Should Cosplayers be paid?

So recently, this certain status update by Jaroukasama from Philippines kind of triggered a passionate discussion on Facebook.


I'm here to share my opinions and also to give objective reasons why I feel Cosplayers should be paid if they are invited or recruited to 'work' for an organisation/club/ any form of Media.

The 'work' discussed here can be defined as menial tasks such as giving out flyers , being a Party Entertainment or  appearing on any form of Media for interviews or as background decorations.
In case you haven't sensed my drift. I am for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Commercialism, I’m just against exploitation. I believe labour should be paid regardless of who the individual is. Unless of course, if it is for a charitable cause.

My points below.

1) Making costumes is expensive

Costume making in Singapore is expensive.

While it's not hard to see how those elaborate costume with yards of cloth can cost a lot. A lot of people will justify not paying the cosplayers by assuming that since the costume is already made, it doesn't make any difference to them. No extra cost is induced thus the cosplayers have no right to be paid.

Following this theory, does it mean if you own a car and paid up all the installments, you should just lend it to someone (you don't personally know) for free ? Would you?

Cosplayers paid for the costumes with either cold hard cash or through their manual labour. To deprive someone else the rewards of their hard work is unreasonable. Especially if you are earning through them.

2) Cleaning costume is expensive/troublesome

It's easy to understand that costumes don't come easy but few understand that these special costumes require maintenance too.


Some costumes require dry cleaning while others need to be hand washed. Regardless of the way it will be cleaned, we can all agree that every wear will contribute to the “withering” lifespan of a costume.

And if the work requires entertaining a crowd or walking near slippery mud. There is a fair chance some nasty strangers will help spoil it.

While some can argue that the diminishing of a costume is inevitable, oxygen and dust alone can help break it down. But please bear in mind that cosplayers wear their costumes to have fun and fulfill their own desires. Why should they risk their costumes to promote you?
Food for thought?

3) Wearing a costume is exhausting & time consuming

While I agree, not all costume is uncomfortable. But I'm sure most seasoned Cosplayers will agree with me that no cosplay is ever really comfortable.

Kira shot this omake shot of us which really reflect our personality. Zeph = enthusiastic, Me = always tired xD

Even if it's not the bulky armour or heavy sword, it's the skimpy bust line. Even if it's not the 4 inch killer heels, it's the winter boots in tropical climate. Even if it's not the heavy hair piece, it's the skull constricting wig net. Even if it's not the 1059837551 spikey accessories, it's the dropping ribbon on your thigh.

I don't know about you, but it takes me an average of 2 – 3 hours to get everything on. And that few hours is always a panicky and stressful period for me.

“Srsly, fu*k ruffles. Not only are they difficult to make, they are a pain to iron too”

Each of us is given 24 hours per day and the recommended sleeping hour is 7 hours. 3 divided by 17 (24 - 7) hours in a day is more than 17% of your entire day. Below is an estimation of the time a cosplayer would need to dedicate.

  • 0.5 hour – Packing, prepping and ironing costume
  • 1 hour - transport time to and fro
  • 2.5 hours - prep time
  • 2 hours - work time

A whooping total of 6 hours! Effectively , that is half a work day and 35% of waking time. And after the cosplay, more time wasted on cleaning the costumes.Why should anyone go through the hassle of dressing up to fulfil the desire of an organisation they don't personally know ? Would you exchange 6 hours of your time for someone you don't know ?

4) Time is money

Firstly, time is precious. People always tend to undermine the importance of something they cannot see. But really, if there is one thing you should cherish in life, then that is time.

Time is an appreciating asset that grows more and more important as you realise you have lesser and lesser of it. The cruel fact is, everyone was born to die. When the ending is the same for everyone, the only difference comes in the way you live it.

And time, unfortunately is something a lot of people assume cosplayers have a lot of. And henceforth, cheap.

Many people assume all cosplayers are teeny students. Which is not entirely wrong because the majority of the Cosplayers Demographics are student. But as the hobby progresses and mature, many of the teenagers have now become young adults with a job. Even if they really are students, their time is better spent revising their textbooks.

I have mentioned many times on different accounts that maintaining this blog, this youtube channel and my own cosplays has been very challenging. Writing this entry alone has taken me well beyond a few days because I mostly only have time to blog a few hours a day.

I'm not mad busy but I'm not exactly keen to volunteer my time to insincere individuals/organisations either. I don’t know how to put my honest opinion across more politely but no, I’m not interested in helping out in your event and “ Promote Cosplay to the public” for free.

That said, if both parties can come to an agreement that benefits both sides then all’s great. I don’t know how a cosplayer can benefit from a commercial organizer in any ways other than cash and products but you get my drift.

5) Someone is earning through you

Probably the one most important and teeth grinding point. The event/ TV station/ media parties are paid big bucks to create entertaining content. Depending on the time slot and channel, a single 30 second advertisement can easily cost more than 6 digits!

If their content includes you, shouldn’t you get some sort of compensation for your involvement ?


Event organisers are paid by their clients to make sure everything for the event runs smoothly and there is sufficient attention on it. To put it simply, Event organising companies are also paid to create hype for the event.

And some times that hype is you, shouldn’t you get some sort of compensation for your involvement?

I’ve once again exhausted myself writing @@;. How do you feel about this topic? Comment and share with us =)


Otakista said…
This is a very detailed article explaining our status in the Philippines. Most people don't realize that cosplay is an art on it's own and we have the right to get compensated for our work just like any artist would be.

Cosplayers usually fall for the trap because of the fame and exposure that they will be getting but in reality that won't even pay their bills and wasting their time to turn themselves as rubbish.

I hope one day things will change. Shared this post by the way. Great article :)

Hikari~ said…
Totally agreeing with you here!

Cosplayers are often treated as people with too much time and money which is absolutely wrong!! It's just like any other hobby; if you like gaming, money goes to buying a console and the games itself. Time goes to playing it! If you like fishing, money goes to getting equipments and gears. Time goes to waiting for the fish to bite. So, what's so different about cosplay? Is it because we dress up, wear colourful wigs and look "weird"? Is it wrong to dedicate so much time and be passionate with our hobby?

I'm a cosplayer from Malaysia, and that's how i feel like here :-S I hope people will change their mindset about cosplay.

Awesome article to highlight cosplayers' situation!
Lady said…
I agree with your post. Cosplay, as any form of art, requires work and, if someone uses that work, you should get some form of compensation for it. Even if it's not in the shape of money, a prize or an important object could also be considered as forms of payment.
Komicer said…
Fully agree. It's not just cosplaying but the entire hobby is pretty open to exploitation. Before you agree to anything, be sure to negotiate a proper compensation for your time and probably use of your likeness!
Aire said…
You're so right! The people's view in cosplay here in the Philippines is all about business and fame. They're forgetting the true essence of cosplay which is enjoying. :(
ninetailefox92 said…
I completely agree kaika!! its unfair if they are gaining money from your hard work, yes it is good to get exposure and get your content out there but at the same time, why should others profit off of your work, cosplays take a long time and effort to make and can be exhausting to wear! its hard though because if you make a stand and dont get a feature unless you are paid, im pretty sure someone else will step in and take it for free -nine xx
Rupyon said…
This is Rupyon <3

i totally agreed with this, Kaika :<
sadly, cosplayers in Indonesia is still underestimated by peoples in business world. sometimes they held an event with cosplay competition just for sweetener the main event. that's kinda annoyed me.Also, sometimes they asked cosplayer to be sales promotion girl/boy and be paid more cheaper than usual sales promotion girl/boy.>A< that's why i really want peoples to be more appreciate cosplayer in that case won't happen again anymore.
pohcbSonic said…
well said. and it's very true.
Mikan said…
YES. You should be compensated accordingly, for all the reasons you stated! >:T
miyu.aosaki said…
I agree with this topic. Cosplayers should be treated the same as artists. Cosplayers are also artists. Cosplayers worked hard for their costumes and make people happy and not just gain fame, but to make cosplayers show what is their hobby.
People are created equally, so artists or not, cosplayers or not should be treated equally. :)
Kaori Sohma said…
I agree with you >.< we spend time, makeup, effort to go to the location (absolutely we use our own money but some organizer give fee transport) and sometimes they just pay us with a lunch box. Cosplay is a hobby but when it gives benefit to other people or organization, I think we should ask our payment
Kai Kuchiki said…
I totally agree! aside from the expensive (although some of the materials of the props were made from reused/recycled stuff), the make-up is also VERY EXPENSIVE and time consuming... Though some organizations pay the cosplayers here (in our region), the fee is usually not enough to event compensate for at least 1/2 the costume.=.=

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