When it comes to cosplay, most fans need not look further than the über talented Jessica Nigri. Nigri has been working as a professional model and cosplayer since she debuted her particular set of skills at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC). Pictures of her as Pikachu quickly went viral and a star was born. Since that time, Nigri has expanded her efforts and has made some incredibly intricate costumes. While many are skimpy in nature, many are so well-made, they could fool even the most talented costume artists and designers in Hollywood.
Many of Nigri’s costumes pay homage to the greatest superheroes of all time, but the majority of her work has focused on the many characters of video games. Some of her best work has been from characters in the popular Overwatch and World of Warcraft games, but she has never shied away from turning the likes of Mario. For this list, we wanted to look into the costumes she has created that, while they are absolutely smokin’, also had a great deal of skill and imagination involved in their creation. This is a cosplayer who takes her craft very seriously and her fans couldn’t be happier!
All photos used in this list are copyright their respective owners (models and photographers) and are not the property of CBR or its affiliates.
15. PIKACHU – THE POKEMON COMPANY
Pikachu made his first comic book appearance in Pocket Monsters #1, written and illustrated by Kosaku Anakubo in 1996, but he is best known for his appearance in the Pokémon television series and series of games. Pikachu, alongside the other original 149 Pokémon were created by Ken Sugimori for the original game. Under normal conditions, Pikachu is an adorable electric mouse with yellow fur and uses lightning and electric bolts as their primary means of attack. . He rarely shows up to conventions as an alluring young woman.
Nigri’s appearance at the 2009 SDCC wearing what became known as the “Sexy Pikachu” quickly went viral. When it comes to her skills in costume and prop creation, this was the beginning and she only grew from here. Nigri was always a fan of the genre, but this was her first time out in costume and her popularity exploded from there.
14. HARLEY QUINN – DC COMICS
Harley Quinn was first created for the Batman: The Animated Series, but she quickly became a fan favorite. Since then, she has appeared in more than 1,000 comics, numerous television shows, video games and, most recently, the Suicide Squad film, where she was portrayed by Margot Robbie. Originally, she appeared in a harlequin costume, but as the character evolved, so has her look. Nigri has embodied two in the above image.
The center image was her costume of choice for SDCC 2014 while the ones on the outside depict Harley Quinn from the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game franchise. She sported this look shortly before the game was released in 2012. Her center take on the character is a new look for Quinn, but still pays homage to the way the character has evolved over the years.
13. NATHAN DRAKE – UNCHARTED
Nathan Drake is the main character from the Uncharted series of games exclusive to the Sony PlayStation. The game has been immensely popular for Sony, and Drake is often chosen for cosplay by male cosplayers. Normally, Drake is a man, which makes him not an immediate choice for a woman to cosplay. However, as you will see throughout this list, Nigri has no qualms about gender bending to make for some amazing characters unique to her style.
Nigri’s Nathan (Natalie) Drake takes what’s best about the character and focuses on similar clothes while still emphasizing those traits that make Nigri such an alluring presence at cons. She still manages to pull off a rugged version of the character and even manages to bloody up her knee. She donned the look of Nathan Drake in May of 2013, shortly following the release of Uncharted 3 in 2011.
12. MAGNETO – MARVEL COMICS
Magneto first appeared in Marvel Comics with the publication of The X-Men #1, written by Stan Lee and penciled by Jack Kirby in 1963. Since his debut, he has gone from villain to hero to anti-hero and back to villain so many times, it’s difficult to keep track. Despite his origins, his goals have always been pure… from his point of view. He is often a target of cosplayers, but few women have taken on the task.
As you can see from this list, we favored three shots of each cosplay, but for Magneto, this single shot was too amazing to cut. Nigri is adorned in what could only be Magneto’s costume, albeit for a more feminine physique. While she isn’t wearing the traditional helmet, she is showing off her powers by lifting some metal chairs we can only assume she shot at the cameraman immediately after this photo was taken.
11. ROADHOG – OVERWATCH
Roadhog is a character in the popular video game Overwatch who uses a chain hook to get close to his enemies. He has appeared in comics thanks to Dark Horse, which published Overwatch #3, written by Robert Brooks with pencils by Javier Lugo and Gray Shuko, as a tie-in for the game. As we have used the pronoun “he” a couple of times, you can guess that this is another character most ladies wouldn’t bother with. Fortunately, we are talking about Jessica Nigri.
Nigri chose to portray Roadhog in July of 2016, only two months following the game’s release. As you can see, she took her time getting the look just right and even had professional artist Ashley Ann Swaby hook her up with the belly ink and belt buckle. She brought Roadhog in all his/her glory to SDCC 2016, where the cosplay was a huge hit. Hard to imagine why.
10. SUPERGIRL – DC COMICS
Supergirl is the cousin of Superman who made her way separately to Earth from Krypton. She first appeared in Action Comics #252, written by Otto Binder and penciled by Al Plastino in 1959. The character has long been a focus of cosplayers, as many a female fan has taken on the task of donning the spandex and cape. Fortunately, Jessica Nigri was also ready to heed the call.
Nigri’s take on Supergirl pays respect to the new character design created for DC’s New 52, with special emphasis placed on the cover of Supergirl #1 illustrated by Mahmud A. Asrar. Nigri has worn several costumes related to Supergirl, but this take on The New 52 is our favorite. Fans can be harsh when costume changes are made to their favorite characters and they seem split on this one, but the new cape has a regal look that just works.
9. MAD MOXXI – BORDERLANDS
Mad Moxxi is an NPC from the Borderlands series of video games who could best be described as both lovely and violent. She can be found in some of the various establishments she owns and operates across Pandora or hosting Colosseum matches in The Underdome. Because of her… dimensions, she is often portrayed by some of the more buxom cosplayers, so it should come as no surprise that Nigri has covered versions of Moxxi on more than one occasion.
We definitely prefer the look she went with that we have pictured here. Nigri donned the top hat and little else to portray Moxxi at New York ComicCon in 2012 and WonderCon in 2013. She really showed off her skills with this cosplay by creating the costume from scratch to include an amazing prop gun that could have come right out of Borderlands and off the screen.
8. EDWARD KENWAY – ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG
Edward Kenway was the player/protagonist in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. As the name indicates, Kenway was a male character, but as we already know, that means nothing to the talents of Nigri. Kenway was a Welsh-born privateer/pirate who was portrayed in the standard white hood of other Assassin’s Creed characters, though he was adorned with some naval and pirate regalia.
Nigri created a female version of the character for GamesCon 2013 for the Ubisoft party. Kenway was preciously written about in Assassin’s Creed Forsaken, but the fourth title in the game series would be his first major portrayal, which she was excited to promote. This wasn’t simply an excuse for Nigri to become a gorgeous pirate; the entirety of her costume is a perfect rendition of the character. Granted, there was less focus on Kenway’s chest in the game, but we can forgive her for that alteration.
7. REINHARDT – OVERWATCH
Reinhardt is one of the many heroes in the popular Overwatch video game. He is a knight who fights for justice and is devoted to defending the innocent… he’s also 61 years old, completely adorned in armor and carried a gigantic hammer. Those three facts don’t tend to lead the character towards many female cosplayers, but, well, you get where we are going with this.
Nigri was able to create this elaborate costume through the use of her many talents as well as a 3D printer, which is becoming a must for professional cosplayers these days. Her take on the character honors the majority of the armor, but leaves her midriff and face exposed — probably so we could tell it was her. Interestingly, this is one of the very few cosplays that doesn’t feature much skin, allowing us instead to focus on her skills as a legit designer.
6. JULIET STARLING – LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW
Juliet Starling is the player/protagonist of the video game Lollipop Chainsaw. She is an 18-year-old student at San Romero High School who enjoys breaking the fourth wall, the occasional lollipop and destroying hordes of zombies in her spare time with an epic chainsaw. The game was released in 2012 and attracted the particular attention of Nigri.
Nigri entered and won IGN’s contest to portray the character in 2012. She was hired by Warner Bros. Games and appeared in costume as Juliet at 2012 PAX East. Her costume was a bit too risque for the audience, who complained to convention management. She was asked to change, which she did into the the costume pictured, but was again considered to be revealing too much and was then asked to leave the convention. This garnered publicity for the game, as well as Nigri, so it couldn’t have been too hard on either.
5. CASUAL TRACER – OVERWATCH
Tracer is the last Overwatch cosplay featured on this list, we promise. Tracer is another hero in the game who has the ability to blink through space and time thanks to her time-jumping skills. She is often seen portrayed at conventions in various aspects of her costume, but rarely as skimpily-clad as Nigri has chosen for this entry into our list.
She calls this version of the character Casual Tracer for reasons that should be immediately apparent. She created it for a photoshoot in March of 2017. Unlike most of her characters, she can’t take credit for the wig or the goggles, which… let’s be honest, are the main features of this costume. That said, if you can find a more SMOKIN’ version of the character anywhere online, please, be our guest!
4. SAVAGE LAND ROGUE – MARVEL COMICS
Rogue has been drawn throughout the pages of Marvel Comics since she debuted in The Avengers Annual #10, written by Chris Claremont with pencils by Al Milgrom and Michael Golden in 1981. Initially, the character was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but quickly crossed over to become a veteran member of the X-Men and the Avengers Unity Squad.
Nigri’s version of the character is slightly more revealing than we often see her portrayed. She has certainly grasped the perfect hair showing the iconic white alongside the green and yellow costume but has torn it apart in some choice locations. This Rogue has been stranded in the Savage Land, which pays homage to the time Claremont and Jim Lee placed her there in Uncanny X-Men #274. Nigri created this version of Rogue in early-2016 for a photo shoot in Honolulu, Oahu.
3. DEATHWING – WORLD OF WARCRAFT
In World of Warcraft, Deathwing the Destroyer was one of the Dragon Aspects formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder. He is a boss-level character who is portrayed in both dragonkin and humanoid form from World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (the third expansion to the game) and appears to be the inspiration for the cosplay depicted here.
As you can see from the pictures, Nigri went full-force into developing a proper representation of a female version of Neltharion/Deathwing. She commissioned the design from artist Zach Fisher and then went to work creating a 3D representation of the character. The costume took her nearly three weeks to create for BlizzCon 2015. She was helping to promote the premiere of Warcraft, which unfortunately didn’t do as well at the theaters as her costume did at the Con.
2. BLACK CAT & BOUDOIR BLACK CAT
Felicia Hardy, otherwise known as Black Cat began her career in comics as a cat burglar when she premiered in The Amazing Spider-Man #194, written by Marv Wolfman with pencils by Keith Pollard. She became a love-interest of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and joined the forces of good to become a crime-fighter.
When you get down to creating a boudoir version of a comic book character like Black Cat, it may not come as a surprise that very little needs to go into it. Regardless, the wig, makeup and eye mask perfectly tell the viewer who Nigri is cosplaying as even if she may have done this more for her boyfriend than for her fans. Actually, she suited up as an excuse to promote/honor the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming in early 2017, but after seeing these shots, it’s hard to recall what that movie was even about.
1. SINDRAGOSA – WORLD OF WARCRAFT
In The World of Warcraft, Sindragosa is a frost wyrm raised by the Lich King. Not to be confused with a dragon, she was the primary consort of Malygos, the former Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight. She and the other Wyrms and Dragons were betrayed by Neltharion, also portrayed by Nigri on this list.
The detail that went into Nigri’s humanoid version of Sindragosa is astounding. She wore Sindragosa to Katsucon 2017 and it was, of course, an epic hit. Most of the work done on this costume was done entirely by Nigri herself, which she details in a Cosplay Creation video she posted on her YouTube channel. Compared to her other creations on this list, we felt this was the most impressive costume she has yet to create and wear, which only leads us to believe her future costumes will continue to increase in complexity.
Which of Jessica Nigri’s most smokin’ cosplays did you like best? Let us know in the comments!
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