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

My name is Jakub, but most people know me as Zel. Zel from Zelcoshorse – since this is my social media handle. I’m from Poland and I’ve been cosplaying actively since 2006.

How did your cosplay journey begin? What was your first costume?

My very first cosplay was Kuchiki Byakuya from Bleach and I started cosplaying pretty much by chance! The convention I wanted to go got cancelled so with friends we chose another con that had this big cosplay gala in its programme so we thought why not, and made some costumes. And since I really liked it and met people that are in my life to this day I decided to stick around cosplay and do more stuff.

How many cosplay competitions/conventions have you been to?

How many? Oh gosh, I don’t keep track, but I have to say it’s well over a 100 now.

Which cosplay costume took the longest to make? Why?

I think I’ve spent the most time making cosplay of “Lorveth” from “Witcher 2” – there was a ton of embroidering and hand making a chainmail that took ungodly amounts of working hours.  

Which cosplay costume have you worn the most? Why?

I’d say “Gojo Satoru” from “Jujutsu Kaisen” since I have a couple versions of this cosplay and “Bakugo Katsuki” from “BNHA” – due to the lots of publicity and events we made around “BNHA” The Musical.

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

Being on stage and performing is my favourite part! I love feeding off the live crowd energy and it helps me flex my creative muscles.

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

I do have sort of a running joke regarding me being in cosplay in public. I can go weeks without seeing any of my neighbours – but let me just put on a costume, wig and makeup before the photoshoot or an event and pretty much every time someone will magically appear on the stairs in our apartment building.

What inspires you to create?

There’s ton of things that inspire me, like music, tv shows or movies but I think the biggest inspiration is watching other live performances – musicals, pro wrestling, theatre.

Why cosplay is important to you?

It’s a great opportunity to connect with people in a way I really like. It’s my creative outlet and I simply enjoy it.

What are the three main things that cosplay has taught you?

Being comfortable with public speaking and performing. That people that are passionate about something are the best people. And it really helped a lot with my dwindling self esteem. 

If you had to choose one character to cosplay for the rest of your life, who would it be?

Only one!? I need to go strategic about it and say “Zoro” from “One Piece” – since it’s such a long series and there’s plenty of versions to pick and choose. ;> 

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

Right now, I would say tenure, consistency and perseverance.

If you could go back in time to the beginning of your cosplay career, what advice would you give to yourself?

Don’t be too harsh on yourself, focus on your own path and pace and good things will come. 

What advice would you give to the people who want to start cosplaying, but are afraid or just don’t know where to start?

Just go for it! You have nothing to lose, and if you don’t like it nobody will force you to continue. But I’m pretty sure that the cosplay community will welcome you with open arms. Just give us, and yourself a chance!  

Last but not least, are you looking forward to Comic Con Baltics 2023? 

I’m super excited about Comic Con Baltics 2023! There’s always tons of cool stuff in and around the halls, people are lovely and SO MANY cosplayers! Can’t wait to see you all again!