Renowned international cosplayer Vampy Bit Me (real name: Linda Le) is currently in the Philippines for the first-ever AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2015, which happens from September 17 to 20 at the World Trade Center in Pasay.
Vampy, who is of Vietnamese descent but was born in California, has been slipping into anime and video game character costumes since she was 12. (Although clearly she is all grown up in the photos below...)
Vampy as Morrigan from Darkstalkers (Instagram)
As Psylocke (Instagram)
The 32-year-old has been recognized as one of the most prolific cosplayers in the world by pop culture and gaming websites, such as IGN and Kotaku, and other news outlets of related content. Not to mention, Vampy is without a doubt smokin' hot!
FHM, along with other members of the media, had the privilege to chat with the sultry role-player recently, and we found out that cosplaying isn't the only thing close to her heart! In fact, Vampy's not just in the country to be part of the pioneering event of Asia's grandest pop culture gathering, she is also here to feast on some local cuisine!
All that and more below!
So, have you done your research on Filipino food before coming here?
I've eaten most of it already! Sisig, I ate a lot of that. The thing is, I'm from California, but the food (there) is kind of boring compared to Asia. So, every time I get to go back to Asia—the Philippines or Vietnam or anywhere—I really enjoy it because the food is so much better.
Doesn't your love for eating pose a problem in maintaining your figure for cosplaying?
Okay. So I would have to thank my mom (laughs), 'cause my metabolism is pretty high. Yes, I can eat anything I want, but in portions. I eat five times a day, with small portions. Not like a whole, huge meal for the whole day; that would've just killed me!
Photo via Vampy's Instagram account
But do you still work out to stay in shape?
I take walks with my dog, and pretty much, I work a lot, so I think that's a workout in itself. I barely sleep—which is not a good thing—but I do go on runs with my dog.
How long does it take you to prepare costumes like the one you're wearing?
This (X-Force Psylocke costume) one only took me three days to make! But searching for the materials took me, I would say three weeks, 'cause they're really hard to find. I'm sure you hear that all the time from other cosplayers as well. But like a Gundam costume, depending on which one, (conception) could take 500 to 700 hours. Smaller costumes, I would say 300 hours.
You personally create your own costumes? Neat!
I build a lot of model kits, so I understand engineering pretty well, as well as strapping. I research a lot of people, who make Gundam costumes. Generally they're really young, so the sizing's a little bit off. But I also noticed the really good ones; they're engineers or they have actual jobs (laughs). It's really interesting what they do. I studied all of them before I did what I did. I've made a lot of mistakes though, it's not perfect, but when I finished it was gratifying. It was a lot of work.
You've mentioned sizing a while ago. What are the common problems you encounter when putting on a costume?
My Gundam costume, I need three people to help me. 'Cause pretty much you're a robot, so you're not gonna be like doing this (points to what she's wearing at the moment) or Spiderman or whatever. In a robot costume, you're walking like this (paces awkwardly). Yeah, it's gonna be hard and I'm pretty short; I have to make shoes that are this big (gestures size) to look like a Gundam, to be more overpowering. It's really funny I guess, but it's also very interesting.
What is the most outrageous piece of clothing you've ever worn?
Well, in America, they think my Gundam costumes are weird. Because when I wear it, they're thinking I'm like Voltron or something. And they're like, "Why do you wear it? You can't move. It's not sexy. You're not showing any sexy body parts." And I'm like, "I'm sorry, I like this. I'm not doing this for you. I'm sorry, you don't have to look at me. You don't have to take my picture, because I do this for me." And I get that a lot. For example, dressing as a Unicorn Gundam... And they forget that, because a lot of people think, "Oh, you want to get popular," but I guess I'm going backwards though, if they think that. So I think that's the weirdest thing in America, or anywhere that I go to. They think robot costumes are a little bit weird for girls.
Outside of cosplaying and model kit building, what are your other interests?
Well, of course food. I love food and cooking, too. I think this (cosplaying) is my passion, though. If I was to quit cosplay, I would definitely do food blog, and write and travel talking about food. And I know a lot of chefs! To me it's a passion. What you eat is passion. Some people eat just to survive, like, "Whatever, I'll eat that!" I can't be like that. I'm not picky, though. I mean I'll eat. I like good food.
Another thing is dogs, which is really weird. Besides Gundams and stuff, I'm obsessed with dogs! Accounts I follow on Instagram, half of them are dogs! So I know them by name, first name and everything!
Can't get enough of Vampy? Play a "Read My Lips" game with her through this video we made below. You're welcome!