The Femme Fatales

Cebu cosplayers suit up as badass fictional faves

Text by Tiny Diapana
Photography by Ernest Diño
Direction of Photography by Bayani Acebedo

ATTRACTIVE and alluring, femme fatales steal the spotlight in films, comics and different television series with their seductive charms and the whirlwind of danger that they bring with them. While cosplaying in itself requires much confidence, taking on the look and more importantly the character of a femme fatale requires a certain level of courage and fearlessness. Here are a few bold young women from Cebu who’ve dared to take on the role of femme fatales as they share their different experiences as cosplayers.

Shari Paclipan

Femme Fatale

Harley Quinn (Injustice: Gods Among Us)

Wild and unpredictable, Harley Quinn first appeared in DC’s “Batman: The Animated” series as a sidekick to the Joker. In “Injustice: Gods Among Us” Harley remains as the Joker’s ditsy sidekick and uses a variety of weapons for battle.

Costume Break Down

Mask – layers of Elmer’s glue
Pants – spandex leatherette
Jacket – scrap leatherette from college thesis
Boots – thrift boots covered in same scrap leatherette as Jacket
Fun Fact: Costume was made in only five days. Cosplaying Harley was a last minute decision for Shari who had to ask assistance from two separate seamstresses to sew the leatherette pieces together.

Cosplayer Bio

Shari’s always loved dressing up and playing make believe. It wasn’t difficult for Shari to transition to cosplay with her friends in college because she doesn’t just love the craft, she also considers it an art form. She enjoys everything about the creative process of cosplaying, from planning to crafting to portraying the character during shoots. The Junior Designer at Kenneth Cobonpue Interior Crafts of the Islands loves to play characters that with detailed costumes from comics, videogames and western animation that challenge her ability as a designer and cosplayer. Shari has joined and won cosplay competitions twice, grabbing second place at the 2016 SM Cyberzon Cosplay Competition and the Best Cosplayer Award during the Alice Garden Cosplay Competition.

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Diane Sabandeja

Femme Fatale

Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad)

This version of Harley is flirtatious, playful and like the original animated version, unpredictable. Though “Suicide Squad” didn’t fare so well amongst fans and critics, Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley has been considered as one of the film’s redeeming factors.

Costume Break Down

Top – custom cotton t-shirt
Jacket – leather and spandex cotton
Pants – spandex cotton
Accessories – items crafted from outside the Philippines
Wooden Bat – item from Kraft Komer, one of the Philippine-based craftmakers that Diane is promoting
Boots – replica design of the exact same footwear used in the film crafted from outside the country
Fun Fact: Diane’s Harley cosplay was supported by her family and sponsored by friends and online account fans

Cosplayer Bio

An extreme anime otaku and an avid fan of Western media, Diane began cosplaying and organizing cosplay events in 2008. Dianne is one of the most active and experienced cosplayer in this feature who has joined multiple cosplay competitions and shoots around the region. The young aspiring wildlife photographer cosplays characters that she can relate with and characters that can inspire others. She’s extremely passionate about the craft and feels touched whenever she’s able to touch the lives of others as a cosplayer.

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Kirsten Barriga

Femme Fatale

Catwoman

A DC antiheroine commonly associated with Batman, Catwoman is a seductive whip-carrying cat burglar who enjoys the thrill of high-stake thievery. She’s a popular figure in the Batman franchise and plays the role of a complex love interest for the Dark Knight.

Costume Break Down

Top – spandex material with leather shine
Leggings – spandex material with leather shine
Cat Ears – rubber foam

Cosplayer Bio

Kirsten started cosplaying when she hit first year in UP Cebu after a class required her to attend Otaku Fest in costume. Ever since then, Kirsten’s made it a point to dress up for the yearly cosplay event, joining it to support the campus activity and boost her confidence. Though she used to be rather shy and introverted in nature, cosplaying in Otaku Fest gave Kirsten the confidence to be around other people more. The young Fine Arts graduate prefers playing characters with costumes that she’s interested in and though she’s not particular about which genre the character comes from, Kirsten avoids those from anime since she isn’t quite comfortable with anime make-up and poses.

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Marel Garvez

Femme Fatale

Rouge (X-Men Evolution)

In Marvel comics Rogue is a voluptuous bombshell, however this younger version or Rogue is uncertain and insecure, isolating herself because of her power to absorb life and memory from things she touches.

Costume Break Down

Green top – organza cloth
Accessories – rubber foam overlaid with leather and metallic buttons

Cosplayer Bio

Like Kirsten, Marel started cosplaying during her freshman year in UP Cebu after being required to suit up for the yearly Otakufest as a class requirement. Finding fulfillment in the craft of DIY costume creation, Marel continues to cosplay characters that she’s both familiar with and characters that she can relate to. The young Fine Arts graduate and budding jewelry designer takes pride in bringing characters to life, saying that cosplaying has helped boost her confidence tremendously.

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Jo Aubrey Pineda

Femme Fatale

X-23 (Marvel Comics)

The clone-daughter of Wolverine, X-23 starts out as an abused mutant whose skills are sold to the highest bidder as she becomes an infamous assassin around the age of 11. She was originally trained to kill Wolverine however she later on joins the X-Men and treats Logan like her father.

Costume Break Down

Jacket, pants, top – leatherette
Choker, gloves – leatherette
Claws – craft board
Belt – aluminum rings and wires
Buckle – rubber foam

Cosplayer Bio

Being a geek at heart, Aubrey found it easy to get into cosplay after meeting college friends with the same interests, the Bombshells. After hanging out playing videogames, the girls would gather around to plan their cosplays together, working on successful group appearances where they play a group of characters from different franchises.

Aubrey loves the process of making costumes and is often referred to by her friends as the cheat costume and props maker, finding ways to prepare a decent looking outfit in 2 to 3 days. She loves to cosplay Western characters because of the challenging design and prefers to cosplay in groups rather than going solo.

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Sabina Espina

Femme Fatale

Hannah (Rat Queens)

Sassy and full of spirit, Hannah is part elf part demon who can tap into dark magic during moments of extreme duress. Cheeky and brazen, Hannah is the leader of the Rat Queens, a group of rowdy and brassy warriors in a fantasy comic book of the same name written by Kurtis J. Wiebe.

Costume Breakdown

Jacket – metallic spandex
Boots – velvet textured cloth
Gloves – velvet textured cloth
Top – Old bra turned into a bustier with gold leatherette glued for more detail
Hair – fake bangs plus a combination of two full wigs supported by cylindrical cartons and a headband
Fun Fact: Sabina’s costume was made solely for the SunStar shoot and took her only 3-4 days to make.

Cosplayer Bio

Sabina started cosplaying around 2008 during the early years of today’s prominent geek and otaku conventions, ArchCon, HobCon, and Otakufest. Seeing others cosplay made her curious, so she decided to suit up and see what it was like to play different characters. Like the rest of the Bombshells, the young UP Cebu Fine Arts graduate and tech writer enjoys the process of costume creation. It doesn’t matter how difficult the character is, as long as she has genuine interest in it and she has the budget, she’ll try her best to make it in time.

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