Jessica Nigri – Before She Was Famous

Before They Were Famous

Before Jessica Nigri would be known as one of the most recognizable cosplayers in the world.

Before Jessica she would amass over 3 million followers on Facebook.

Before Jessica would have men and women thinking about the likes of Pikachu and Deadpool in a new light.

Jessica Nigri is one of the worlds most beautiful and popular Cosplayers but her entry into the industry kind of happened by accident. She was given gifts to San Diego Comic Con back in 2009 and decided it would be fun to dress up as a sexy Pikachu. All of a sudden images and videos of Jessica went viral and her passion for comics, gaming and costumes was sparked, she has been wowing the world ever since.

Jessica Nigri was born in Reno, Nevada on August 5, 1989. Even though later in life she would travel from convention to convention, she was accustomed to traveling a lot as a child.

When she was just a toddler she moved to New Zealand with her parents Cory and Jackie. Jessica has often recalled that it was her father who got her into gaming. She would watch him play Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid.

Jessica’s journey into nerd culture didn’t end there. Her dad would also play Dungeons and Dragons with her and would let her chalk out the dungeons for the game on the kitchen floor. 

While her mom wasn’t big into gaming culture like Jessica’s father was, Jacqueline Nigri was cast as an extra in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Around the early 2000s, Jessica and her family relocated to Phoenix Arizona when she was 12. During her teen years Jessica really didn’t know much about Cosplay. It wasn’t until her outing at San Diego Comic Con did she really begin to grasp what it meant.

In 2009, she was working at Trader Joe’s when a friend, Luke Malone, gave her tickets to SDCC as a gift. After being told that people dress up at the event, she made a few costumes for the convention. She created her Sexy Pikachu cosplay out of a bright yellow mini skirt, a halter top, and a set of Pikachu ears, and a tail for good measure. She also wore a Rikku costume from Final Fantasy X.

As Jessica described it, her first convention experience was nothing short of crazy. She was noticed for her cosplay by multiple people during the course of the event. One con-goer snapped a few pictures of her in her Pikachu cosplay and uploaded it online. Those images went viral and by the time Jessica got back home from SDCC she had thousands of friend requests on her Facebook page so she created a Fan page after that and funneled all her fans onto there.

Despite some of the early criticisms and hate she got for her costumes, she decided to stick with cosplay because she was having fun. In 2011, she partnered with Microsoft and Gamestop in order to promote Gears of War 3 as Anya Stroud. However, her video game spokesmodel career did not end there. In 2012, she won a contest hosted by IGN and became the official spokesperson for Lollipop Chainsaw. If you look at the character design in lollipop chainsaw and compare it to Jessica’s portrayal of Juliet Starling, you can see she was made for the role.

As her fame in the cosplay community grew, Jessica was one of the first cosplayers to open up a print shop, in 2010 where she would sell images of herself in Cosplay.

In addition to working on cosplay, Jessica has also been fortunate enough to voice characters on some of her favourite animes. She was the titular character for Super Sonico and she has voiced characters on RWBY just to name a few.

Her current boyfriend Ryan Brandt is also a cosplayer. When speaking about him Nigri says that he is also a talented cosplayer and he understands the hectic schedules and stress that come with the “con life.” Besides their mutual love of cosplay one of the first things they bonded over was their shared love for Pokemon.

Jessica claimed that their personalities just clicked and they see eye-to-eye on most things. You can see them together in a large amount of Jessica’s videos on her personal YouTube Page.

Jessica says that she is no stranger to getting criticism for what she does. She has been called everything you can imagine. Her credibility as a geek has also fallen into question. People have accused her of infiltrating the geek scene and using her body to pander to male geeks in order to promote herself. They have also claimed that by oversexualizing her costumes she is ruining cosplay for everyone.

As some of Jessica’s fellow cosplay friends have stated, she is not ruining cosplay. In fact, she is bringing more people into cosplay and helping them discover it for the first time.

While some costumes, but not all, she has made show off her female form quite a bit, there is absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about that! At the end of the day in Jessica’s own words:

“Cosplay is for fun…the word play is in it…if you are not having fun you aren’t doing it right.”

That being said, there is no indication of when Jessica plans to hang up her cosplay life

But she said that once she does she would like to pursue a career that is more “behind the scenes” in marketing and advertising.

And the rest…well you know the rest because this is Before they were famous!


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1 Comment

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