There is something encouraging about Sony’s willingness to invest heavily in bringing their mascots to life and to display all of them prominently at their E3 booth as they rode the rush of positivity from the upcoming PS4. Sony did not only bring out Nathan Drake or Kratos or SackBoy, but they also trotted out their PSN mascots and newer characters like Knack and Tearaway and Digs Darkler. They are investing in the visibility of these beloved and newer characters, and without PlayStation All-Stars, it might have been simply booth babes or Kratos there to help celebrate not only their new console, but older consoles as well. Sony did a great job casting the people portraying these mascots from the imposing Kratos to the inquisitive Traveler, but one of the best things they did was hire a model/actress to play Fat Princess that is far from the traditional sizes seen among plus size models.
Sony hired Angelina Duplisea, actress and model (anactingangel on twitter and tumblr), to portray the corpulent princess. The multiethnic (part native) Angel was kind enough to talk to me for a little bit during the show to talk about her experience working with Sony, dealing with massive number of people at the con and the limitation of being hired to represent a brand. When asked about how Sony has treated her during the show, Angel said, “The company [Sony] has been incredible. They are super nice, none of them are judgmental at all. [They] are really kind and they understand the limitations that a plus size woman has. You know I can’t stand there in heels all day, actually most of us characters can’t do that.” It is good to know that the handlers for the various mascots were well aware of whatever limitations came with hiring various actors and actresses of different shapes and statures, especially since many of the mascots wore heavy and cumbersome costumes.
It is difficult to say whether or not taking the job to play Fat Princess was brave because at the heart of it, for Angel it was another job. However, given how notorious conventions are for their attendees being rude and disrespectful not only to women in general, but also to fat people wearing costumes; there is some amount of bravery in her being so visible. Luckily, her experience on the whole was positive. When asked about whether or not she ran into any jerks during her time on the floor, she said, “Actually, I haven’t come across a lot of a***oles. There were a couple of pictures posted with stuff on instagram. Most of the time, it is people being really nice. They like the game, they like the character, so they aren’t jerks.”
When discussing running into rude people she encountered during the event, she talked about some of her tactics to disarm the animosity, “… Like I said there have been a couple here and there of people being rude. And I can usually tell. I try to charm them as much as I can. There is not much I can do ‘cause I am not allowed to talk. But, I try to be funny with them, or flirt with them. Just to make them feel less doucebaggy about the whole thing.” One of the drawbacks of the gig for her was that she could not speak on the floor, but representing the Sony brand and character made that necessary. However, that made her practice before E3 a bit useless and likely would have been a good strategy against negativity, “It sucks because I actually practiced the Fat Princess sayings. Like, ‘You look Yummy,’ and I can’t even say that. Cause that would probably work for a lot of people to un-douche them.” Overall though, the experience for her was extremely positive, the people were happy to pose with her and Sony treated her well. “It’s been really nice. The people are incredibly cool,” Angel reflected on the event.
Sony employed people of all different shapes and sizes to bring the PlayStation Mascots to life. They knew the limitations of the actors, actresses and models representing those characters and accommodated them accordingly. There is nothing inherently wrong with booth babes, much like those acting as the Sony mascots; it is just another job. For those working in a business that is extremely difficult and where if they are struggling to make some sort of head way, it is hard to pick and choose jobs. Typically the job that pays your bills will be the one that gets chosen, regardless if the job is catering to the prurient and childish side of people. Booth babes are simply attractive women hired to appeal to the lowest common denominator in some ways. It is up to companies to decide when to make a change from the childish and somewhat objectificationist nature of these trade shows and try something different. Sony seems to have done that this year by bringing a wide and diverse selection of their many mascots changing, if for one event, the tone of those hired to lure in attendees (and Sony did not tether PS Vitas to mascots).