Gateway Hotel & Conference Center

Ames, IA 50010

Tel: 515-663-6963

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© 2019 by Celestia Cosplay & Events, Gatehouse Media, Midwest eSports

Featured Guests

Our Featured Guests & Cosplayers for 2019! 

From Cosplay guests and gaming live streamers to industry professionals across the board, here is a preview of the wonderful talent coming our way to Next Level Expo 2019! Make sure to also check out our Guest:

Known best for her roles in Tekken, Shenmue, and Virtua Figher, this Tokyo-raised actress has a full wealth of experience in both Japanese and American programming.


She has been featured in full-length films, television shows, and on the radio since she was 19 years old, and she is looking forward to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Besides challenging her to Tekken on-stage, Lisle is your go-to guide if you want to learn more about Japan’s rich history, ancient folklore and current customs.

Dan Coglan, A.K.A. "Samurai Dan" and his wife, Jillian are the acknowledged masters of, MARTIAL mayhem. This dynamic duo travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing their unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike. In addition to their high energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor sharp blades and barbs fly) the couple teaches historical and hysterical panels on the Way of the Warrior. Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan and his lethal love Jillian are guaranteed to provide con attendees fun and fulfillment

OhMySophii is an internationally published creator and professional costume designer out of Wichita, KS. Cosplaying full time, she creates 1-4 new costumes each month and enjoys making original designs of the characters she adores.

Visit Sophii at her booth in the main gaming room, or attend her panels "Creating Cosplay Content" and "Cosplay Horror Stories."

Black Cat Needle Crafts has made a splash in her cosplay career, demonstrating her talents and taking home trophies at both Anime Iowa and Planet Funk Con. She most recently judged craftsmanship at Anime Iowa. We're proud to feature her as both a Cosplay Judge and a Guest Panelist for the Cosplay Q&A Panel!

Based in Ankeny, Johari has been a part of the costuming scene for many years and loves to challenge herself in pursuing her craft. She has portrayed a variety of characters over the years since 2005 while steadily competing since 2012. While she has awards under her belt, she recognizes the learning never stops and encourages cosplayers there is always room to improve and try new things. She looks forward to meeting you, having fun, and seeing your amazing contest entries.

Lizz of "SynergyCraft" started cosplaying in 2006 and began competing in 2015; in that time, she's won multiple major awards across the Midwest. Lizz prides herself on her accuracy and attention to detail in cosplay work, and she's looking forward to judging the Cosplay Masquerade this year! Come to the Cosplay Q&A Panel to speak with our costume guests and have an open discussion on costuming, and check out her pages below to keep up with her event schedules, costume plans, and informative Cosplay tutorials.

Celestia has been cosplaying and actively involved at conventions since 2006. She has been a staff member, vendor, guest, and gaming tournament director at dozens of events over the years, and actively volunteers as a costumed performer for charities and organizations across the Midwest. She is the original founder of Next Level Expo (and the promotional team Next Level Cosplay & Event Services), and has volunteered over 300 hours to help bring us NLX 2019!


Prop-Maker, Artist, Science Teacher. Kizzait has been cosplaying since 2012 and is one of the founding members of Next Level Cosplay. She has helped with promotions for Next Level Expo at a handful of conventions, and will be the lead organizer for NLX's League of Legends Photoshoot on the main stage this year!


Graphic Design student and the creative mind behind all of your favorite Hoshi-crossovers. Younger sister to Celestia and the third member of Next Level Cosplay & Event Services, Renna Ray has been an active member in the Cosplay Community since she was thirteen!

Check out Renna's Instagram page and DeviantArt to see more adorable artwork!