Have you ever thought about how much money professional cosplayers make? Making money by living a dream and doing something you love doing is a great deal. This has been the case for many cosplay enthusiasts. But, how much do they really make? Is it enough to live a financially stable life or is cosplay just a way to enjoy and not really a lucrative means of earning? Continue reading to find out more.
What Is A Professional Cosplayer?
A professional cosplayer is someone doing the craft on a more professional level. Have you ever been to big comic conventions? If so, then you might have seen pro cosplayers portraying different characters onstage or even doing catwalks with other cosplayers. As they are regarded pros in the field, fans would do anything to see their favorite character portrayed by their equally favorite cosplayers. This includes purchasing tickets, some with a hefty price tag, just to see their idols at a convention.
Did you know that a cosplayer might have a degree in photography or even fashion design? However, you won’t see much information revealed by them as privacy is highly regarded in the world of costume play.
If you’re following a cosplayer’s social media platforms, you’d probably see one or two lines of info about them. They also make sure that fans won’t feel forced to pay tickets just to see them so most cosplayers would downgrade their level of education and say they are doing it for the sake of enjoying the hobby.
How Do Professional Cosplayers Start Cosplaying?
Did you know that your favorite cosplayer might have started cosplaying with very few resources? This would include making their own costumes or repurposing old ones to use in an event. Meanwhile, other cosplayers who get paid would still use whatever they earn to buy more wigs, props, and craft materials for their next DIY projects. In other words, being a pro cosplayer would mean starting from scratch and working your way to getting to more obvious directions of success in the cosplay world.
Other cosplayers would take to social media platforms to sell their cosplay photos. Of course, you won’t become an instant celebrity just with one click. But, you will have a chance if you can get a following through hard work, skills, and dedication. If you’re lucky to be spotted by a cosplay photographer, you can make a great portfolio that can help build your name in the industry.
Building Cosplay Social Media Platforms
Another way to become a pro cosplayer is by making your social media presence widely known. As you know, social media has a massive reach not only to where you are but all over the globe. That is why most cosplayers would build their Instagram account, YouTube channel, as well as grow their Facebook fans.
Do you know Jessica Nigri? Her cosplay commissions reach a hefty $125,000 annually and this has been the main sources of her earnings. Jessica Nigri has a Facebook account that has a total of 4.5 million fans and her YouTube channel has more than a million subscribers. She is also among the most popular professional cosplayers in the world. Her sexy Pikachu costume play made her prominent in the field sometime in 2009. This shows that having a social media platform showing relevant content or your own website can really help get the cash rolling.
Meanwhile, another ace player in the field of cosplay is Alodia Gosiengfiao. This Filipina cosplayer proved that having a social media account can really get you influencing people as her Instagram account alone has more than a million followers. Thanks to her huge clout and her skills in portraying video game and anime characters, Alodia has gained prominence in the cosplay world.
5 Notable Professional Cosplayers
Are you looking to become a professional in the world of cosplay, too? If so, check out the following notable professionals in the game and see if their earnings and cosplay commissions can inspire you to strive harder to become a pro!
Did you know that Lindsay Elyse is a full-time cosplayer? She is super popular in that she is able to make a high six-figure income and has stated how she started doing cosplay as a hobby and eventually becoming a full-time job. Lindsay’s full-time gig is a dream that most of us can only wish for. However, it is notable that although $122,000 per year sounds pretty sweet, Lindsay spends 60 hours every week when she’s working on her own costumes or when she’s crafting costume accessories.
Cosplay isn’t limited to females alone. This world welcomes male cosplayers with open arms where they can showcase their skills in just how many avenues outside of simply a costume during a Halloween party. Tom DePetrillo is a notable male cosplayer who made a big impact in the industry by cosplaying giant costumes.
He would often choose the costumes that other cosplayers would shy away from because of their sizes. One of the many characters he is famous for cosplaying is Bumblebee. He also did Zord from Power Rangers and Overwatch’s Reinhardt. Would you believe he can get the good stuff going at $216,000 annually? But then again, his costumes also cost much from $60,000 and above.
Yaya Han is an American-Asian cosplayer whose incredible enthusiasm has paved the way for her to become so popular! She is also very much active in her social media accounts and attends a lot of comic cons. Almost everyone in the industry knows her name. Did you know that she is also among the main characters of the reality TV show Heroes of the Cosplay? This has also made more fans eager to attend comic conventions to catch her performing live.
According to data, Ya Han does make money from her cosplay career at about $102,000 annually. However, figures are sure to change as she has started her own cosplay fabrics for other cosplayers to make their own outfits. That means this will enable her to make money even more which will add up to her overall net worth.
Do you know any other male cosplayers? The name Carlos Blanchard will definitely come into the picture. This is because he is among the best male cosplayers in the world of cosplay and has played a great role in this geek subculture. He rose to fandom with his Medieval Batman suit and has continued to wow his fans and other cosplayers with his costumes.
His annual earnings from his creative passions earn him about $108,000. He also makes cash from modeling at photography shoots. Aside from being a professional cosplayer, Blanchard also owns Rage Custome Creations. His company earns cosplay commissions and sales from selling and making costumes for other cosplayers.
Our popular cosplayers list wouldn’t be complete without a big name coming from the Asian market, particularly Japan. Enako is among the big names in Japan and the whole world. Her guest appearances gained her between $2,900 to 3,900 in just a few hours of attending a con. She doesn’t even have to spend weeks to earn $100,000. In an interview with Nakai No Mado, Enako shared how much she has earned in a 2-day event in Tokyo. This makes Enako not just like other Japanese beautiful girls who dress up in light hair and some cute outfit. She definitely does make money from what she loves to do the most!
Why Are Brands Paying Cosplayers?
Have you ever wondered why brands pay cosplayers that much? It is really undeniable that beautiful girls attract a crowd of people to check out what’s going on in an event. What more if their presence involves wearing costumes that can draw immediate attention?
Take for example a San Francisco-based convention sometime in 2015. During this time, DeepSilver’s booth hired multiple cosplayers to interact with attendees. They look like some friends dress up parties where many fans and spectators would come up and take selfies with them. This isn’t just some selfie with a cosplayer because once attendees post these photos online and hashtag a product or an event, it sends out a trend that can be checked by other social media users worldwide. In return, brands can get people to like their pages, follow their accounts, or even subscribe to e-mail newsletters especially when popular cosplayers promote them.
Aside from driving merchandise sales, cosplayers are mostly fond of video games as well. This is no wonder since video gaming has been hugely associated with the cosplay industry. That is why you can see famous cosplayers endorsing video-related platforms or even see them guesting in various YouTube videos from gaming niches. Brands are willing to pay the price to push their merchandise sales up. This is why the willingness to pay cosplayers, even with huge sums, has also been seen as a lucrative part of cosplaying.
On the other hand, YouTube channels and their owners or operators have also found cosplay to be a very interesting topic. This makes most cosplayers a popular choice for interviews which in return brings about a good YouTube ad revenue. In other words, it is not only brands that are willing to pay for cosplayers to promote them. Nowadays, social media platforms are also eager to take part in the cosplay base resulting in interviewing cosplayers and paying their talent fees.
How To Become A Cosplay Photographer
Did you know that the world of cosplay is so broad that even cosplay photographers are a part of it? Of course, they don’t go around all dressed up to take great photos during an anime convention. However, they are always appropriately dressed in all that good stuff and flashy cameras to take your favorite cosplayers’ photos during an anime expo.
So, how do you become a photographer at a comic con? You may think of taking the easy route of setting up cosplay crowd-funding contributions and getting cash from it. Some cosplayers would even point you to set up Patreon or cosplay commissions sites. However, you cannot make money continuously out of this as a threshold of cash is set and you will have to have a purpose why you are asking for crowdfunding. Needless to say, you may or may not get donations depending on how well you word your description.
On the other hand, you can make money as a photographer for cosplayers who are looking to build their portfolio. For instance, a budding cosplayer can pay you for those shoots. You can also earn from joining video game conventions or basically anywhere that’s in need of a photographer. This is also a good chance for you to make yourself visible and your profession is known to a lot of people. Moreover, you can also check out smaller local events or cosplay meetups that might be needing your services.
FAQs About How Much A Cosplayer Makes
How Much Does A Cosplay Career Make?
Learn from Don McCaskill who has been doing cosplay photography for years. According to him, some of the cosplayers he has worked with can make money on a day rate of $75 to 300. However, cosplayers on the top tier can take home from around $50,000 to 100,000! Don’t take it too deeply because these figures only apply to about eight people who are known as the top cosplayers in the world. You can see them promoting your favourite video game earning them hefty paychecks which is probably a good addition to their net worth.
Is Being A Cosplayer A Job?
It all depends on which perspective you’re looking from. Anything that you earn from can be considered as a source of income but not all of them can be considered as a job. Some CP sell pictures on their social media platforms along with their merch. But, this isn’t really considered a regular job.
However, when the going gets pretty good, a cosplayer can bag contracts that allow them to represent a brand, a product, or someone else. As they are getting paid for doing something on a professional level, then cosplaying can be regarded as a job. The only downside to this is that there is no minimum rate of payscale as this will be highly dependent on how good or famous a cosplayer is.
Can Cosplay Be A Dangerous Source of Income?
Generally, cosplaying is a safe outlet of passion. It is a good way to meet and share interests with people who enjoy the same things as you do. It is also a good way to portray a character from your favorite super hero movie. Aside from having to do what you love, cosplay can also be a great source of income. However, some fans can take things too far and I mean as far as stalking their cosplay idols. Some fans can be so enticed in knowing cosplayers in depth including their personal life information that can ring a sense of danger. This is another reason why most of the cosplayers you watch do not post any personal info about themselves.
Can Professional Cosplayers Use Own Costumes?
Yes. Did you know that most pro cosplayers design their own outfits? Some of them earn design degrees enabling them to use their own-made costumes for a comic con. This can be a great asset to use when crafting accessories or sewing DIY outfits. Even when you’ve become a pro in the field of cosplay, as long as you are skillful, imaginative, and creative, you can always make your costume to portray a character as it is not required to wear outfits with a minimum price tag to it.
What’s The Future Of Cosplay Income?
As most cons have been canceled or postponed due to the current pandemic, some have resumed via social platforms. You can still watch your favorite cosplayer through virtual shows. This proves that the future of cosplay is still very rich, promising, and lucrative.
Although these CPs are only doing their jobs online, they still receive incomes according to the pay they’ve set. This also shows that the cosplay industry can cross borders even if it means crossing the digital world going to our own reality.
Do you believe that nothing lasts forever? You got to have this in mind when you’re looking into boosting your cosplay career. Striking while the iron is hot is always a great deal but you also have to save up whatever you earn just in case cosplaying does not work for you.
On the other hand, you can also level up your game after building a strong foothold in the industry. This will include setting up a different venture still related to cosplay. For example, you can set up a company selling costumes and merch or you can continue endorsing brands. Selling photos will never go out of style so you will always have some cash rolling in as long as you also continue posing for cosplay photos.
Aside from keeping the cash rolling, you also have to think about how to maintain your privacy. People will always be interested in mystery so keeping your identity mysterious can be a good thing. Also, you have to remember that online platforms have a lot of bullies. You can never please everyone so you might as well brush off those hate comments and do what you love doing while making money out of it!