Is Plastic Sister a New Feminist Icon?
By: Isaac Perez Solano
Marcus Tylor is a man who is clearly in touch with his feminine side. He is a London-based artist who has made a name for himself with his Plastic Sister human promo dolly. Designed to be a conversation starter and selfie magnet, the wide eyed Manga inspired cosplay invention has morphed into living-breathing art piece.
Tylor, who has published a book that celebrates his alter ego titled “Plastic Sister: a day in the life of a dolly person”, sees his personage as more than just a riff on drag queen or cosplay role playing. Instead she has become lighting role for social activism designed to provoke and challenge.
In this exclusive interview, a version of which first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazine, Tylor talks about how Plastic Sister has become the alpha identity in his life and why it was important that she have a vulnerable, ‘sugarcoated’ innocence rather than a sexualized identity.
Q: I’m still dreaming about your Japanese take on David Bowie’s most iconic look. I would really like to know when did Marcus become Plastic Sister?
A: Plastic Sister is nine years old and getting younger. She was conceived during an animation project I worked on at university at that time. I temporarily transformed her into Ziggy at the beginning of the year when Mr. Bowie left on his celestial tour. I turned into a ‘Cosplayer’ for a one-off tribute. I was brought up on a diet of Farley’s Rusks and Ziggy Stardust, so being on stage dressed as my boyhood hero was both electrifying and melancholic at the same time.
Q: So, are you a Cosplayer?
A: No. Plastic Sister went her own way from birth and has remained both reflexive and regenerating. Cosplayers take their cues from Manga characters in comics and animations, whilst I take mine walking around TOPSHOP.
Q: What would you say are the biggest differences between doing drag and being a Cosplayer?
A: Plastic Sister is not a drag queen either. Drag queens mimic women without wanting to be women. They love women, exaggerating every aspect of their feminine qualities, before topping it all off with deadly, venomous wit. Cosplayers do not really exaggerate but simply replicate, in fine detail, Manga cartoon or film characters. Bizarrely, although Cosplay is a Japanese corruption of ‘costume’ and ‘playing,’ the genre actually originated at Star Wars conventions in the US.
Q: What have you been up to lately? Has the Plastic Sister evolved since 2007?
A: Plastic Sister is gradually taking control of my inner self in a hands-up surrender to gender fusion; she and I are becoming one in an oestrogen drenched overspill that I have not the need nor will to escape from. Increasingly demure and compliant, I am becoming Plastic Sister’s genteel handmaiden, performing glamorous, fun-filled acts of titillating social activism that excite and provoke . . .
Q: And you have a book, right? A day in the life of a dolly person. What was the purpose of it?
A: It is the visual documentation of each individual Plastic Sister incarnation. A record of the different ‘looks’ I have generated during the last nine years. It would be wonderful to produce an intimate, themed book with a publisher. I’d love that.
Q: Are you trying to create a movement out of the concept of ‘dolly person’?
A: There are many complex variations of doll personas, but I strive to create a vulnerable, ‘sugarcoated’ innocence. Currently, there are countless mute sex companion varieties, to which I do NOT belong. Plastic Sister has had countless offers of one-to-one web chats, of an extremely personal nature, that have all been politely declined. Perhaps, if I hadn’t been so determined to maintain my virtue, I could have paid off my creditors.
Q: Does Marcus Tylor have a special power? What is it?
A: Secret, transparent-plastic wings.
Q: How can you describe your community?
A: I form bonds easily with anyone who embraces the London Dolly Pop theory. As for a community… it is really a dusk to dawn Soho thing. Plastic Sister is like a geisha darting silently from one nightclub entrance to the next whilst dressed to the heavens. Blink and you will miss her. Follow her in a nocturnal of mist of Guerlain Insolence.
They seek her here, they seek her there Just what will Plastic Sister wear? Will it be rubber, will it be lace. She is a vision of innocent grace?
Q: You have some really good posts on your Facebook in which you kind of make a political statement. What are your thoughts about politics in general?
A: Staying as true to London Dolly Pop theory as possible, I have always been proudly and openly apolitical. Modern life is plastic enough without being drawn down to that level of consciousness. Donald Trump can hire my services, as readily as any of the other players can. I will be his flag-waving red-carpet dolly for an appropriate fee.
Q: I know your skin is plastic, but do you have some dreams to share?
A: To be the next Bond girl.
Q: What are you currently listening to? And loving?
A: James Blake, Thomas Baxter. I have inherited an old turntable, which was made in 1980, so only fitting the first LP I should get John Foxx’s Metamatic released that same year.
Q: What is your motto?
A: Don’t be yourself, be your inner self.
Q: Would you like to spread a message to other plastic sisters out there?
A: Never be shy about feeling different or odd; embrace those feelings and discover your own ways to let them shine. Demand to be treated at face value and treat others the same way. Danger lies not with us, but with those who hide behind the cloak of normality.