The inspiration of this post came from this amazing blog post on Nerd Caliber titled “The Pursuit of Cosplay Fame“.
A lot of cosplayers were sharing this post on my Facebook newsfeed, and after reading this, I couldn’t help but to pen down my own opinion about this issue.
This post took me quite a while to write, I did some research, not entirely detailed, but I needed to see more into this issue to actually make a stand about it.
Cosplayer pages had always existed, no one knew when had it started, but even before the event of Facebook deleting cosplayer profiles, cosplayers like Yaya Han and Jessica Nigri already had pages for them to connect with their fans.
Let’s all agree on one thing, cosplaying is attention seeking.
Not in the bad way, but in a way you’re expressing yourself, it’s exactly like a dancer or singer who would perform in front of an audience, you’re sharing something with your audience, in this sense people who are looking at your cosplay.
So in a way, you can’t be surprised to see cosplayers becoming celebrities.
When you try to relate fame with anything, we should probably look at the tabloid news for some idea of ‘how do people get famous?’.
Some earns it by working hard and being awesome at what they do, some were simply luckier than most and born with it, some just got famous for all the wrong reasons…
However cosplaying is different from the showbiz, many of us started purely treating it as a hobby, without any thoughts about getting famous or whatsoever, we invest money in it and expect no monetary reward.
Then came the time when the media started giving cosplay more attention, the general public started knowing about this hobby, and then cosplay became a possible career; people started earning money out of it.
There was this particular long argument on facebook about Tasha from Spcats’ recent StarCraft cosplay.
Do give the link above a read if you’re interested.
Spcat is a very famous Korean cosplay group, consisting of only a few females, most of their cosplay is of very high quality.
I can’t remember since when, but after their fame reached a certain level, they started doing paid jobs in cosplay, and there was many criticism about this.
The main argument is, what makes a person a cosplayer, rather than just a model?
Spcat had often been criticised for being just a group of pretty faces, always having photoshoots in the same few sets they have, some inaccuracy of costume details, and at times, people would doubt whether did they make their own costumes or did they get sponsored or were the costumes made by someone else?
Let’s take a look at the more extreme cases of actual models who are paid for putting on costumes.
A model was hired by a gaming company to cosplay as Athena from Saint Seiya for the huge event ChinaJoy, however the costume they provided was really exposing and they forced the mode to take off her safety pants.
Of course as a result, due to her costume being overexposed, the organizers demanded for the company to let the model get out of the event area if not they’ll debar the company from the event in the future.
There are a few key points to take note, the model in the picture, is an actual model, and her purple hair was dyed, she was definitely paid to do this and that’s why she can’t say no to a lot of requests from the company that hired her.
Then there is another celebrity in Taiwan, Sunny Lin, who became famous after she cosplayed the character Boa Hancock from One Piece.
She was praised as an ‘Otaku Goddess’, and had been the endorser of numerous games.
Then there was another case of the exact opposite of what we’ve seen above.
The child actress, Xu Jiao, who was famous for acting as the little boy in the Stephen Chow movie CJ7.
She’s probably more famous than most of the people mentioned above, and you know exactly what happened.
Yep, she’s all grown up now and she started cosplaying.
The above picture is just one of the many cosplays that she had done, mostly collaborated with a famous cosplay group named 304.
Right after posting her cosplay pictures on Weibo(the China version of Twitter), she received a huge amount of negative feedback.
Most people just mentioned how the group 304 is only using her for publicity in the media, and how she’s using her fame to easily gain publicity for her cosplays, while other people who might be doing a better job doesn’t get the same amount of attention, and in some comments, mentioning how she’s exposing the cosplay community to the mainstream audience who don’t know anything about cosplay.
We’ve seen the two types of extreme cases in terms of cosplaying and fame, models who cosplay for money, and a famous person who started cosplaying.
Then let’s take a look at the inbetweens, those who became famous from cosplaying.
There’s Jessica Nigri, who was already pretty famous before becoming the official cosplayer of the game Lollipop Chainsaw.
Then there is Alodia Gosiengfiao, who became famous after competing in the AFA regional cosplay competition, currently she’s an actual celebrity in Philippines.
Despite being the representation of the cosplaying community, people still have doubts to whether Jessica Nigri and Alodia make their own costume, and worthy of their fame and status in the community.
However there is one person who is famous for her cosplays, yet no one ever questions about who made her costumes.
I’m talking about Yaya Han, I’ve only started following her after the local Singapore event ICDS invited her as a guest, and since then I’ve been following her page and twitter account.
Despite the fact that she gets negative feedbacks all the time, I actually really admire her and believe that she deserve and earned everything she’s achieved today.
People can criticise how she doesn’t look good, or how her boobs are unrealistic, but no one could say a word about how she’s not putting in enough effort.
She sews her own costume, styles her own wig, makes her own props, have a passion for all the characters she cosplays…
She’s the combination of both fame and cosplaying, she earns a living out of cosplay, yet doesn’t rely on others or becomes just a celebrity for people to worship.
Most of the times she would label the photos as ‘Modeled by me’, she sees herself as a model of the costume, giving modelling in cosplay a whole new definition.
Now that we have seen all sorts of cosplay fame, I suppose we can get to the actual discussion.
I know, that really took a long time.
What defines a cosplayer?
We can’t put in attributes like making our own costumes as a must, because in the community itself, we have many cosplayers, regardless of age and experience, who doesn’t make their own costumes, and would rely on online sources or tailors.
So then why are we criticising these cosplayers, who happen to get famous, about where their costumes came from?
Then there is another question, what separates a cosplayer, from a model?
This question is easier to answer, in my opinion, a cosplayer chooses what to cosplay, they know who they want to be, they have a passion for the character they’re portraying, they become someone else when they put on the costume, and they will feel happy when their love for this character is recognised by others.
A model doesn’t care about what character they’re doing, they just need to look good, that’s all.
Fame always comes at a price, and a word of advice for the cosplayers out there who wants to become famous.
1.Don’t attempt to become an actual celebrity through cosplay, it doesn’t work, it worked for Alodia, but it might not work for you. Very few people achieved mainstream fame through cosplaying, most of the famous cosplayers’ fame is restricted to just within the huge Otaku community globally.
2.If you can’t take criticism, might as well don’t even try to become famous. Because there will be criticism, there will be people calling you names and trying to make you seem less worthy than you are. It comes in a package, you can’t avoid it. If you have a very fragile heart that would break into pieces after hearing anything bad about yourself, then just don’t even try.
3.Don’t forget why you started. Don’t just cosplay because that character happens to be popular. Don’t forget that little joy you had when someone comes up to you to tell you how much they loved the character you’re portraying. Don’t let the magic of that die off.
In conclusion, there is no point wondering whether Spcat made their own costume, because they are gonna get famous no matter what, no matter how commercial they are, people will love them.
Let’s all admit it, they’re visually pleasing, they’re very beautiful ladies, and that itself will make them famous, regardless about their costumes or whatsoever.
The more important thing, lies within yourself.
If you don’t like the fact some cosplayers don’t make their own costumes, make your own costumes, invest your love in it, reap the reward by being proud of what you did.
If not, you’re just a giant hypocrite. 8D
This post actually went way out of point, my initial intend was to talk about all the cosplayer pages and how people rate each other based on the number of likes they have, but then the Spcat incident happened, and I can’t help but evaluate this issue.
Then the above happened, and now this post is about all the famous cosplayers I know of.
Actually I’m not 100% happy with the result of this post, I got stuck so many times I was literally crumbling into a ball out of frustration.
I might make another post soon about sexy cosplayers and why they don’t deserve the harassment they get, because that’s what’s been appearing on my Facebook newsfeed lately.
Also, school’s starting in one week’s time, so… updating will get REALLY slow again.
I’m sorry ;v;