He may look intimidating with his muscular physique and striking stare but the multi-talented wrestler/cosplayer/heavy metal rock star Ladybeard was not afraid to show off his kawaii side during the Meet and Greet held at the Meeting Room 2 in the SMX Convention Hall, Pasay City.
The Meet and Greet was divided into two sessions. We were able to arrive just in time for the 2nd session at 4:30PM. There was already a line forming in front of the Meet and Greet room 30 minutes before the doors were opened.
Official Ladybeard merchandise were made available at the booth and only the official merchandise will be allowed for autograph signing. Some of the merchandise were a fan with Ladybeard as Sailor Moon, a hologram Ladybeard in Wonderland poster, 2-shots of Polaroid pictures, and a manga where Ladybeard himself was the protagonist.
Fans cheered in delight when Ladybeard revealed himself on-stage wearing his famous Chun Li (Street Fighter) costume. He was very sweet and always showed appreciation towards his fans through hugs or by complimenting on their looks. He was also very energetic when answering their questions, some of which were as follows:
- How long does it take for you to grow your beard after shaving?
First and foremost, if you want to grow a beard, you never shave. Shaving is not an option. But I trim my beard when it gets too long in about 4 weeks.
- What was your most memorable wrestling experience?
There was a time that I was one-on-one with this Japanese wrestler from the same wrestling company I am currently under. He was known as the Headbutt guy. During our one-on-one I got hit so hard by his headbutt that I actually saw stars. It felt a lot like that I was hit by a bus.
- How do you take care of your hair?
I bathe daily in a mixture of mashed avocados and milk that is constantly stirred by my servant rats– I use shampoo and conditioner.
- If you were to be a part of a movie, what movie genre would you like to do?
I’d like to do an action movie. I’d also like to do a romantic comedy type of movie. A RomAcCom movie.
- Why did you decide to cosplay like a girl?
Because it’s fun! The first time I wore a dress was when I was 14. I borrowed my sister’s school dress and went to a costume party. Everyone thought that it was hilarious. It feels awesome to wear a dress. It gives a lot of freedom of movement, which is a huge advantage especially when I am fighting in the ring.
- What made you decide to shift from wrestling to cosplay?
We thought it would be funny to wrestle while wearing a dress. But what really got me into cosplay was when someone suggested that I wear a Sailor Moon costume in celebration of the anime’s anniversary.
- Which anime character do you enjoy cosplaying as?
I really love cosplaying as Chun Li!
- Do you know the Australian band “The Beards”?
*starts to sing the chorus of “If your Dad Doesn’t Have a Beard Then You Got Two Moms”* Yes! I know them! They are one of the famous bands in Australia and in fact I went to college with 3 of them.
- What is your signature wrestling move?
It’s called Women’s Liberation. I can’t really demonstrate right now but it’s a combination of a jump spin kick. It’s similar to the move called Choco Paradise.
In between questions, he would share a tidbit about his life. One of which was when he revealed that this was not his first time in the Philippines. For some time, Ladybeard also stayed in Cebu. Though he admits that he had forgotten all of his Cebuano as it had been many years ago.
He shared another trivia about him when one of the fans referred to him as “Ladybeard-sempai”. His manager, Naoko Tachibana, couldn’t help but be curious as to why we refer to him as such. Ladybeard acted as an impromptu translator and translated her message to the fans. He explained to the audience that in other parts of the world, he is called using the honorific “-chan” (probably in reference to his own personal description of being a 5-year-old Japanese girl trapped in the body of an Australian man). It is only in the US and the Philippines where he is referred using the honorific “-sempai”.
Photo session and autograph signing followed after the Q&A. Ladybeard greeted and hugged each fan that came on stage while his manager took the pictures. After the autograph signing, he gathered all the fans onstage for a group picture.
Even though I’ve been to a Meet and Greet event before, I still have very little knowledge of the rules the should be followed for events like this. The Meet and Greet House Rules was posted on the official website but it was simply not enough. Though there were efforts to remind the rules during the session, I suggest that in every Meet and Greet, the organizers can hand out a flyer with information about the guest and the house rules to prepare the audience for what is ahead. These can be distributed upon claiming of stubs, packaged together with purchased merchandise and/or upon entry in the Meet and Greet area.
Overall, the organizers did their best to make the Meet and Greet experience memorable and enjoyable for both the guests and the fans. I can’t wait to find out who makes it to their guest list next year!