29-year-old Stella Chuu makes six figures as a professional cosplayer 


Take what Chuu wore to Comedian Con on Thursday — she dressed as Katsuki Bakugo, a personality from the Japanese manga comedian “My Hero Academia”. The self-made costume featured elaborate foam appendages that resembled watermelon-sized hand grenades, which she wore on every hand.

“Regardless that, say, a bit of armor foam is 10 bucks, engaged on it takes about possibly 20 hours,” she mentioned. And, that is only one piece of a fancy dress that additionally includes a wig, make-up, knee-high black and pink boots and different accouterments.

All in all, designing and making all the parts of only one costume could be a weeks-long course of, Chuu says.

What’s extra, Chuu has over 200 costumes that she cycles by way of. These embrace all the pieces from Battle Angel Alita, a smooth, black leather-clad warrior from a manga comics collection of the identical title, to a scantily-clad model of Valus, a minotaur warrior from the online game “Shadow of the Colossus.”

Chuu wears the costumes to totally different conventions and occasions around the globe, earlier than she ultimately both throws them out (in the event that they get broken), or generally sells them to make manner for her latest creations.

Even a used costume can fetch as much as $1,000, she says, particularly whether it is an elaborate design. Chuu additionally makes costumes on fee for different cosplayers, together with one she’s making now that includes a mixture of physique armor, fur and a big wig. She’ll promote it for about $three,000, she mentioned.

Chuu began cosplaying in highschool and he or she says she acquired critical about it eight years in the past, after she graduated from school at SUNY Buy. A lifetime fan of anime, aka Japanese animation, Chuu grew up watching anime collection like “Dragon Ball Z” and “Shadow Ability” earlier than changing into the president of the anime membership at her school.

“I made a decision to dive tremendous deep into cosplay, as a result of it simply regarded so cool once I went to conventions with my anime membership,” she informed CNBC Make It. “And I simply thought if I discover ways to make my very own costumes possibly one thing cool can come from this; possibly I might journey extra, possibly I can meet cool individuals.”

After doing cosplay as a passion for a number of years whereas working a full-time graphic design job at On a regular basis Well being in New York, Chuu determined to make the bounce into being knowledgeable cosplayer three years in the past.

She give up her job, and a yr later she moved to Los Angeles, the place she now lives along with her husband. She admits that it was a dangerous proposition to depart her job, the place she had a assured wage with full advantages, for a comparatively uncharted line of labor, since there are comparatively few skilled cosplayers on the planet.

“I used to be taking an enormous danger making this my my full-time job,” Chuu says, however she took inspiration from the current rise of social media influencers and different on-line entertainers who’ve made careers out of constructing giant followings on social media and websites like Twitch.


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