Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ICDS 2014: Cosplayer Dat-Baka Is Like Light Chili Sauce - Hot and Sweet!

International Cosplay Day Singapore (ICDS) was held at *SCAPE last Sunday, 25 August for the third year. This year's guests were cosplayers Kamui and Dat-Baka, as well as popular photographer from the Philippines, Jay Tablante.

Red Dot Diva and Red Dot Dude (aka Andre Chee) arrived at the venue early to scope out the place. People were just about arriving for the day's events, so it was a good time to greet Jay Tablante at his booth before it got crowded.

It is always delightful to chat and swap biceps with a physically trimmer Jay, who mentioned that he had been eating healthier and working out regularly in jujitsu. Jay also told us he's trying to finish up his next book!

Diva and Jay Tablante biceps

As usual, Jay had set up a small photo exhibition showcasing his cosplay photography - some older ones, and a few new ones. What caught Red Dot Diva's eye was this one of Mr Freeze. Some may recall that this was the same dude who was dressed up as Mr Freeze at last year's STGCC. His name is Orvis Evans. Isn't this photo superb??

Mr Freeze, by Orvis Evans/ Jay Tablante

Unfortunately, Red Dot Diva did not manage to meet Kamui in person at ICDS due to time constraints. That honour was left to Red Dot Dude, who caught hold of her in her awesome costume before she trooped off to do a costuming workshop with fans.

Andre meets Kamui!

Red Dot Diva, however, did get to share a Dat-Baka interview session together with the lovely Asher from website AsiaOTP. 20-year-old Dat-Baka, who is of Vietnamese-Aussie origin, is well-known for his depictions of sizzling hot male characters. Just have a good ogle at this pic taken by fellow lady geek, @sarahcoldheart of Seriously Sarah....


... and the several droolicious photos on his Facebook page.

Here's what went down with Dat-Baka during the interview:

Red Dot Diva: What you got you started really actively in cosplay?
Dat-Baka: I wasn't doing well at school and I didn't know where to put my energy into. One day, my friend took me to a convention and a lot of them were dressed up and talking to each other like they knew each other, and I felt a little envious. So I told myself, next time I will go, dress up and talk to lots of people and that is what I did. I met a lot of cool people and had a lot of fun... and I got addicted to doing cosplay.

Red Dot Diva: Which was the first character that you cosplayed?
Dat-Baka: I did L from Deathnote. I used marker as makeup for the eyes. (laughter all round) I was naive. 

Red Dot Diva: What was your most memorable cosplay experience?
Dat-Baka: This is one of them. It is my first time going to a con overseas and as a guest.

Red Dot Diva: Do you have any plans to head to the bigger cons like SDCC?
Dat-Baka: Yes. I wasn't so confident about travelling overseas for cons, but after this (ICDS), I feel more comfortable doing so.

Red Dot Diva: Did you ever expect to get this popular?
Dat-Baka: No. To be honest, I thought cosplay would help me get a girlfriend. I didn't expect it to get this far!

Red Dot Diva: So, has your involvement in cosplay got you other opportunities?
Dat-Baka: Yeah. I've gone into other jobs in Australia because of my portfolio. More like concept design work due to my cosplays.

Red Dot Diva: What other skills would you love to acquire in order to improve your cosplay?
Dat-Baka: I wanna try working with fibreglass and latex. But they look pretty hard.

By the way, Red Dot Diva and Asher were stunned to find out that Dat-Baka: only took one day to make the Chosokabe Motochika from Sengoku Basarathat costume he wore at ICDS! Dat-Bakaexplained, "I'm really impatient. I'll sit there working on the costume, and then before I know it, it's morning. I could never spread it out."

Red Dot Diva: What would be the toughest part of cosplay?
Dat-Baka: Sometimes the wig is the hardest. For anime and games, the hair is really crazy.

Red Dot Diva: Who are your cosplay heroes?
Dat-Baka: Kaname is the first cosplayer that I admired. Yuegene Fay, Reika, Kamui and a few local (Aussie) cosplayers whom I look up to because they have also helped me improve my skills.

Dat-Baka then revealed that before he cosplayed, he was shy and had difficulty talking to even one person. His social anxiety was so extreme that he did not even like buying things from a shop! "And now, meeting so many people, there is no time to be scared any more. So, I just let it go. Because of cosplay, I get thrown into my not-so-comfortable zone, and now I am used to it."

Red Dot Diva thinks the transformation is amazing but she also have noticed that being a very popular public figure, Dat-Baka has attracted his fair share of internet trolls who comment ugly remarks on his social network.

Red Dot Diva: How do you deal with haters?
Dat-Baka: To begin with, when I started out, it really got to me. But then, it got flushed out by a lot of people who enjoyed my cosplay and when the community comes together, it blocks out all the haters. I pay no attention to the haters now because there are so many people I can talk to who are positive.

Red Dot Diva: What was your first reaction when you were invited as a guest of ICDS?
Dat-Baka: To be honest, I thought it was a troll. I might as well accept as see where this goes. Then, things kept escalating and I went 'Whoa, this is actually the real deal!'

Red Dot Diva: How did you prepare for your trip here?
Dat-Baka: I didn't really prepare at all. It didn't seem real but then the date kept creeping up and then before, I should pack! This is actually happening!

It was at this juncture that Dat-Baka also confessed that he had been eating non-stop since his arrival here. Word has it that he was "fed" roti-prata for his first meal on the island, and that meal alone broke his daily calorie count. "I stopped counting after that. It's OK. I can work it out when I get back home. But I definitely don't regret it. The food here is amazing!" Dat-Baka said.

Red Dot Diva: What are your cosplay aspirations?
Dat-Baka: I want to keep getting invites for conventions. It's been a lot of fun. I like meeting a lot of different people and see the response on social media. It's cool!

Dat-Baka then mentioned he tends to get obsessive about movies or games. And his current love is "Guardians of the Galaxy". "As soon as I saw the movie, I saw Groot and I thought I have stilts. I know how to use stilts. I can make the legs, I could make the arms. By the end of the movie, I wanted to make the entire thing."

Red Dot Diva: Would you be considering going more into Western pop-culture cosplays in the near future?
Dat-Baka: I have been trying very hard to get into the Western side of things. It is really popular in Australia as opposed to anime. I like anime but I want to try more Western pop-culture cosplay. That's why I think Groot would be a fun one to start with!

On that note, the interview was wrapped up, but not before Red Dot Diva posed for a couple of bicepstuous and ab-fastic pics with Dat-Baka, who was really Hawt and very Sweet at the same time.

Just like tasty, light chili sauce!

Biceps time with Dat-Baka!

(Awww... See? He drew a Heart on his coscard! :3 )


Thanks to Red Dot Dude for helping to take photos, and @sarahcoldheart for the use of her wonderful "teaser" photo!

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