Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2014
Aussie cosplay cross-dresser and headbanger Ladybeard told Metropolis about his extreme take on kawaii and the mystical origins of his sailor suit.
What possessed you to become Ladybeard?
The seed for the character was planted when I was 14 and started going to parties wearing my big sister’s school dress. Whenever I went cross-dressed, everyone would have more fun because a guy in a dress was in the room. I continued cross-dressing on occasion when going to parties and rock shows for many years. Then, when I first cross-dressed in Hong Kong, where I used to live, the Chinese just went crazy—people thought I was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I came up with the name Ladybeard, which happened to translate perfectly into Cantonese, and began introducing myself to people as that. When I started wrestling I needed a character, and Ladybeard it was. I thought the audience would hate me. Big, hairy white guy wearing a dress and speaking bad Cantonese—heat magnet for sure, I figured. Incorrect. The fans loved me!
What does Ladybeard bring out in Japanese audiences?
The kawaii (cute) side of Ladybeard seems to strike a chord with Japanese people the most. Rather than comedy, which is my focus when I put my acts together, it’s the kawaiiness that wins fans’ hearts here… But when the metal drop happens in my songs, the sweet young girls who were calling out “Kawaii!” suddenly start headbanging with more ferocity than any metal frontman I’ve ever seen.
Tell us about Ladybeard’s transition from Chinese to Japanese culture.
Japanese culture is all about reading between lines, whereas Chinese culture is as direct as can be. That being said, I’m finding the Japanese to be far more lavish with the expression of their feelings. It seemed to me that Chinese audiences only wanted to approve of me if their mates were approving of me first. However, in Japan the audience seems to be made up of individuals who have each decided on their own that they like me and want to come to the show. Then those individuals group together as a unit.
Where did you buy your serafuku (Japanese schoolgirl sailor suit), and does it need tailoring?
One night while sleeping, an angel visited me in my dreams. He was an elderly gentleman with a grey plaited beard, wearing serafuku. He bestowed upon me special serafuku that was blessed by the cross-dresser gods and would bring great joy to all who looked upon it. When I woke up I was mysteriously wearing the serafuku…. I chose not to question where it came from but rather to fulfill the purpose it was created for—posing for photos and making people smile.
Have you had any luck in Japan’s geinokai (show business)?
I’ve had a few TV appearances already and there’s more madness developing every day. My TV commercials for Takasu Clinic should be out by the time you read this. Me, Takasu-san and the big man Bob Sapp—that was a fun day of shooting indeed!
What are the strangest things that have happened at Ladybeard performances?
At a wrestling show in Hong Kong, a fan once stole the commentator’s microphone and challenged me to a match. He wasn’t a wrestler; he was just some guy in the audience. In Hong Kong I seemed to get challenged to fights a lot. I guess considering I’m a man wearing a dress, that’s not all that surprising.
Who are you when you’re not Ladybeard?
When I’m not Ladybeard? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ladybeard vs Godzilla: Who wins and why?
Godzilla’s major disadvantages are his lack of kawaiiness and a beard. Sure, he’s a terrifying, enormous monster that smashes cities, but I think we can all agree he’d look far more impressive doing so in a pink and white cheerleader’s bikini, or a cute Lolita dress…. And of course, there is no strength in the world that cannot be overcome by the raw power of an amazing beard. So, long story short, Ladybeard wins hands down—mainly due to overwhelming audience support.
Aug 23, Heaven’s Door.
Aug 31, Shinjuku Face.