Pinay Net superstars in ‘cosplay’

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MANILA, Philippines—It’s a growing subculture, simmering right under the noses of unsuspecting Netizens.
Welcome to the world of cosplay (“costume play”) — where teenagers (and even those a tad older) dress up as their favorite anime or gaming character.
Grown men in Sailor Moon outfits? Self-confessed geeks as Call of Duty soldiers? Seemingly conventional cheerleaders as rainbow-haired nymphets from the Animax anime “Stigma of the Wind”?
In this kaleidoscopic, topsy-turvy world, Filipino sisters Alodia and Ashley Gosiengfiao — in red and blonde wigs and Japanese schoolgirl uniforms — are certified superstars.
Former cheerleaders in Miriam high school, Alodia and Ashley were drawn to cosplay as teens and have since donned over 30 and 14 costumes, respectively — including Ayano Kannagi (for Alodia) and Yukari Shinomiya (for Ashley) of “Stigma of the Wind” fame.
Alodia, now a college graduate (from Ateneo, with a degree in Information Design), and Ashley, a college senior (also Ateneo, and majoring in Information Design as well), are totally immersed in the cosplay scene.
Popular Facebook page
Alodia’s Facebook page has attracted almost 30,000 members. In her Deviantart site, where Alodia started her cosplaying career, she has posted 4 million page views and 27,000 members.
The Gosiengfiao sisters have met some of their fans from all over the world in international conventions.
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“We have followers from Singapore, Spain, Russia, Italy, Poland, even Latvia,” says Ashley.
“We are going to Chile in October. We were invited to judge a cosplay competition there,” Alodia announced.
The girls never imagined their hobby would explode in such a big way.
“When we started, we had zero fans . . . only our most loyal friends visited our sites,” Alodia recalls.
Closet cosplayers
“We were closet cosplayers. Back in high school, it wasn’t cool to cosplay. Other teenagers thought we were strange,” Ashley recounts. “But now even those who dismissed us as weirdos have joined the cosplay community.”
If they have fine taste for high camp, it’s because their uncle was the late filmmaker Joey Gosiengfiao (director of the kitsch classic “Temptation Island”).
Regional youth channel Animax was the first to take note of the Pinay sisters’ potential as global personalities.
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Greg Ho, Animax vice president and general manager, thinks the sisters are “passionate and knowledgeable about anime and are adept in bringing different characters to life.”
‘Ani-mates’
“We’ve worked constantly with Animax since its launch six years ago,” Ashley recalls.
“I won the Levi’s Kawaii Girl search on the Animax youth show ‘Mad Mad Fun’ in 2007,” Alodia recounts.
The sisters recently signed up as the regional station’s Ani-mates, along with QTV host Stephanie Henares.
“We practice hosting, talking in front of the mirror,” says Alodia.
“We watch Animax shows, to know more about the stories and characters we will introduce in ads,” Ashley quips.
“We’ll do blogs and webisodes for Animax, too,” Alodia adds.
In short, they’re all dressed up for global domination — starting with the and cable TV.

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