Some time after STGCC, a non-Cosplaying/Animanga friend and I somehow started talking about Kipi. She had read Kipi's interview online and was surprised Kipi was a Law major in college.
The conversation then led to us discussing about her looks ( the online article my friend read didn't have any photos).
Friend: Is she pretty?
Friend: Are her boobs big?
Kaika: LOL! Erm, No =X
Friend: LOL then she should go for a breast enhancement ! She's freakin rich now isn't she??!
Friend: *exaggerated expression* Do you know how much they pay her to come here??!
Kaika: Actually… I’m guessing not a lot
Friend: These people they get paid A LOT alright xD ?!
To be honest, knowing the community, I doubt Kipi was paid a lot for her appearance. My guess is that her trip and accommodation were the only paycheck.
At the same time though, I also understand some celebrities survive solely on their fame and their hefty paycheck for a mere appearance. So I found myself with conflicting opinions. To put it short, it was hard to convince my friend otherwise because I wasn’t so sure myself.
And so started the topic for discussion today. Are there really so called “Professional cosplayers”?
I don’t know about you but I raised my eyebrows when the media started labelling famous Cosplayers with that term a few years ago. Something –just- doesn’t sit right. Might be the whole fandom versus commercialism thing that strikes me as queer.
Dictionary.com defines a 'Professional' as below:
1.following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.
2.of, pertaining to, or connected with a profession: professional studies.
3.appropriate to a profession: professional objectivity.
4.engaged in one of the learned professions: A lawyer is a professional person.
5.following as a business an occupation ordinarily engaged in as a pastime: a professional golfer.
As described by the term, a professional cosplayer should be someone whose livelihood is wholly sustained by Cosplay. Or at least, it should be a medium for them to gain substantial (financial/material) benefits from. Makes sense?
I've had this discussion with Decadence a few years back. And we both agree that by strict definition, it's pretty impossible to have a 'Professional' cosplayer.
By strict definition, a professional Cosplayer would have to be someone who is paid to Cosplay. Somewhat like a professional actor who is paid to well, act.
Yes, you might argue that Yayahan and Alodia's doing it. But if you allow me to comment objectively, I'd say both of them are earning their bread not directly from cosplay itself but from their merchandise and presence.
And this is the part that gets grey.
Because even though both above mentioned Cosplayers don't get their money from doing the hobby itself, it is definitely their jumping board, trademark and selling point. So that makes it hard to separate both entities.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to shoot the above mentioned cosplayers down, I admire them and think they are all awesome in different ways. I'm just analysing objectively.
So begs the question, is the term 'Professional Cosplayers' valid? Share with me your opinion on this!
Ps: All Images used copyrighted to their respective owners. I claim no rights.