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.

Photo by Brian Lim

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 instalments, 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 fulfil 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.

Photo by Brian Lim

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 organiser 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 =)

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