Written by Bianca Grace Contreras
I’ve seen the some of the best cosplayers appear as guests in our local cosplay conventions. What started as a hobby suddenly became a lifestyle, a source of income and a way of life. In all honesty, I’m still stuck in the “Noob” phase of cosplay, and with that is my constant admiration for people who make their outfits from head to toe and down to the little details that take some meticulous effort and patience. No joke, I absolutely have no time to make my own stuff so I have them made (Boo, I know. Store bought and made to orders).
These types of cosplayers have taken their love for the fantasy world to a whole new level and they’re commonly called “Professional Cosplayers” at my end of the world. Something I will never achieve because I am a lazy bum, so don’t be like me if you want to reach for the stars.
Professional Cosplayers are simply put, professional. It can’t be any more direct than that. They take their work to a level only God knows where and present the most beautiful of outfits which is why cosplay has become not only a source of their main income but all their time, effort and funds go to it. I wanted to be a cosplay idol once upon a time but then again, I realized it was too hard a thing to achieve with what many things I wanted to do in life. Professional cosplayers are dedicated to their cause of being on the top of their game and the costumes these people bring out to the world just proves how much they have invested into cosplay.
A notable figure who I deeply admire is Yaya Han, with more than a decade of experience in the cosplay community, her costumes are top-notch and a personal favorite of mine would be her Le Blanc wizard from the online game Granado Espada. The detailing, fit and chosen fabric for her outfit is off the charts and it surely took some time to make. But for a pro? Probably a week tops. Yaya Han’s prowess has gained her over 2 million followers on Facebook, a large fanbase on Instagram and twitter and really, with her great body and skill, there’s no doubt why she’s one of the top cosplayers in the world.
Hailing from the world’s anime capital is Enako of Japan, now this chick is serious business. At the tender age of 22 years old, this pretty lady is raking in thousands of dollars per appearance. And that’s just actually showing up to an event. Simply appearing at Japan’s notable Comiket (Comic Market) for 2 days gains Enako an astounding $98,000 and a live appearance for fans gains her roughly $4,000 in a day. No surprise there as Enako is a top-notch talent who is often sought after by large companies who sponsor her outfits and pay for her very presence. Aside from that, Enako’s sole source of income is…. Cosplay. Is that even a surprise? Her success in the cosplay world proves that she no longer needs any other job at all and what is cosplay for me has become coswork for Enako.
A milestone every cosplayer wishes to achieve at some point, being professional is no easy task and I realized that at least 3 years into cosplay. The time, effort and resource put into maintaining an image and being updated in everything that is cosplay is time consuming is so many aspects that I honestly cannot fathom. As a student, being a cosplay professional did pass by my mind at some point and until today, I still do think about it. But for now, I wish to enjoy what I have and the experiences cosplay has given and will be giving me.
To all aspiring cosplayers, dreamers and amazing people out there in the world of cosplay, keep it up! Maybe one day we’ll see each other on the stage.