 years, making appearances in numerous comic book and gaming events throughout the world as a cosplay guest, panelist, and even as a host.
Besides her love for cosplay, she spends her time hosting a television show called GamerTag, a TV show that focuses primarily on all things video games. She’s also the CD PROJEKT RED Community Manager for their Spanish-speaking audience. Besides cosplaying, her free time is spent streaming video games via her Twitch account – showing everyone that its a girl’s world out there.
For those who are unfamiliar with the particular Samus ensemble displayed above, Nadya has decided to reminisce and recreate the “Justin Bailey” Suit accessed by a secret password found in the original Metroid games. And we’d dare say she’s recreated it beautifully.
13 Vlada Lutsak
Very little is known of Russian cosplayer Vlada Lutsak, but what is known is she stunned the Internet and fanboys alike when she stepped into the limelight with her skintight Zero Suit Samus cosplay. Closely resembling the Zero Suit Samus character playable in Super Smash Bros. 4, Vlada has been meticulous with her art, down to the minute details of Samus’ streamlined Zero Suit.
Besides her stunning Zero Suit Samus, she’s also successfully dipped her feet in other cosplay favourites such as Pokémon’s Misty, comic book heroine Vampirella, and several DC favourites, such as Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy. She’s also successfully genderbent famous pop culture characters such the Simpsons’ Duffman and Judge Dredd. Her most current success comes in the form of her seductive depiction of Quiet from Metal Gear Solid fame, complete with a sexy collaborative photoshoot featuring everyone’s favourite sniper – Sniper Wolf.
12 Linda Le, Vampy Bit Me
American cosplayer Linda Le, better known as Vampy Bit Me, is a long time cosplayer, having picked up her first thread and needle at the tender age of four. Her love for DIY expanded and, since age 12, Linda has been dressing up as her favourite video game and anime characters.
She’s been named by numerous publications as having cosplaying skills that are “off the charts” and the “most universally attractive Asian girl” in part due to her perfect blend of geekiness imbued with remarkable sexiness. She has stated in the past that her favourite character to cosplay is Psylocke of the X-Men, having cosplayed all the costume variations of the character.
Outside of cosplaying, Linda is an avid gamer, a columnist for You Bent My Wookie, and has made appearances in Just Cos, a cosplaying Internet show co-hosted by American beauty, Chloe Dykstra.
11 Dani Dosser
As question that gets debated just as much as the chicken/egg dilemma, is cosplay a hobby or a lifestyle?
In Dani Dosser’s case, its a lifestyle, and a rather sexy lifestyle at that. Having been a comic book nerd her whole life, she’s translated this passion to stunning recreations of her favourite characters, most notably her Starfire iterations that have garnered praise from fans the world over. She’s also a big fan of video games, noting classics such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Star Fox Adventures as some of her favourite video games to play.
A recently university graduate, this Canadian native balances understated beauty with elegance and daring seduction in her cosplay designs. And while she may be known for her comic book recreations, her depiction of Samus is a thing of beauty.
10 Lindsay Elyse
A titan of the cosplay community, Lindsay Elyse is a cosplayer and gamer from the United States. She states her mom as her inspiration and thanks her for getting her into cosplay, having seen a flyer for a local anime convention and making Lindsay's first two costumes for her so she could enter the local costume contest. Lindsay is most notably known for her cosplays of characters from Tron to League of Legends and several Disney characters.
A long time avid gamer and cosplayer, she has recently transitioned from cosplaying full-time to focusing her on streaming career with Counter Logic Gaming, North America’s premier eSports organization, streaming games such as Overwatch and World of Warcraft.
Beyond cosplay and streaming, Lindsay is known for her modeling and writing, having acquired a Journalism degree from Arizona State University.
9 Holly Brooke
While some babies are born with a silver spoon, Holly Brooke was born with a thread and needle, as her mother’s passion for making Halloween costumes for baby Holly was a precursor to having a future cosplayer in the family. It also didn’t hurt that her childhood summers were spent with her grandmother sewing or her father introducing her to the world of superheroes at at a very young age. This created the perfect recipe for Holly’s future as a brilliant cosplayer.
Having fallen in love with the world of cosplay after attending her first convention in 2009, Holly’s acclaimed library of costumes includes Resident Evil’s Jill Valentine, Ghost Rider, Morrigan of Darkstalkers, and, of course, Metroid’s Zero Suit Samus.
An incredibly intelligent cosplayer, Holly perfectly balances beauty with brains, having just graduated with a Veterinary of Medicine doctorate degree proving that geek girls really do have it all.
8 Lara Lunardi
Having cosplayed since she was 13-years-old, Lara Lunardi is perhaps the cutest Samus on this roster. Don’t let the cuteness fool you, as Lara cosplays characters that embody personal strength, often drawing on her own strong personality and fierce attitude to bring out the best in her cosplays. She first discovered the joy of cosplay unexpectedly when she walked into a convention and saw people cosplaying some of her favourite characters. That joy soon turned into a passion and we can consider ourselves lucky that it did.
Lara’s approach to cosplaying differs from most. While most cosplayers are photographed in their outfits at conventions and photoshoots, Lara takes it a step further, doing her own photoshoots and then creating original edits of her art on Photoshop, adding complex layers to her images. Her favourite character is Samus, which is apt considering her Samus cosplay is truly out of this world.
7 Mariah Mallad, Momokun
It’s safe to say that everyone was pretty surprised to discover the reveal at the end of Metroid – Samus Aran was a blonde superheroine! We were perhaps even more surprised to discover that her Amazonian proportions resembled Wonder Woman-esque femininity. Well this Amazonian cosplayer shows that you don’t need the Chozo-designed Power Suit to look mighty – clothed in the skintight Zero Suit armor will do just fine.
Crafted to the finest degree, Mariah Mallad, known to most as Momokun, pays homage to the Zero Suit Samus playable in Super Smash Bros. complete with the dotted pink symbols on her back as well as killer heel jet boots. Beyond the scope of the cosplay community, Momokun is an avid gamer, having picked up her first controller at a young age and now hosts a successful Twitch stream.
6 Rayara Eckhardt, Rizzy No Okuni
Rayara Eckhardt, or Rizzy no Okuni, is a 23-year-old Brazilian beauty who first dipped her toes in the cosplaying world when she was only 17. Her cosplay name Rizzy no Okuni was a collaborative effort stemming from her love for Dizzy of Guilty Gear fame (changing just the first letter) and the anime Izumo no Okuni.
Over the years, her cosplay talent has expanded from her Dizzy beginnings, having had the opportunity to craft truly spectacular outfits of D.Va (Overwatch), Baroness (G.I. Joe), 2B (NieR: Automata), and Bayonetta. She has recently bolstered her artistic palette, experimenting with body paint cosplay.
5 Anni, Cheesu
A truly pixel-worthy cosplayer, Anni, or better known as Cheesu, does a fantastic job of embodying the spirit of Samus while donning the Zero Suit. Elegant while wonderfully revealing in all the right ways, this beautiful cosplay elevates the simple jumpsuit to a very impressive wearable work of art.
With only six years of cosplay under her proverbial belt, there’s very little information about Anni. But we do know is that she’s a very passionate cosplayer, having done some incredibly stunning work in her years of being active in the cosplay community. She’s cosplayed some of the community’s favourite characters, from Lollipop Chainsaw’s Juliet Starling and popular MMORPG Aion, to The Legend of Zelda’s Link and her truly out of this world Zero Suit Samus. Having to juggle her studies while crafting her own cosplays means we can look forward to future works of art.
4 Kiki Aran
When Kiki Aran isn’t shaping the minds of future generations on the importance of composition and literature, Kiki can be found attending conventions and events all the while cosplaying her favourite characters.
A college professor by day and cosplayer in all the time between, Kiki grew up around conventions, having attended many of them in her childhood with her mom, who at the time was a staff member at Star Trek conventions. But it wasn’t until her then-boyfriend persuaded her to start cosplaying that she really paid attention to the art of the community. Luckily for us, she’s never looked back since.
Since picking up the cosplaying mantle in 2010, she’s cosplayed numerous favourites, most notably her Justin Bailey Samus and her impressively revealing Zero Bikini Suit Samus. A college professor by day and cosplayer by night? These studies may demand a second look.
3 Holly Wolf
Model. Actor. Playmate. And now cosplayer, Holly Wolf is a woman of considerable talent and “assets.” Hailing from Canada, she’s an internationally published model appearing regularly in publications such as FHM, Geek Fantasy Magazine, Next Level Magazine, Players Magazine, and Playboy.
But despite her success as an internationally renown cover model, her true passions lie in gaming and anime. She’s an devoted gamer, quoting The Legend of Zelda as her favourite series to play. This devotion shines through in her cosplay, as Holly has been known to spend countless hours crafting the perfect costumes as well as splashing cash to perfectly depict her favourite characters. In fact, she’s spent over $1,800 on wigs alone to perfectly portray Zelda.
A pioneer in the cosplay culture, Holly Wolf is most notably known for being the first Playmate of the Year as well as a successful cosplayer. We can't wait to see where the rest of her career takes her.
2 Jenni Källberg
Taking the last two spots are perhaps the two at the top of the Metroid cosplay game. Both have reached critical acclaim with their depictions of Samus and both have won numerous awards. First we look at Jenni Källberg, the Swedish cosplayer who's reached the stars.
A true veteran to the cosplay community, Jenni has been cosplaying for nearly twenty years. She considers Samus as her favourite character to cosplay, cosplaying her in a unique weathered Varia Suit. Her successes as a cosplayer has led to various opportunities outside of the cosplay community – modelling Metroid Prime Trilogy in Germany as well as appearing in numerous Nintendo Power spreads.
Outside of the cosplay community, Jenni freelances as an illustrator and 3D rendering work. She has a degree in video game development and is a big fan of the online community 4Chan. If you didn’t believe in space angels before, its time to start now.
1 Thaís Jussim, Yukilefay
The newcomer to Jenni Källberg's Metroid mantle, Thaís Jussim, or better known as Yukilefay or Yuki for short, is famous for her renditions of Samus’ Varia Suit and Zero Suit. Meticulous in her designs, her bounty hunter suit required six months to assemble. Her Varia Suit armour is finished 73 battery powered LEDs to create the ultimate effect and weighs nearly 23 pounds. According to Yuki, its not very comfortable to wear, which should surprise no one, but we’re all victims of fashion at one point or another.
After taking up the Samus Aran mantle, this Brazilian beauty has cosplayed a variety of other characters – Marvel’s Black Widow, Dragon Age’s Champion of Kirkwall, and Poison Ivy of Batman fame. Outside of cosplaying, Yuki is also known for being a costume designer, make-up artist, and panel judge at cosplay competitions.