Jane as The Warrior Princess_1
Cosplay is arguably the most popular subculture in Japan. While the costume play community has seen an explosive growth across the globe in recent years, many “normal” people still tend to look at those engaging in the activity with judging eyes; some even think that they’re “weird” for wanting to dress up like their heroes. But the truth is, beneath the elaborate costumes, cosplayers are just as normal as any one of us.

We’ve seen cosplayers without their costumes, but photographer Ching Yee Tan takes a step further by showing us a glimpse of their private lives. If you’ve ever wondered what a hardcore cosplayer’s room looks like, this is your chance to take a peek into one!

Singaporean educator and photographer Ching Yee Tan got inspired to shoot this series of photos back in 2008, when she first saw two teenage boys rocking seriously dramatic costumes on a local train. Being unfamiliar with the subculture, she became incredibly curious about why and how cosplayers get into this unusual hobby.

Ching Yee started attending cosplay events and got to know cosplayers both on-stage and off. Over the following six years, she ventured into the living spaces of over 20 cosplayers, and shows us snippets of their real lives through her photo collection titled Offstage, through which she hopes the public can come to identify the differences and similarities between cosplayers and themselves.

Although cosplayers often realistically resemble anime or game characters, they are in fact normal beings and don’t always lead the exciting lives of the characters they play. They, too, face everyday problems such as bad hair days, endless chores, and of course, school and work! Juxtaposing fiction against reality, Ching Yee had the cosplayers pose in their respective character’s signature poses, and the living spaces in the background reveal hints of their private lives.

▼ Zeph as The Vampire Rebel
“My father is a policeman.”
Zeph as The Vampire Rebel_1
▼ (Left to right) Ning as The Vampire Empress, Nicki as The Undercover and Miura VK as The Swords Keeper
Ning as The Vampire Empress , Nicki as The Undercover and Miura VK as The Swords Keeper_1
▼ Yuanie as The Heroic Swordsman
Yuanie as The Heroic Swordsman_1
▼ Amy as The Chemist
“I have diabetes and recently rheumatoid arthritis. Now I’m back to my tutoring, network provider and mission work, as well as beading, line dancing, swimming and high tea.”
Amy as The Chemist_1
▼ Boon Kiat as The Half-Man-Half-Beast Teacher
Boon Kiat as The Half-Man-Half-Beast Teacher_1
▼ Jac as The Cloistered Angel
Jac as The Cloistered Angel_1
▼ Jane as The Warrior Princess
Jane as The Warrior Princess_1
▼ Jovi as The Sniper
Jovi as The Sniper_1
▼ (Left to right) Kelvin as The Evil Maskrider, younger brother John as The Righteous Robot, elder sister Eileen as EX Gokin Robocon
“Our father made all these costumes. His workshop is in the kitchen. We have been sleeping among these costumes since we were young. ”
Kelvin as The Evil Maskrider, younger brother John as The Righteous Robot,elder sister Eileen as EX Gokin Robocon_1
▼ Lili as The Rain Spirit
Lili as The Rain Spirit_1
▼ Nadiah as The Martial Artist, her sister Atikah as The Deadly Black Rose Dragon
Nadiah as The Martial Artist, her sister Atikah as The Deadly Black Rose Dragon_1
▼ Rozen as The One-Armed Horned Hermit
Rozen as The One-Armed Horned Hermit_1
▼ Shaun (Shroom) as The Reporter who is a Crow Tengu
Shaun(Shroom) as The Reporter who is a Crow Tengu_1
▼ Weilee as The Armadillo
Weilee as The Armadillo_1
▼ Peggy as The Deadmaster
Peggy as The Deadmaster_1
▼ Yukiko as The Maid
“In the past, I used to walk with my head down. After being introduced to cosplay, I now walk with my head held high and I just let them stare at me and take my photograph.”
Yukiko as The Maid_1

Through the course of her work, Ching Yee learned that each and every cosplayer has their own unique personalities, and, of course, they all have their own reasons for cosplaying. For some of them, their passion for the performance art has even opened new doors in their lives.

If you’re one of the “normal” people who find it difficult to approach cosplayers, we hope that this series of photos has convinced you that under their elaborate costumes (and sometimes gender-bending facades), cosplayers are just regular people with “normal” – or perhaps kind of cool – lives. If you’re a cosplayer, rock on! And if you’re a fan of cosplay, be sure to keep reading RocketNews24 for more cosplay related news soon!

To see more of Ching Yee’s work, check out her website!

Reference: Objectifs
Photos the property and used with the permission of Ching Yee Tan (Foxberrytales