Lynney (duo): Hiya! I’m Jennifer, but I go by Lynney (they/them). I’m 29, and I’ve been cosplaying since 2008. By day, I’m a technical editor for a geotechnical engineer, and by night I’m a die-hard cosplayer! I started competing in 2013, bringing my love of performing and cosplay together. I’ve never had the honor of representing my country before, but I’m so excited to meet everyone and make new friends in Spain with ICL.
Rose (duo): Hello! I’m Rose, but my name is Danika (they/them). I’m 27 years old, and I’ve been cosplaying for almost 10 years. I’m currently working as a restaurant host. I’ve never represented the USA in a global competition, but Lynney and I have attempted qualifiers for other competitions before. I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other teams and participating in ICL; I’ve been practicing my Spanish every night to prepare!
CERKL (solo): Hello There! I am CERKL (pronounced ‘circle’) Creations, and my real name is Christine. I have been in the cosplay world since 2010, but have only been competing since 2021. This is the first time I am representing the USA in an international competition. I work in the automotive industry in a research and development lab on electric vehicle battery electrochemistry. Beyond building my cosplays, I also love underwater photography and voice acting!
How did you discover cosplay and what made you start in this hobby? How long ago?
Lynney: I discovered cosplay after my friends went to a convention together and brought back stories of cosplay and pictures of what they had experienced, that was in 2008. We all started to cosplay together and a couple of years later, I attended my first convention in 2010 in a Hatsune Miku cosplay I made myself. Several years later, I took a costuming class in college and that’s where I learned the basics that I later interpreted for sewing my own cosplay.
Rose: I first found cosplay in 2014 when I went to SakuraCon (Seattle’s big anime convention) as a chaperone to my friend. I saw all the cosplayers there and thought it was so cool, I had to try it too! The next year, I wore 5 cosplays over the 3 days of the convention and it was all downhill from there! I pushed myself to focus on foamwork and thermoplastics and started building my own props and armor.
CERKL: I learned that cosplay was a thing back in college, about 12 years ago, where my friend told me about the various Star Wars costuming groups that exist, and showed me her Clone Trooper armor. I dabbled in some closet cosplay, and building commissions for other people, and only really started seriously wearing my own costumes when I started running races at Disney World.
Why did you choose that project for the ICL national selection? Is this your first time joining an international cosplay competition?
Lynney & Rose: Our decision to compete was a little bit spontaneous so we decided to pull out our Kagamine Append cosplays as we had made them just prior to Covid and we had never had a chance to compete with them. We were really proud of the work we did on them and the Kagamines are a pair we cosplay frequently. We’d competed in international preliminaries before, but we’d never won before, so we were really excited to win the honor in Vocaloid cosplays.
CERKL: I chose Darth Revan as my project because Revan is my all time favorite character across all media. I also wanted to see what could happen when I had more than a few weeks to work on the costume, and make it to the best of my ability. This will be my first time joining an international cosplay competition.
What does cosplay mean for you? And what is your favorite part of the hobby?
Lynney: Cosplay is a chance to escape from reality. Whether it’s losing myself in the process of making the costume or in the costume on-stage and with friends. My favorite part is when I can just geek out endlessly in cosplay either with new friends or the friends I already have about some obscure character or detail in the costume.
Rose: Cosplay is my media for connecting with my friends and making new friends. I also love the chance to push myself to learn new things and share my love of different sources. If I had to pick a favorite part, it would really just be hanging out with my closest friends in cosplay making memories together.
CERKL: For me, cosplay is an opportunity to represent my favorite characters, especially the ones that I love or see myself in. But, my favorite part of cosplay is the opportunity to learn crazy new skills, and push the boundaries of what I think is possible for me to do.
How did the pandemic affect your motivation and project for the selections?
Lynney & Rose: The pandemic didn’t really impact our motivation on the project we built for the selection. We had first built them in 2019 so when we decided to compete with them, we just had to remake a few pieces and sand/repaint the Worbla pieces. In a lot of ways, it was a refreshing plunge back into competition because we didn’t have to crunch or hold ourselves to unrealistic deadlines to try and get things together at the last second. We had a chance to really enjoy preparing for the selections.
CERKL: The pandemic had no effect on my motivation for anything ICL related, but did give me more time to start working and learning bigger cosplay projects.
Do you think cosplay is changing since the pandemic? Why and how?
Lynney & Rose: Cosplay has become more mainstream and accessible since the pandemic. The rise of short-form content on Tiktok and Instagram allowed people to interact with the cosplay community more easily from the safety of their own home. Nowadays, people can choose if they want to go to in-person events and conventions or if they just want to record videos and take pictures for the internet.
CERKL: I think that many people had some extra time on their hands during the pandemic, and got started in the hobby. It has become more mainstream, and allows for more people to enjoy and show what they’ve learned.
What do you expect from your visit to Spain? Is this your first time visiting the country?
Lynney: This is my first time visiting Spain, and I’m hoping to dabble in as much of Spanish cuisine and culture as I can with my very limited time. I’m so excited to see what Spain has to offer and see what it’s like there! More than that, I’m excited to meet all the other teams and hopefully make some new international friends.
Rose: This is also my first time visiting Spain! I can’t wait to see as much of the country as possible: trying food, seeing museums, and visiting the beach. I also look forward to the chance to meet European cosplayers, and spend time together at the convention as well as backstage.
CERKL: This will be my first time visiting Spain, and I am excited to see the city, and eat as much delicious food as I can!
Have you decided your project for the finals in Madrid? Can you give us a clue?
Lynney and Rose: We have! Our hint is: Fairytales! We love making fairytale costumes!
CERKL: I have decided to keep the same costume as I did for the ICL preliminary selection, however, I have updated about 80% of it, as well as added a few things that I didn’t get to previously.
Describe the cosplay community in your country using five words.
Lynney and Rose: Super Passionate, Driven, and Devoted.
CERKL: helpful, friendly, encouraging, awe-inspiring, cool
Link to your Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter (add other social media if relevant):
Lynney and Rose: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalHeartCosplay
CERKL: Instagram: @cerkl.creations
Linney, Rose and CERKL were selected at Youmacon.