x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Australian teacher wins 'dress as anime character' contest

Nashua Abouelola moved from Australia to the UAE to compete in Dubai's 'cosplay' anime costume contest, and ended up this year's winner.

Japanese anime cartoon fans dressed as their favourite characters for Dubai's annual 'cosplay' contest: from left, Dianne Joy Benedicto, 19, Ayas Mashhour, 24, Nashua Abouelola, 22, and John Benedicto, 18.
Japanese anime cartoon fans dressed as their favourite characters for Dubai's annual 'cosplay' contest: from left, Dianne Joy Benedicto, 19, Ayas Mashhour, 24, Nashua Abouelola, 22, and John Benedicto, 18.

DUBAI // Nashua Abouelola moved from Australia to the UAE to compete in an anime costume contest. Her dedication was rewarded yesterday with a prize of Dh3,000.

The 22-year-old Sharjah schoolteacher beat about 40 competitors at Dubai's fourth annual "cosplay", or costume play, contest.

The event, part of a gaming exhibition that ends today at the World Trade Centre, is what convinced her to take a job in the UAE rather than any other country.

"I moved here because of this competition," she said.

Her costume, based on a Japanese cartoon character named Ruby Moon, included a magenta-dyed wig, foam wings and pointy, bejewelled slippers, which she also dyed.

She spent months assembling it, and muddled through one mishap after another: her dress stopped fitting after she lost seven kilos, the first version of her wings fell apart, and her glue gun broke, to name but a few of the accidents that occurred.

Now she can easily afford a new glue gun, plus plenty of other cosplay materials. Her winnings will fund more outfits, Ms Abouelola said. "My mum will probably kill me when she finds out, but it's OK, she's in another country."

Other competitors took painstaking efforts to perfect their outfits, too.

Sara Almoalla, a 20-year-old Emirati student, sewed a turquoise kimono with a gold embroidered sash, a matching hat and a blue wig.

Sierly Calderon, a 31-year-old buying assistant from the Philippines, cut foamboard into tiny triangles, spray-painted them silver and glued them into a sleek star. She spray-painted beads and attached them to a shawl, which she sewed from black taffeta.

"I didn't sleep last night," she said.

chuang@thenational.ae