With the Australian leg of the Cosplay Central Crown Championships being held at Pax 2024 we decided to have a chat with Aussie Cosplay Royalty – Kirilee Cosplay.

  1. Where does your passion for cosplay derive from? Was there a particular moment or experience that gave you that lightbulb moment?

My passion comes from a few different points – firstly, I have always been a theatrical person. Performing has always been my joy. But I also love crafting, especially sewing, so cosplay was such a natural cohesion of those two passions together.

Then, early on when I started cosplay, I found cosplay competitions. I am a naturally very competitive person and I enjoy working towards a deadline as it helps me focus my attention. Needless to say, after I did my first cosplay competition, I was HOOKED!

  1. Cosplay is a medium for different reasons – a sense of community, a launchpad for industry, improved mental health, etc. – but what does Cosplay and the Cosplay community mean to you?

The cosplay community is a group of people from all over the world who are fun, nerdy, crazy and passionate… I have been truly blessed and honoured to have met some of the most amazing people because of this cosplay community that we have. I am luckier still to call some of these people my dearest friends.

  1. This might be a tough question but what has been your favourite cosplay and why?

Tough question indeed because each cosplay is special to me in its own way. My favourite cosplay in terms of the most fun I had to make and then also wear would have to be my Red Riding Hood which was designed by the amazing Sunset Dragon. (@_sunsetdragon_) I don’t know how else to explain it but it is just me. The colours, the ruffles, the textures, the design… I love it. Then on top of that, she is such fun to wear plus I have a very special memory of performing in her at Anime Los Angeles and winning Best in Show.

  1.  Going the other way around, have there been any nightmare cosplay experiences when something just hasn’t come together?

I have quite a few unfinished cosplays that I started but just ran out of steam to finish. Not to mention the MANY cosplays I bought fabrics but then never even started.

  1. Touching on the Cosplay Central Crown Championships, what opportunities does it offer to entrants?

The obvious is the prize – the opportunity to represent Australia at C2E2 (and let me tell you, the Americans do conventions and cosplay bigger and grander than one can imagine!). But it is so much more than that. For me, the greatest lessons I have learnt when it comes to cosplay are being backstage, talking to the other contestants – swapping stories, getting to know each other, and getting inspired by each other’s cosplays… backstage, in my opinion, is where it is at and can be the greatest learning space. Not to mention, that you can also get feedback from experienced and well-respected judges to find out how you might have improved on the cosplay.

  1. Following your win last year, you recently represented Australia on the international stage at C2E2. Can you talk me through the overall experience and how you felt during the whole process?

C2E2 was the most amazing experience and the Reedpop staff were so lovely and supportive. The other contestants were fabulous and very supportive of each other. We were all rooting for each other and we were genuinely happy for the winners. But there was also something else which was incredible, the overall support from the American audience. I had the opportunity to be involved with two panels and do a meet and greet on the Friday – where I had people turn up for the entire hour to meet me – it was a little surreal. What’s more, the artist who design Toph, Sunset Dragon again (I love her artworks, what can I say?), she travelled to Chicago so we could meet and she made a matching Aang cosplay. I was so overwhelmed with the kindness she showed me, as well as the kindness the audience in general showed me.

  1. You’ll now be on the other side for this year’s Cosplay Central Crown Championships as a judge. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for or especially excited about?

I honestly can’t wait to see all the amazing cosplays. It is always fun to look over cosplays and see how they were made. I enjoy asking about techniques and choices that people make. I will be looking for the surprise factor – what have we not seen yet. I love innovation, so I can’t wait to see how people interpret those marks.

  1. And finally, any words of wisdom or advice for this year’s entrants?

Be proud of what you present to the judges. Do not waste the small amount of time you have with us discussing what went wrong, and how you hate this part of the cosplay etc. Tell us what you did, why you did it and have confidence in what you’ve done. We are there to share in your passion. Don’t worry, if we see something we are unsure of, we will ask the questions.