Interview with Jessie Pridemore from Cosplay Melee

For AniMelee, episode 6 of Cosplay Melee, Jessie Pridemore made a Transforming Magical Girl based on Madoka – and we got to ask her some questions about the episode and her costumes!

So, question one: What made you decide to take the leap and compete in Cosplay Melee? So many other cosplay ‘documentaries’ and that Reality Show That Must Not Be Named miss the heart and soul of cosplay in order to chase something flashy or their own preconceived notions: what made Cosplay Melee interesting to you?

They reached out to me early on in the process and it sounded really interesting. Just talking to the people involved and the casting directors, it was clear that they wanted something really different and positive. More about construction. Those of us in the first season, we took a huge risk by jumping on. It really paid off. It makes me happy and proud to be able to be a part of something the community has been wanting.

What was the interview process like?

It took a while. We submitted our portfolios, then filmed a Skype interview with questions, then had a two-hour demo where we made something and finally we met with the producers.

Your staff was adorable and so very Madoka-inspired. I was really impressed with how you hid the motor – have your worked with electronics and moving parts before? Were there any hiccups the episode didn’t show?

Thank you! I had no made anything that moved before. It was a challenge. With my prop, they showed all of my hiccups, haha. The motor was actually the easy part compared to everything else.

Quickchange is one of the current cosplay ‘fads’ I’m seeing, but you really accomplished it especially the *quick* part I think some cosplayers miss. Did you get to test the costume and change at all before hand, or was this a one shot sink or swim attempt when you made your way down the runway?

I knew I had to stand out from the other cosplayers. I knew their work was going to be amazing and solid, so I had to set myself apart. I only got to rehearse it twice before the judges saw me walk and it was really rocky. I didn’t think I was going to pull it off (hehe).

Speaking of your runway walk: WOW were you ever intense! I thought you were incredibly badass and looked like you could drive a heel through anyone who crossed you. Do you have advice for cosplayers who have a hard time faking confidence for stage or photos?

The funny thing is, I didn’t think I looked that serious! I was just concentrating really hard. Fake it til you make it. My motto. I’m not the most confident person in the world, but at some point you have to realize that in the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters and therefore you should just have fun with it and go for it.

You mentioned to me that this was your first time using Worbla! Why did you decide to give it a try while in the shop, instead of another material?

I’ve used regular Worbla before, this was my first time using black Worbla. I knew it was smoother and required less prep time. Plus the black base works better for metallics. It was strictly a time thing but I ended up liking the material a lot. It’s just a lot less adhesive than normal Worbla.

Now that you have used Worbla, do you have any projects you might use it on next? And if not, what *is* on your to-do list?

I have a lotttt of projects I want to use Worbla on. My Rei pluguit, Fran from FFXII and I really want to work on some water splash concepts with clear Worbla.

Photo by Joseph Chi Lin

Did competing on Cosplay Melee inspire you in any way? Tackling that dream costume, stepping out of your comfort zone, or just working with new materials?

Stepping out of my comfort zone is something I need to do a lot more of. I try to learn something new with everything I make. You don’t get better if you don’t challenge yourself.

The workshop really was out of a cosplayer’s dream. Was there anything you wished you could take home with you when the show was done?

EVERYTHING. Especially the power tools.

One thing I was surprised was how much SyFy didn’t advertise cosplayer’s handles, nor facebook pages. Did they ever explain the reasoning behind that, or was it just something left in the air? If new fans to cosplay want to find the contestants, they might have a harder time of it, I thought. Luckily everyone involved in the show has been so good at signal boosting one another – I’d never have found everyone to interview otherwise!

I’m not really sure what their reasoning was, unfortunately. It as a bit disappointing.

Would you compete again if they one day had an ‘all stars’ round the way Face Off does?

Hell yeah!

Photo by MinhP

Lastly: what advice would you give a cosplayer who wants to compete in season 2 of Cosplay Melee?

Hard to give advice since the format might change, but based on my experience: Just got for it. You never know what they are looking for. Be you, most importantly. Don’t worry about the time constraints. You’d be surprised how much you can get done when you don’t have a cell phone. The judges didn’t inspect our seams so… maybe spend a little less time making your construction perfect…

Most importantly, have fun! Be supportive.


You can find more of Jessie’s work on her Facebook, Jessie Pridemore!