Cosplayer Charess recently made headlines with her official Riot Games cosplay of VALORANT's latest agent NEON. But even before that, Riot contacted her to do a special cosplay of Jinx, one of the leading characters in the incredibly successful League of Legends show Arcane. In the end, Charess ended up making not one, but two separate Jinx cosplays, one from the game and one from Arcane.
We had the chance to sit down with Charess to discuss the challenges that went into creating two different versions of Jinx and shoot both in a single 14-hour day shoot!
All image credits for Charess and her team are linked at the end of this article, and published with Charess' permission.
How did this Jinx cosplay come about? Did you watch Arcane before putting it together?
Actually no, Arcane wasn’t released when I was contacted [by Riot Games]. It was supposed to be a project with Riot Games again. They told me they have a project for League of Legends and VALORANT but didn’t tell me the exact project.
For the Arcane cosplay, something happened during the talking stage, we had a miscommunication with the timeline, but I still decided to push it through. I had the costumes made already. It was one to two weeks of preparation and one week for the shoot.
When I watched Arcane, that was when I told myself we are going to do it, because I loved Arcane. I was a fan of League of Legends already. I am a Miss Fortune main, but thinking about switching to Jinx!
Was Jinx your favorite character in Arcane?
I love Vi more, and Caitlyn, I love their attitude. Jinx is okay, I mean... I am in between loving her and hating her, she caused a lot of bad things in the storyline. But I mean, it's part of the... hmm.
What did you like most about your Jinx costume?
Her props! I love her props so much. The guns and the fishbone, they are amazing! The Monkey was my idea, it was not part of the plan at first, but I told my friend, "You should make the monkey, it's a very important detail of Arcane."
And this crazy wig! How far down does this wig go?
It’s pretty long and heavy. It kept pulling back haha, it goes below my knee. But I loved the character design, it was the most challenging character so far.
The look is also very makeup-heavy, did you do the makeup on this one yourself?
I did the makeup, two versions actually. I initially thought that Riot wanted me to cosplay that for Wild Rift, I didn’t know it was for Arcane. So I had two costumes made.
The shoot took more than 14 hours because at first, we shot the original design of Jinx, the original League of Legends default skin. Then I made the Arcane version in the afternoon, so it took a while to do the two looks of makeup. I asked my friend Danielle to do the tattoos. It was originally going to be some temporary tattoos, but we didn't get them in time.
What were some of the major differences in costume and acting for these two versions of Jinx?
The Arcane and the default skins were very different. The default was much crazier, in regards to both performance and the makeup. With the Arcane one, we emphasized the sad and lonely side of Jinx, which is a different side of Jinx we see from the game. From the default one, we emphasized the crazy side of jinx.
The default, I used a lighter shade of foundation, a white foundation. The Eyeliner was more of a cateye, the eyebrows are higher. The lips are overlined at the side, to give her like a joker smile. The Arcane Jinx was more of a natural skin tone with freckles, black eye shadow, brown and black eye shadow, the eyebrows are stronger, and the lips are not overlined, it was just natural with a darker color.
Which did you like better?
The crazy one! It's prettier. The Arcane Jinx is more of a strong look.
Were there any big challenges that defined this 14-hour shoot?
It was a hard day. I needed to fly to Manila in the morning, and back to Cebu at night. And Jinx is very extreme. I wasn’t able to cosplay extreme characters before, I kind of did a little acting for the Jinx photoshoot. It was challenging. And I think it was my peak acting skills.
What inspires you to capture these characters in your acting as well as your costume?
It’s always the feels that I have when watching the series or playing the game. If I love the character, I always try to give justice to that character. Translating my emotion to the photographs and poses. It’s hard for me to cosplay a character I don’t like. I also study the characters so much before shooting them. First, I watch the character, then I get as many references as I can for the poses and the facial expressions, the makeup. I get inspiration from other cosplayers' work, then I talk to my team. I am so glad my team are my personal friends, so we can exchange ideas openly and freely, no one gets offended.
Do you find it easier to play a character that is less intense? Do you preference intensity?
I find it easier to cosplay someone like Viper, you don’t have to do as many facial expressions. Jinx is different, but I kind of loved doing her. I mean, that was the only character that made me feel “I am really a cosplayer.” Also, the makeup was challenging.
The lighting stands out for this shoot, were you using colored gels on the lights to get that look?
I think the neon lights made the shoot really cool. We also had a projector to do the Jinx word and the other lighting effects on the walls. Some were done in post, some were done live. The ones that overlap my face are projector lights!
What was the set for this shoot?
We shot in a mansion... well, it's an abandoned house. It’s really just a big house. One of the creative directors, Gunslinger Dirge, his family is the caretaker of the house and we've shot there like four times already. The Viper, Neon, and Jinx shoots all took place there. It has kind of become our studio since we can’t shoot anywhere because studios are closed because of the pandemic. So we have to improvise, I guess.
Are you planning to make more Arcane characters in the future?
Yeah! I get a lot of requests to do Vi since I also have red hair currently. But I don’t think I can justify doing Vi, because of her muscles. I don’t have those muscles! But I could do Caitlyn! Maybe I might. But I have my friend who might do Vi, so we could do Vi and Jinx. I told her we should do a casual Vi and Jinx shoot with the costume.
Support the creators that made these shoots possible!
All the photos shared in this article are with the consent of Charess. Please go follow her and her team, to support the team of artists and creators that make shoots like this possible!
Cosplayer | Charess Kurogane
Cinematographer | Nicko Wong - WongBros (TVPS)
Photographers | Macvan Dihayco / Andy Go
Creative Editor | Archie Abong - DigitalArch
Creative Director | Gunslinger Dirge
Tattoo Artist/ Behind the Scenes | Danielle Deutsch
Artists: SpicyKabaw / @Aldrich Matthew Serrano
Propsmaker | Shocross Neko
Costume Maker | Ding Parado Cantos - Solibeau, The Seamstress
Wig Stylist | Ran Chii - Ranchii
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.