Colombo, Sept 1 (newsin.asia) – When Amaya Suriyapperuma and Seshani Cooray decided to take part in the Lanka Comic Con in Colombo last weekend, little did they realize that their lives were about to turn around.
Cosplaying ‘Wonder Woman’, Amaya and Seshani had worked on their costumes with dedication for weeks to take part in the annual Comic Con , which has become a popular event in the island country, amongst children, youngsters and elders alike.
Today, the women have become an inspiration and internet celebrities. All thanks to a group of locals who decided to ridicule them by posting their Wonder Women pictures on social media, and creating online memes, body shaming and mocking their appearance.
“She is too skinny” said one message, targeting Amaya. “They should do what they are good at,” said another, targeting both women.
But little did the shamers realize that their messages and online memes, created to embarrass the girls, would be the very thing which would make them stars.
The memes and comments received an online backlash overnight, with thousands voicing their support for the ladies. Soon their support went international, with Director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins tweeting, ‘They look so great, strong and beautiful!!! Such amazing work and costumes’.
Gal Gadot herself tweeted, ‘Looking amazing ladies’.
The harassment also triggered an online debate about cyber bullying.
Amaya who was not at first aware of the online memes only saw it when her friend tagged her on Facebook.
“My friends and the organizers of Lanka Comic Con did not want me to see what was happening. But when my friend tagged me, I realized what had happened and it was more than one meme. I was shocked,” Amaya told NewsIn.Asia.
But with a strong and confident personality, Amaya soon recovered from the fiasco, although she was at first concerned about her mother’s reaction.
“I was afraid to tell my mum because i thought she would never allow me to cosplay hereafter. But she advised me not to bother about people who did not know me. She has been my biggest support,” Amaya said.
Amaya worked for days on her costume, changing it several times, to get the perfect, final look. When she appeared at Comic Con, dressed as Wonder Women, she was confident, charming, beautiful and a star.
“It has been an amazing experience. I chose to dress up as Wonder Woman because I love the character. Today, Seshani and I am dubbed as the Sri Lankan Wonder Women,” Amaya said.
Indeed they are. Not only have they worked their charm on thousands of local and foreigners by cosplaying Wonder Woman, they have also become an inspiration to others who want to follow their dreams.
“Haters will hate. But we got to do what we go to do.”
21 year old Seshani, a close friend of Amaya, was also shocked to be a victim of cyber bullying despite facing some criticism last year when she cosplayed an anime character.
The architecture student said she the criticism experienced this year was ‘beyond imaginable’ but was glad to receive support locally and internationally.
“This time it went too far. Amaya and I were very upset and all we could do was report against those social media pages. But we also never expected to receive so much support and for that we are grateful,” Seshani said.
Seshani says while she has chosen to ignore all the negative comments and hatred, it was ‘a dream come true’ when Hollywood actress, Gal Gadot tweeted in their support.
“I dressed up as Wonder Woman because I love Gal Gadot’s character and I am a big fan. We were cosplaying from Sri Lanka but to receive your idol’s support is nothing but fantastic,” Seshani said.
The tweet from the Hollywood actress, supporting Amaya and Seshani, has now promoted other cosplayers world over to tweet their pictures to Gal, in their Wonder Women costumes, hoping to catch the actresses attention.
As for Amaya and Seshani, two Lankan women who overcame cyber bullying through their beauty, hard work and dedication, will continue to cosplay in future Comic Cons with both ladies voicing the same thoughts.
“We will definitely cosplay as Wonder Woman even in the future.”