Cosplayer from Poland

Please introduce yourself – what’s your cosplay name, where are you from, how long have you been cosplaying?

Hi, my name is Jakub but most people know me as Zel! I’m from Poland, and I’m cosplaying with no significant breaks since 2006.

How did you start cosplaying? What was your first costume?

I started by accident. Me and my friends were supposed to attend convention that got cancelled so we chose a different one. Happened to be a manga/anime convention with the very first in polish fandom history Great Cosplay Gala. So, to not miss out on a historical event we each chose a cosplay for ourselves. Since I had a long hair back then and I liked Bleach I chose to portray Kuchiki Byakuya. And the rest is history 😉

How do you choose who you are going to Cosplay?

In my case there are two ways about it. Either I choose the character I like, or it’s a character needed within a group – usually some of the taller ones then 😉

How many Cosplay competitions/conventions have you been to? What was your favorite and why?

Oh my gosh, there’s so many I absolutely lost count. Not in a bragging way, it’s just part of my life – there’s always another convention and another costume! A favourite? Tough as well since it’s more of a list for me. But I need to mention Negicon, my very first one – I met there my wife and a lot of friends I’m in contact to this day.
Do you have your favorite costume? If yes – what is it and why?

Hard to choose… but I have especially fond memories of any Dragon Ball costume I’ve made since this show was a big part of my childhood. And I’m very happy I’ve managed to make Guts from Berserk, because that’s another very important manga for me.

Do you have your favorite prop? If yes – what is it and why?

Dragon Slayer – Guts’s sword! It’s ridiculously huge weapon, almost 2 meters tall – looks like a slab of iron on a stick! Absolutely dreadful in transportation but walking around with it, or swinging it on stage – amazing!

What part of this hobby/lifestyle do you like the most? Why?

Performing! Always my favourite part of cosplay. There’s something special in life crowd reacting to you on stage. Also, the community itself! That feeling that you can be friends with almost anyone in an instant since you share the same bond of being super weird people who throw tons of time and resources to dress up as a fictional characters on weekends is pretty cool.

Do you have any funny stories or accidents related to cosplay?

Haha, yes! Lots of them to be honest! Starting with getting photography tips from a security guard during a photoshoot, any encounter with authorities regarding prop weapons or blood, and finishing on waving friendly to a group of nuns that looked at us weirdly for carrying a 180 cm tall cross wrapped in sheets (just check Wolfwood from Trigun)

What is your dream photoshoot as a cosplayer?

I always wanted to do a very dynamic, fight-like scenario. Also, gore/horror themed, with heavy shadows and overall creepy feel to them.

Why Cosplay is important for you?

For me cosplay, is sort of a safety valve. I always wanted to do creative, artistic stuff but never pursued this path of career. Maybe, because cosplay pretty much fills up those needs in my case. I can portray different characters, take cool photos, we even dedicated our time to create a full-blown anime musical productions over the last couple of years. So, in short – it’s just making me happy!

What would you consider to be the biggest achievement in you Cosplay career?

The fact you’re asking me those questions! Really, every time I get invited by a convention or event it’s really humbling and ant the same time awesome feeling. Knowing that I could be an asset for someone because people recognize and appreciate my work is my biggest achievement.

What would you advise or whish for people who want to start cosplaying, but for unknown reasons are afraid or just don’t know where to start?
No matter if it‘s cosplay or anything else – just go for it and have fun! Don‘t compare, don‘t wish you have a magical progess machine, don‘t ponder your social media reach. Just do stuff you enjoy, and remmeber that repetition is everything. The more you do, the more you learn. The more you learn, the closer to become to mastering the craft. You have all the tools neccesary alredy, trust me.