As more and more conventions and shows pop up all over the world, the phenomenon of professional cosplay grows at the same pace. Being able to turn the costuming passion into a profession that pays your bills sounds like a dream to the majority of cosplayers out there, but has become very real for some individuals within the worldwide community. While others have turned towards the possibility of creating commissioned costumes and make a living of it, there also are those that gained so much popularity that they even get invited as paid guests to events all over the world, to give attendees there the possibility of meeting their idols.
The balance between a job, family and friends, and another rather unusual job
Luckily we were able to exchange a few words with some of the professional cosplayers that were present at Vienna Comic Con, and gained some insight on how cosplay and their private life combine. Hired by Ubisoft, Rick and Dominique Boer, impersonating Jacob and Evie Frye from Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, are parents of two children and both split their life between family, work, and obviously cosplay. Not only is Rick the mastermind behind the costumes and works on commissions under his company’s name RBF-Productions-NL, but cosplay is not where his professional life stops.
“I work as a teacher four days a week, and normally my day off would be on Thursday. Luckily my colleagues were kind enough to let me switch days, so I could arrive in time for this weekend. It does take some managing here and there, but that goes for my entire life.”
Handling a job and children next to professional cosplay seems a lot to manage alone so both Dominique and him emphasized:
“We need the people around us, our friends and our parents. Sometimes it’s just a lot of joint effort with people bringing us to the airport, getting the kids off school, taking care of them. Often it’s a lot of organization going on there.”
If it weren’t for their understanding parents and friends backing them up, they wouldn’t be able to make all these travels and the experiences that this peculiar profession comes along with.
Stand straight, smile, and don’t forget you are still on the job
Naturally a big part of these experiences is very positive: Going to places that you would otherwise never be able to visit, and meeting people that share your love and passion, or that you yourself have admired from afar. On the other hand, you will sometimes have to go through less pleasant times, like rude and overly touchy-feely people or misunderstandings with organizers. VAMPTRESS LeeAnna Vamp and Leon Chiro, also guests of Vienna Comic Con, pointed out that these things do happen, but it is of major importance to not let it affect the job and stay professional. LeeAnna’s words…
“Whether you are happy or not, there are a lot of people wanting to meet you and exchange some words with you. You have to show them, that you are just as excited about the last person to come and see you, as you are about the first one. It is in your hands to make sure that they return home with good memories,”
…go along with Leon’s opinion on a professional attitude.
“Even if you are struggling with some organizational problems or other issues pressing your mind, you shouldn’t let that be seen and know that you are still on the job. Remaining professional is something that isn’t always easy, but still should be a given.”
Another matter that both of them pressed is that you should never forget the passion for what you are doing and not just take it for granted. Kindness and humbleness are probably two of the most important virtues anyone who professionally interacts with so many people should have in store.
At the end of the day it’s not as glamorous as it seems
While what we get to see of the ones who made it and made the dream of cosplay as a profession come real seems all fun and games, we tend to forget it is not. They probably spend more time at airports and hotel rooms than at home and both friends and family might feel a bit neglected by times. It sure may be lovely to have all these people come for you and want to take a piece of you with them, but it can be more than hard to stand straight and remember to offer each and every one a smile and kind words, when you have to cope with unpleasant occurrences or exhaustion at the same time. Concluding this little insight on what it means to live as a professional cosplayer and how balancing it with the other parts of life isn’t always exactly easy, the respect that we face these idol-like people with or without their work may just has grown a bit more.