Lady Geek Spotlight: Irene Allado, Collects Transformers and Pandas
Irene is practically family to me. We met because our boyfriends are related and since we are Filipinos, the family just tend to spend a lot of time together. It didn’t take us long to immediately become good friends since we share the same sense of humor (she’s super funny, you guys) and life sensibilities. When it comes down to it: I freakin’ love, Irene! I wanted to share her to the world because she is a badass Lady Geek. Don’t let her pretty little face fool you. I am fairly sure she won’t hesitate to kick ass if needed.
When did you realize you were a Lady Geek?
IRENE ALLADO: When I was a kid, I played with Barbies, stuffed animals, Match Boxes, Legos, scented stationeries, G.I. Joes, Nintendo and other video games. Not being able to play with other kids, I was home most of the time and being an only girl got me to make up a fantasy world with my dolls and my brotherâ€™s toys. I would also put my bed sheets and party dresses together and would imagine I was a princess, a ninja or a non-ordinary girl. I believe that was the first time I touched base with role playing.
I would watch a bunch of anime because my brother was a big fan. We would watch Sailor Moon, RanMa Â½, Dragon Ball Z, Lupin the Third, Pokemon, Samurai X and some others I couldnâ€™t remember anymore. I also watched the Power Rangers, Invader Zim, X-Men and Captain Planet! (At least these are most that I remembered). I loved reading Archie and some Filipino comics. I could say that my brother played a very big role in molding and introducing me to my Geeky Side. As I was getting older, I was introduced to various types of video games but I was very much addicted to MMORPGs, specifically one that was called Ragnarokâ€”Â I have embraced being a Lady Geek and was proud to be one.
What kind of cosplay have you done? Do you go to a lot of conventions?
ALLADO: I love dressing up but I have not gone more than wearing a short skirt, knee high socks, stocking, make-up, hair styles and hair colors. I had blonde highlights once and I was this close to dying it completely blonde to be Sailor Moon. I did dress up as a Ninja once, but I was too shy to go out in public because I was still very shy then and didnâ€™t know how much cosplaying was embraced. I didnâ€™t really know a lot of people who shared the same interests.
I had a friend who introduced me to conventions. He was well aware that I was a geek, and being a geek himself, he introduced me to various types of conventions from Anime Conventions, Robot Conventions to Comic Conventions. The first time I went to one, I almost had a heart attack because I felt like I was in heaven! I was introduced to collecting Transformers, my passion for cars evolved and my love for pandas came about. When I started dating my current boyfriend, I found out that he was also a geek! I was so glad that he was and since then, we would go to conventions together. So far, I have been to a couple of comic C=conventions in Anaheim, San Diego Comic Con and the Robot (Transformers) Convention in Pasadena.
Can you tell us your history with your panda obsession? ;)
ALLADO: In the beginning, it wasn’t much of an obsession, but it all began way back in the Philippines. I have a friend there who pretty much introduced me to pandas. He was so fascinated with pandas but I wasn’t really a big fan then, all I knew was that they were “cute”. I watched Ranma 1/2 where the Dad would turn into a panda and I could assume that in that moment right there, I began to like these fuzzy creatures.
In 2007, 2 years after I stepped on American soil, one of my friends was selling Beanie Babies. I stopped by to look at the cute little creatures and guess what caught my eye? A panda! It had green round eyes surrounded by dark circles and a cutesy little face and to top it off, it was so soft! I had to buy it. And the rest was history. I was kind of hesitant to tell my friends and family that I lalaloooved pandas because I was too embarassed. Look at me, a grown lady and still very much amused with stuffed animals. But after a while, I became more comfortable with everyone knowing and now, most of my closest friends associate me with pandas. I could say I became a pandaholic! I would buy almost anything associated with pandas: from pictures, to pillows, to hats, to slippers, to accessories and at one point, I almost got a panda tattoo on my leg. A real one. Up until now, I am very fascinated and in love with these furry creatures but until I find a place to store my collections, I am putting my panda collection and buying frenzy on hold.
So I could say, my friends, media and my eye for cuteness paved the way to this panda obsession.
Which is your favorite Transformer and why? What is your favorite version of the Transformers- cartoons or movies?
ALLADO: In car mode, I like Sideswipe just because it is sleek. But my favorite Transformer is Bumblebee. Across the generations of Transformers, he has always been linked to the youngsters and that’s because he’s the most “hip” one. He also reflects a portion of imperfection in a Transformer, because of his speech impairment. He is just too cool and to top it off, he is really cute and has a sense of humor. Writing about him right now is even making me smile.
I like the cartoon version because every series has a different story line and it keeps you interested in what would be happening in the next but I also like the movie version just because the cars are much more modified and who wouldn’t want to see realistic characters and much modified cars? So, I would say I like them both but based on different views.
What do you think of the geek community out here in Southern California? Is it different from when you lived in the Philippines?
ALLADO: I like the geek community here in California because it is more embraced than it was then in the Philippines. Even when I am surrounded by some people from a Filipino community here, they either laugh about it or they may look at it weird. It took some time to really bring out the Lady Geek in me because of the way I grew up in the Philippines. If I told anyone I was into cosplay, pandas and MMORPG, they would think I wasnâ€™t â€œnormalâ€. I like the diversity of the geek community here in Southern California and the way people just doesnâ€™t care what other people think or say. How we stand as a Community of Geeks and are proud to say that we are, is just so overwhelming, in a good way.
We’re friends and I know you’re an outspoken person. The geek community is still mainly a “guy” thing and girls are looked at for the most part as either brainless fangirls or “sexy” booth babes/cosplayers. How do you think we can change this as women?
ALLADO:Â Honestly, I would agree that some girls in the geek world do come off as “brainless” and more interested in showing flesh rather than cosplaying for the love of it. I wonder sometimes if they are representing anime or hentai. I know a lot of girls who can kick guys’ butts in arcades, and that to me, is really cool. I think the reason why most guys see girls like that is because of the way some girls present themselves. Most geeky girls I know are smart and are sexy and being smart and geeky IS sexy! We must make sure that women don’t only go to these conventions to dress less but to actually go to support the Lady Geek community, if not the whole geek community. We must move forward and let these guys know that we are not just looks but we mean serious business but know how to have fun doing so.
Being a geek may seem simple but it is so more than just the looks, it’s also about the knowledge we carry, how far we would go to express ourselves and how much time and money we would spend to fulfill our Geeky Side!
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