From Cosplayer to Model

My name is Sebastian (known as Sapphire Prince online) and I am many things including a cosplayer, amateur model, vocalist, performer, tea maker and a giant nerd but I will say from the off that I am definitely not a writer. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to trying my hand at something new though!

Whilst I have been cosplaying for almost 6 years (I find it unbelievable that it’s been so long and I’m still hopeless at sewing!) I only started modelling in the early summer of 2018.

photo credit: Donald Manning

Modelling is never something that I thought I could do. I had definitely thought about it after enjoying some more ‘professional’ cosplay shoots but I never thought that anyone would ever actually want to work with me. I am definitely not the sort of person that you see in catalogs or on catwalks. I’m a few inches shorter than most agencies accept, having braces still never solved my annoying slight buck teeth, I identify as non binary when most people want to work with somebody who is male or female and I definitely don’t have a perfect body. But the opportunity was given to me by the lovely owner of a local studio who needed a model to step in last minute for a studio evening that week.

I met him when I was at the studio doing a cosplay shoot with a photographer I had met at a con and ended up chatting to the studio owner before the shoot. That studio evening was my first ever time trying out of cosplay modelling and was not only my first ever paid shoot but also allowed me to meet a fair few new photographers (a couple who I will happily say were new friends) who pushed me further into non cosplay modelling.

Before I knew it, I had a small network of people wishing to work with me on a tfp basis and I quickly acquired a fairly sizeable non cosplay portfolio which continues to grow to this day, the last non cosplay shoot being one entirely in a style of my choosing.

Whilst I had an incredible opportunity and a wonderful network effectively fall into my lap, my nerves were still more than apparent. I had to take a month off non cosplay shoots around a month and a half after I started. I did too many shoots in styles I wasn’t totally comfortable with too much in a short space of time and there is no shame in taking a break from anything if you are not fully comfortable. After a break nobody could stop me from coming back stronger ~

My advice to any cosplayers looking to start modelling is that cosplay is a fantastic base to begin from. You likely already know how to pose yourself somewhat and likely already have some confidence in front of the camera and both of those things are fantastic steps to getting started as a model. However if you are going into modelling simply wanting paid work then it will not happen overnight. You NEED to be able to pose yourself to a high standard and have a range of looks. You need to be versatile and you will not love every look you have to do, especially if you do an commercial modelling (which can be VERY tiring but very rewarding) but hopefully you’ll love most of them.

photo credit: Michael Wlach

Whilst you definitely shouldn’t push yourself too far (eg: don’t do lingerie modelling if you aren’t comfortable with it) you should definitely be willing to push yourself and stay versatile – if you can cover a range of styles even within fashion or cosplay then your styles will appeal to more people. Also, the absolute top tip of all is BE RELIABLE! If you don’t turn up to a shoot with no warning or cancelling at short notice then there is little to no chance that people will wish to work with you again.

If you do wish to get started as a model, seeing if any local studios have open days or networking days/evenings is a great idea to meet fellow models and photographers who may wish to work with you and help to build up your portfolio or give you advice. Plus, you may make some new friends. I have now done a few networking days/evenings and whilst shooting with multiple people in one night (occasionally multiple people at once) can be very daunting it is also great fun. You may not get on with everyone but you will certainly get on with some people. Mastering quick changes is also a big thing to practice! Anyone who’s done any acting will likely have more than enough practice with this though.

In terms of me, I’m going to continue pushing myself as a cosplayer and model next year. I have a few shoots already planned for the first couple of months of 2019 including the first cosplay group shoot I have ever organised myself in a studio I’ve wanted to go to for around a year with a fair few friends. I am also entering my first ever modelling contest next year as a non binary alternative model and whilst I don’t think I’ll do very well I’m definitely looking forward to the experience!

I’m not professional or where I want to be by any means but I have been very blessed to have been able to work with so many fantastic photographers and studios since getting more into the modelling world and cannot wait to continue.

Photo Credit: Colin Grist Pathway Studios

My posing has come on in leaps and bounds to the point that I am confident posing myself without direction around 90% of the time and whilst you may feel silly, practicing in the mirror is a very good way to build up a repertoire of poses.

I’m definitely not the best looking or most talented model out there but I can say with confidence that as a cosplayer you will have a strong leg up into the modelling world. I’m happy to answer any questions or give any advice if needed so please feel free to contact me on my Facebook page if you wished to ask any questions about this.

Thank you for reading my first ever article

Until next time, Sebastian

You can contact Sebastian via Facebook

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