Jonathan Blitzer on nineteen-year-old Virgilia Reyes, who makes a living posing as Elmo in Times Square: http://nyr.kr/1quyOsc
“Reyes was having more trouble, if only because there were more Elmos to compete with. She made a point of taking her mask off after every photo. ‘That way, when they’re about to pay, they see that they’re dealing with an actual person,’ she said. At least half the time, people came up to her, took a photo, and then walked away without paying, ignoring Reyes as she protested.”
Photograph by Ruddy Roye.
Posts tagged times square
For a good part of 2012, smiling tourists surrounded Joana Toro in Times Square. Strangers hugged her. Some even gave her a few dollars. Talk about getting a big head. Actually, it was all because of her big head, an oversize Hello Kitty mask she wore while working among the costumed characters that have become familiar denizens of the Crossroads of the World.
What started out as a way to make a little extra money while studying English turned into “I Am Hello Kitty,” a photo essay about the anonymous immigrants who transform themselves each day into instantly recognizable figures of American pop culture. Most are from Latin America, said Ms. Toro, who was a photographer in her native Colombia.
“It was shocking at first to see Mickey Mouse did not speak English and was an immigrant from Mexico,” she said. “It was shocking to see the Statue of Liberty having problems with the police. It was surreal. A paradox. It spoke to me of cultural appropriation and migration.”
I am Hello Kitty (via Lens)