article by: Miriam Mircea
Leipzig, Book Fair 2013, my very own meet and greet with Fahr Sindram, cosplayer, children’s books and manga writer, advocate against child pornography.
My second time at the Leipziger BuchMesse but first time in the Manga and Comics section, the most colorful and lively part of the event. I am about to meet Fahr Sindram, a very talented German lady, known for her perfect Cosplays (Note of the author-Cosplay-the art of dressing up and bringing to life a character of choice from comics, movies, books etc) for her writing, drawing and for her constant contribution to the battle against child pornography. No idea what to expect, but I am looking forward to meeting her and asking her a few questions about her work.
So after searching for her booth where she is waiting for me dressed as Loki (Norse God, perfectly played by Tom Hiddleston), I find her. She is indeed remarkable, if I didn’t t know her gender from before, I could have sworn she is a man. Sleek black hair, pale face, sharp cheekbones, very bright eyes and a great costume to match the personality. I introduce myself, we shake hands and she immediately invites me to join her and chats freely in English.
Most people who are fans of Cosplaying, of Tom Hiddleston and Loki know Fahr and her Facebook page, as well as her books and what she stands for. During our talk we are interrupted by all types of people, looking at her with great curiosity, asking for a photo of her, shaking her hand, smiling, waving, buying a T-shirt, a book or just coming by to say a little hello. She takes her time with everyone and at the same time talks to me. We seem like knowing each other for some time, yet we met barely 15 minutes before.
I tell her the reason why we decided she would make a great guest-interview on our Fanpage and she says that our initiative is indeed original, especially coming from the Romanian side of the Fandom.
At some point, I also meet her editor/publisher ,equally kind, polite and open to conversation.
I am still baffled by how good Fahr looks in her Loki costume, I cannot take my eyes of her and I ask her if she made the costume herself. Very honestly she says that she bought it because she is not good at sowing and patching things, but this does not make her less of a very good Cosplayer. Her advice for anyone who wants to cosplay or is thinking to start getting into this universe is very simple:”Just Cosplay”.She continues by saying that it doesn’t really matter if you are a woman and want to embody a male character or the other way around, as weight, height and general looks are not important. But she adds an essential piece of advice:”Take care of the details. Do not find excuses, like you did not have the right shoes and you took some that are more or less the same as those needed. No, find the right shoes, wig, get your costume to be as close to the original as possible. This is what matters”.
And she is right. She smiles but when someone comes to take a photo with her, she gets all serious all of a sudden, and with a deep voice says the most famous phrase that Loki in The Avengers is known for:”Kneeeeeeeeeel!” and the man obeys without a word. She goes and puts a hand on his head and so a great memory is born.
Coming back to me, I continue asking her if she ever met Tom Hiddleston in person, especially when he was in Germany, last year in August, shooting for “Only Lovers Left Alive”. Sadly she could not go and I proceed to show her my photo with Tom from last summer and she tells me like a true fan girl:”I envy you!” We laugh a lot together, the conversation flows and whenever she talks to me, she never loses eye contact. I tell her that she is so good at what she does that people pick up a very positive vibe from her, her photos, her videos.
She then reveals that she is a natural blonde but dyied her hair black in order to cosplay Loki, but the big surprise comes now: she will get back to her natural colour so that she can cosplay…Magnus!(Wallander) With curls and all! I am shocked, like I believe everybody else will be when she will appear all blonde and curly. Our conversation then slides to Shakespeare, the great Shakespeare and we both agree that Tom Hiddleston made Shakespeare be into fashion again. People who never heard of the writer, people who couldn’t swallow his writings are now proclaiming his genius and the brilliant performance of Tom in the BBC-produced series “The Hollow Crown”. She is, on the other hand, a reader of Shakespeare. She understands his message and confesses how much she loved the on-screen chemistry between Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston in the before-mentioned TV series.
I ask her if she is tempted to cosplay Prince Hal. This girl is full of surprises.”Of course I will!I will even do the sauna scene! Of course I will have to photoshop some body parts of mine, but I think it will turn up great!”
We turn our attention to her work with Mangas, she is telling me that her fascination with this type of Comics started in 1996 and grew and grew. Fahr is also an extremely talented artist, she can practically draw anything, “except of houses”, she adds.
I look at her book “Losing Neverland” completely created by her, concept, drawings, dialogue, everything. This book has been published by Butter & Cream Publishing House back in 2006 and it has caused quite a stir. Its title is a bit related to Michael Jackson’s farm, Neverland,a bit to the movie “Finding Neverland”,as she admits. The author deals with a very difficult topic, in her own words “(..)the story of a child forced to grow up”. It is a beautiful story that kept me captivated and opened my eyes in certain ways. Some of the inspiration needed was found by Fahr in the Berlin Flea Market, namely a photo of a very gentle and pretty woman, who became the mother of one of the main characters. But the book has a deeper goal, to raise awareness about the “Shotacon” and “Lolicon” phenomenon, or in plain words, about child pornography. These pornographic drawings of adults having intercourse with children made their way into Mangas read by kids. Fahr has understood the gravity of the situation and has decided to take a stand. Her voice, luckily, has been heard by Chancellor Angela Merkel herself! She is making a change, she received a lot of praises for her work, among which stands the one given by Goethe Institut, from May 2009:”A few convey profound concerns,such as Fahr Sindram’s Losing Neverland.Fahr Sindram condemns the sexual exploitation of children, but remains faithful to the shojo-manga aesthetic”.
Fahr is a true believer that with hard work and some support here and there one can achieve great things. As a children books author also, she is very preoccupied about the well-being of children and wants to keep intact the childhood’s fairytale. I truly feel that she succeeded well so far.
Going back to Cosplay, she tells me funny little stories that occurred while she was dressed as Loki at some Book Fairs, as for example in Frankfurt, where she had to deal with a hoard of kneeling fan-girls. She has a lot of fun through her art, it has been said again, but I feel the need to repeat it, Fahr can cosplay to perfection. Her editor shows me a photo of Fahr as Lolita, where she is this incredibly inhumanly beautiful creature, too fragile to be true, a live version of a porcelain doll.
As I get ready to leave, she kindly poses for me as the serious Loki, offers me a photoset with Loki doing humanly things and I also take the English version of “Losing Neverland”.,which I practically devour in the train. She hugs me and says we should meet again soon. I couldn’t agree more.
Fahr Sindram is one of a kind. Kind, modest, funny, intelligent, sassy, she has it all. Soon we will all kneel before her, whether we want it or not.