An Interview with Cosplayer Jerry Polence

Though Jerry Polence (a cosplayer based in the Philippines) regards cosplaying mostly as a hobby, she has cosplayed competitively in the past and been invited to cosplay at a few overseas conventions. Given her experience, Jerry knows quite a few things about cosplaying and managing events successfully.

To see an example of how Jerry sets up for a day of cosplaying, check out this video.

How did you become a Crunchyroll ambassador? What does the position entail?

Crunchyroll's Ambassador Program is basically an affiliate program in between the ambassador and the company. I get company perks (like a free premium account) and a certain minimal monetary compensation for people who have signed up for a premium account through my affiliate link. Above anything else, it's leaning more on a mutual promotion between the company and certain notable ambassadors in the program.

What inspired you to enter the competitive cosplay arena?

I originally entered this hobby just out of interest, since my friends introduced me to it. I find it amazing that there is a hobby that will enable me to be a kick-ass character for a day 😀 Someone unlike myself is very cool ^_^;;;

What advice would you give to others who are interested in becoming competitive cosplayers?

Well, it's been a while since I competed, the cosplay at the League of Legends World Championship finals was done out of LOVE of the game, than anything else. ^_^;;; It's not a competition at all, that being cleared out, I did compete a long time ago. Now, if you are asking in a sense of "popularity
competition" I for one am not really going for being popular cosplay-wise, though if one should aim to be popular in this niche, I would advice that cosplay something really popular with a good following, so that they can build up a good fan base for themselves. ^_^

What is your approach to costume design, materials sourcing, and production?

SOURCE: I usually get my materials in the Philippines, during my stay there a portion of the year. Everything else is online or the usual Joann's and Michaels, online Ebay and Etsy online here in the USA.

DESIGN: I usually consider designing the costume in a way that I can pack and travel with it for inter-continental flights. I have to consider dimension and weight, so I try my best to make sure that the costume will be segmented in different pieces that fit my baggage restrictions. Since my costumes are self funded, I usually go about the best way to make it with what materials I can afford. For the Desperada Cassiopeia costume, the materials are PVC foam/foam used for making flip flops which are more dense than the craft foam found here in the USA, it's very cheap in the Philippines and VERY light meanwhile easily repairable, which makes it ideal for me to use in armor type costumes.

Do you typically cosplay solo or with a group?

Nowadays solo, but lately my hubby just started cosplaying, so I might be doing tandems with him in the future. ^_^

What are your top resources as a cosplayer?

In the Philippines, there is a place called Divisoria, which I get most of materials for tailoring from, then a shop called Estanislao, which is a footwear material supplier store.

What do you spend most of your time doing as a cosplayer? Do you primarily spend time chatting with fellow cosplayers, attending big cons and tournaments, attending smaller events, doing private or group photoshoots, creating costumes and props, or doing something else entirely?

Well, I do make most of my costumes, the big ones that are out of my skill level, I do ask my friends' help. Then I attend conventions, see friends there and do photo shoots. A part of this cosplaying is
also maintaining and watching my facebook page and website. Also, from time to time I encounter invites overseas to guest at conventions and interviews like this one.

We’re learning that many cosplayers are starting to ‘go pro,’ just like serious competitive gamers. Do you know of any cosplayers who also make and sell costumes, sell prints, have sponsors, or make paid appearances?

Well one very popular cosplayer friend of mine is Alodia Gosiengfiao, she's more involved in the model side of things, and her very big brand as a cosplayer makes her popular to be a spokes model certain electronic related companies, and she gets paid to guest at conventions abroad. Another good example is Yaya Han who ready made makes cosplay accessories and props, so it's her brand that primarily backs up the products she sells. Many cosplayers out there can live by just selling prints, however many do the same just to have additional funding for their costumes.