TopTenz is an appreciator of both the high points and the low points. And as contentious as gender politics in nerd culture tends to get, it’s great that there are large numbers of women who feel society is tolerant enough that they can pretend to be fictional characters without being mocked. Unfortunately, many times, female cosplayers get disproportionate amounts of attention due to their sex appeal rather than the intrinsic quality of their costumes or modelling work.
One of the freshest faces in cosplay, Oki-Cospi only began posting her modelling work online in 2012. In that time she’s already provided eye-catching images wearing excellently tailored costumes. She also has excellent choices for location shoots to enhance the photos. The above photo from a set of her as Korra from Legend of Korra is a good example and also showcases the fact she isn’t content with stiff or suggestive poses when she tries to communicate the fun of playing the character. She has plenty more quality images available on her Facebook profile.
9. Katie George
A ten-year veteran of the cosplay game who lists more than one hundred costuming credits (for which she has a degree from Auburn University in Alabama) it’s a shame that George isn’t able to devote more of her time to her modeling. But as she says, she didn’t think there was enough financial and health security in pretending to be everyone from Wonder Woman (as wonderfully portrayed above) to Lana Kane from Archer to Bugs Bunny, so she’s stuck to her forty-hour-a-week “real job.” But she not only offers a rich array modelling sets to choose from, she also offers fairly in-depth explanations on who the numerous characters are, why she chose them, and what the process for creating the costumes was. Let’s hope someday she can make a living from this hobby: She’s certainly willing to work at it like a day job!
8. Lyz Brickley
Let me begin by saying what a fantastic alias that is! Since beginning in 2009, Brickley has created some gorgeous images of characters such as Jinx from League of Legends or a crusader from Diablo III. Her collaborators have included but not been limited to Zim Killgore, Tom Hicks, and very famous cosplayer Jessica Nigri. Undoubtedly her most enduring collaborator at this point is photographer Darshelle Stevens with whom she has begun a Patreon account to create more great photos. Although unfortunately that would mean taking more time away from the pets she’s so fond of.
Most of the cosplayers that are featured on this list make all of their own costumes and that’s an important factor to them being included. Tasha is from Seoul, South Korea, and has a team with her that handles the costume-making and background design called Spiral Cats, but the results are so great that we’re including her anyway. With the help of Spiral Cats she did great cosplay of League of Legends and as a medieval demon hunter from Diablo III, but her and the team’s real magnum opus is as Queen Kerrigan from the video game Starcraft. She exudes such a beautiful, poised arrogance that even with all that elaborate makeup, that exquisite costume and set design, and the other atmosphere, her face is still the first thing you look at.
6. Aza Miyuko
It might seem that the fact this second model from Korea has also heavy support from Spiral Cats is more a tribute to the abilities as a whole than these models, but the Miyuko certainly earns her place in those excellently designed images. Along with a huge number of cutesy images such as her interpretation of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, she also does much edgier jobs such as her version of Levi Rivaille, a character from the popular anime Attack on Titan. Her best piece of posing, costuming, and background design is unquestionably her playing a demon hunter from Diablo III as her Tasha did. It’s superbly designed armor that she plays with just enough of a smirk.
When someone says of themselves in their Facebook bio “doing what I can to make my 5 year old self think I grew up to be pretty awesome,” you know they’re not pretentious and that they’ll probably put fun over appearing tough or “cool.” Courtoon (real first name Courtney, which is all she seems comfortable sharing with the public) has done many of the classic cosplay characters such as a wide array from Disney (Gravity Falls, Tangled, etc.) She’s also done many characters so obscure that she could only think to put them in a folder called “Random.” Among her hundreds or pictures, the one above of her playing Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s so well lit and the timing on photographing the rising wave to represent the water powers that the character has is just perfect. Something about this character seems to bring the best out in cosplayers.
4. Lisa Rosenberg
Not many amateur models become featured in national news for playing around in costume. One of those few is Lisa Rosenberg, a.k.a. Lisa Lou Who, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based creator of custom outfits through her Etsy store “Rarity’s Boutique.” Her 2014 cosplay set as Princess Anna from Frozen was so good that it was not just shared by Disney, but TIME magazine itself featured an article about Frozen’s runaway success, where she was mentioned by name. That has to be one of the biggest success stories ever achieved by someone pretending to be a cartoon character in a costume they made themselves.
And it brings us directly to our next model…
3. Megan Marie
In our previous entry, Frozen fans might have wondered “well, if Rosenberg was Princess Anna, did she have a Queen Elsa with her?” She did, and it was this model, Megan Marie. This community and communications manager at Crystal Dynamics has been assembling a great portfolio since 2007 that includes great collections such as her interpretations of Batman villain Two-Face, Mario from Super Mario Bros., and as seen above, Gabrielle Belmont from the Castlevania video game series. Like Katie George, each of the albums in her gallery area of her web page have nice write ups about the character and behind-the-scenes images of the creation of the costumes. It’s recommended reading for all aspiring models out there.
2. Angela Burmudez
A native of Costa Rica, Angela Burmudez is often so good it’s better than a real studio could probably hope to make. Beginning her cosplaying in 2009 (dressed as Michael Jackson in his “Billie Jean” video, of all things) she’s gone on to win numerous awards and citations. Her video game-based cosplays are practically an embarrassment of riches. For example the armor she has made to play a female version of Commander Shepard from the popular Mass Effect games or Scarecrow from the Arkham game series are among the best. But no doubt her best to date is the image of her as a “Big Sister” character from Bioshock II in the above photo with Marisa Fernández. She somehow manages to make an extremely busy outfit look streamlined and functional. It’s especially impressive since she looks like she has a cappuccino machine on her back.
1. Lina Litvinova
Since 2002, this Russian model has been providing ace costumes for an extremely wide array of characters while performing equally good acting when showing them off. She’s perfectly willing to portray fairly obscure characters such as the Don Bluth version of Thumbelina. But the kinds of characters that seem to inspire her best work are Disney characters. The cream of that particular crop is an album of her as Captain Amelia from the cult classic Treasure Planet. She not only nails the character, but the sense of authority, arrogance, and stature.
Dustin Koski does not think he’ll ever make it as a female cosplayer, so he has a Youtube channel instead. Please like his videos and subscribe to them.