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Thoughts on the idea of Professional Cosplayers Are they real? Or is it just another way of saying "Model"

#1 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 04:20 PM

So a friend of mine today asked me, "What does one do to become a Professional Cosplayer?" She had been looking at some of my old New Types and one of the articles in there was by a young woman who did "Cosplay Professionally" for a living. I tried to explain to her that, to my knowlage, there isn't a "Job" for professional Cosplayers, it's sort of a title given to cosplayers who seem to specialize in custom made costumes and do modeling of them along with other gigs.

Yet this question still bugs me, is there really a Professional cosplayer profession? If not, why do people report on it as if it's a job? To me Cosplay is about creating your peices, and having fun with it, and a lot of the "Professional" cosplayers I think of are like the Face Characters, actors and actresses at Universal and Disney resorts. So what are your thoughts on this oh ACen Gathering community? Can one be a professional Cosplayer or is it just another title to be given to a specialized model?
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#2 User is offline   Kii 

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:08 PM

It seems to me that being a "professional cosplayer" only isn't really any option as a career. You'd probably just be a model who takes cosplay gigs when they are available.

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#3 User is offline   AkaRisu 

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:12 PM

To my knowledge, there isn't a job on a bit of paper somewhere to be hired as a cosplay model, but there are ways to be paid to attend an event in cosplay. The two ways I've seen this done is A) something like booth-babing (so, closer to the Face Character end of things, in that the model represents a group or company) and B) models for hire that otherwise do their own cosplay work (the article I read about this in mentions a specific person that is specifically hired to follow fans around and be that character for them. I will post a link to it or the closest thing I can find, if I can)

#4 User is offline   ranefea 

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:44 AM

It's not really a job to be sought after, as if it were say a surgeon, accountant or graphic designer. But there are cosplayers who have been picked up by a company to help market a game or games. It's very rare. And I'm not talking booth babes, either, because from my understanding, many booth babes are hired models, not cosplayers, for the most part, and may or may not even be into anime/manga/comic/games/etc.

Check out this article:
Eerily Accurate BioShock Infinite Cosplayer Gets Job Appearing on Actual BioShock Infinite Stuff

And I keep seeing articles like this coming out of Japan, too. Many of the cosplayers who are considered actual "professional cosplayers" tend to have been picked up for advertising and marketing purposes.

I think that the concept of a professional cosplayer is a misconception most of the time, though. The very word professional means that you're getting compensation for or making your livelihood from an activity. Many times when I see someone tagged as a professional cosplayer, they might be amazing at it but they're not making any money from it, it's just a hobby for them. The confusion comes, I think, from the accepted connotation of a "pro" being someone who is very highly skilled at a craft, even if it's a hobby, not the actual definition mentioned above of that of someone being paid to do something.

There is also the possibility that they're considered a professional cosplayer due to their actual profession tying in. Maybe the person is a costumer, seamstress or effects artist and applies that to their cosplay hobby.


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#5 User is offline   heekun 

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:45 AM

Maybe a better description is cosplayer and professional? The cosplayer part can involve the usuall - making/buying costumes, being knowledgable of the character/fandom, going to events/nerdy conventions. The professional part might be being commissioned to make a costume or prop, working as paid models for advertising or promotions while in cosplay.

A recent Anime Expo guest announcement was Alodia Gosiengfiao - I didnt know who this person was, but the press release says that she7s a cosplayer who walso has been hired as a spokesperson by a number of companies. She might an example of a pro cosplayer?
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#6 User is offline   cactusmomma 

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:56 AM

View Postheekun, on 02 May 2013 - 07:45 AM, said:

A recent Anime Expo guest announcement was Alodia Gosiengfiao - I didnt know who this person was, but the press release says that she7s a cosplayer who walso has been hired as a spokesperson by a number of companies. She might an example of a pro cosplayer?


....You serious? She's a costume model. Girl doesn't make anything she wears. She pays others to do it for her, is paid to show up for gigs.. don't get me started with the drama surrounding her, please. Bad call on AX's part.

#7 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:02 AM

That's like the girl that was supposed to come to C2E2. You had to pay her to take her picture. I was wondering what the heck that's about...Is this becoming a trend, because I'm pretty sure that girl above is kind of like what my friend was talking about. She seems to think that "Professional cosplayer" is someone who actually earns a living out of going to conventions and making people pay for their pictures, but I've never really heard of anyone, except a select few who are, as others have stated, in another profession as well, or are what are called Face characters that work for various theme parks.

Also does this whole "Pictures for pay" thing with some cosplayers cause trouble for the rest of the group?
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#8 User is offline   heekun 

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:08 PM

@cactusmomma - I'll have to read up more about this cosplayer, sounds like theres some controversy involved

@Dark Spellmaster - One situation I can imagine is paying/hiring for a specific shoot, ie using the photos for commercial/advertising purposes, this would of course require a model release.
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#9 User is offline   Krystal 

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 02:51 PM

In the career sense that we now associate the word "professional" with, when someone says they are a professional cosplayer, I think they are glorifying their hobby, that they may or may not make a few bucks on the side for. I don't know of a single cosplayer who can make a living solely by producing their costumes. If they get money for appearances or selling prints, that's more modeling. If they are making costumes for someone else, that's commission. The act of making yourself a costume and taking on the persona/air of that character is just not lucrative. In that sense though, many of the anime voice actors we know and love need a second job to support themselves. So even one of the more top-notch jobs we associate with the anime industry isn't enough to live on, but I think most people call them professionals.

The word "profession" was originally used to describe an act, not a noun. It stems from "to profess." People used to profess or vow that they openly admit to take on a craft and do it for the rest of their lives.So from the essence of the word, if people are saying they are a professional cosplayer they are openly declaring that cosplay is the craft that they choose to pursue for their life, and the one they wish to be associated with. By that definition, anyone can be a professional cosplayer. Money doesn't factor in. Heck, I could one day say I'm a professional cosplayer who practices law on the side. This is the sense I usually look at professions in. It's about what you dedicate your life to, so I don't mind who calls themselves a professional cosplayer.

That being said, represent your profession well. If you call yourself a professional cosplayer just for benefits, fame, or without putting any effort into it, you are lying to yourelf and others. Would you call a doctor with an 80% a fatality rate a good doctor? Nope, and you would say they misrepresent ALL doctors! So if you dedicate your life to being a cosplayer, call it your profession. But don't take that profession lightly!
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#10 User is offline   kuro_ketsurui 

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:43 PM

If you're hired to show up at a convention in your own costume, regardless of how you acquire it, you're a professional cosplayer. If you are regularly paid for professional photoshoots as a specific character, you're a professional cosplayer.

If you're paid to make costumes for others, but never to model, you're a professional costume designer. If you're provided an outfit and told to look pretty, you're a model. If you can make the most incredibly accurate costumes and act just like the source character, but never make a dime, you're not a professional.

Being a pro isn't about love or skill, it's about getting paid. If you are expected to produce a costume and portray a character for money, you're a professional cosplayer. The job title is about as meaningful as anything a self-employed person creates. What kind of job is "contact juggler", or "street musician", or "gamer"? Yet people get paid to do each of those, and a select few get paid REALLY well.

People that demand money when someone takes a photo of them in costume aren't professionals, either. They're greedy, opportunistic amateurs.

To recap:

Produce a costume + wear it + money = Pro Cosplayer
Produce a costume - wear it + money = Pro Costume Designer
Wear a costume - producing it + money = Pro Model
Produce a costume + wear it - money = Hobbyist
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#11 User is offline   YoungBirdcall 

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:27 PM

View Postkuro_ketsurui, on 08 May 2013 - 05:43 PM, said:

Being a pro isn't about love or skill, it's about getting paid.

To recap:

Produce a costume + wear it + money = Pro Cosplayer
Produce a costume - wear it + money = Pro Costume Designer
Wear a costume - producing it + money = Pro Model
Produce a costume + wear it - money = Hobbyist


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