In the realm of cosplay, Yaya Han is a superstar. Han has been making and modeling her own costumes for almost two decades, and she's become one of the go-to cosplay judges on the convention circuit. Han was also featured on SYFY's Heroes of Cosplay and a guest judge multiple times on King of the Nerds. And at this year's C2E2, Han held court as she hosted a panel about everything a cosplayer can do to prepare themselves for a costume competition.
As related by Han, she entered the world of cosplay when she was a teenager and grew up in that world. When she started, competition was one of the only ways for cosplayers to really show off their craft at conventions. Now, cosplayers have the option of skipping competition altogether. However, Han said the goal of this panel was to demystify cosplay contests and encourage new players to enter the arena.
According to Han, there are essentially four types of cosplay competitions: a walk-on show, which is essentially like a fashion show; a craftsmanship show, which downplays presentation; skit shows, which may favor comedy and performance; and international contests. It's not unusual for some conventions to blend these contests together, but it's important for first-time competitors to know what they're getting into, to better prepare and tailor their approach.
There's a lot to learn from Han's hour-long panel, and she also took the opportunity to answer questions directly from the crowd to further their cosplay education... and yours!