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Third party, far-right candidates in Argentina shake up the status quo: cosplayer Lilia Lemoine is at the center of it all

Before Milei, I saw politics as a stage full of deceptive actors. His raw, uncompromising honesty led me to my calling – a moral imperative to act. Empowered by my own strong will, I stepped onto the political stage. After living in what felt like an endless dark tunnel, I found a glimmer of light.

  • 8 months ago
  • October 27, 2023
7 min read
Lady Lemoine portraying a cosplay character | Photo Courtesy Lilia Lemoine Lady Lemoine portraying a cosplay character | Photo Courtesy Lilia Lemoine
Interview Subject
Lilia Adela Bolukalo Lemoine, also known as Lady Lemoine in the cosplay community, is a 43-year-old native of Buenos Aires with a rich and varied professional background. Starting her career in technology but shifted gears to pursue professional cosplay at 30 years old. Today, Lilia combines her ongoing passion for cosplay with her current roles in politics. She serves as the image advisor to political frontrunner Javier Milei and as a candidate for National Deputy with the La Libertad Avanza party.
background context
In Argentina’s recent Primary, Open, Simultaneous, and Mandatory (PASO) elections, economist Javier Milei emerged as the leading candidate, representing the La Libertad Avanza party. Known for his provocative and anti-establishment rhetoric, Milei has grabbed headlines with his aggressive style and critiques of the existing political class, labeling them as a “caste.” His policy proposals advocate for measures that range from dollarizing the Argentine economy and privatizing state-owned enterprises, to dismantling the Central Bank. Milei has also sparked debate for his controversial stances, such as legalizing the arms trade and organ sales in Argentina. For more information, visit BBC Mundo and the Buenos Aires Times.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — On August 13, 2023, I stood on stage at a gathering of our political party La Libertad Avanza [roughly translated it means The Freedom Advance]. The air buzzed with electricity, and I felt the crowd’s euphoria as we all reveled in our newfound status amongst Argentinian politics. The votes were in, and our party catapulted to first place in the presidential primary.

[On that day, political outsider Javier Milei beat out the country’s two main parties in the presidential primary – something previously unheard of. The Freedom Advance is a far-right, ultra-conservative political movement in Argentina that is sweeping support away from the two traditional parties. Some compare Milei to former U.S. President Donald Trump. Lilia, who serves as an image consultant for Milei, also announced her candidacy for National Deputy – a role similar to the Congress in the United States.]

On that Sunday, when the event ended, I retreated to my room for some solitude. I sank into the couch, still smiling, and flipped through the channels on the television. A sense of triumph swept through me as I watched the media’s reactions to our party’s win.

Read more stories out of Argentina at Orato World Media.

A belief system rooted in formative childhood experiences

When La Libertad Alvanza won the primary, on one hand I felt victorious. On the other, certain fears lingered. Given the state of politics in Argentina, would our supporters face repercussions for their votes? Could the government skew the official tally to diminish our support? I shook off those worries, turned off the television, and went outside. As I met people out on the streets who recognized me, I saw hope in their eyes. “We are winning,” I told them, gleefully. Their cheers filled the air and my confidence returned.

It is important that I remind myself why I am doing this. From the age of seven, my disdain for politicians took root. When my mother took me on grocery runs, I saw the effect of hyperinflation first-hand. She calculated percentages and sums, trying to deal with the soaring prices. It felt like a daily battle, and it came up in conversations everywhere. As a child, it felt like watching someone dance on quicksand – always moving but sinking anyway.

My family managed through it, but many did not. Some of our neighbors were barely scraping by. Their lives stood in stark contrast to our own. They lacked basic amenities like electricity and phones. My young heart shouted, “How can anyone turn a blind eye to their suffering?”

Then and there, a lifelong mistrust for politicians and an empathy for people rooted inside of me. As I climbed trees and played with toys in a house full of love and food, I could never escape the glaring inequities around me. It seemed to me those political leaders, cocooned in their little worlds, refused to address the obvious problems.

From young leader to cosplayer to image consultant, Lilia Lemoine follows a unique path to politics

Growing up, I never took the backseat. I attended a school with a gender ratio of about three girls to 30 boys. I stood taller than most, towering over my classmates. When kids were racing outside, I challenged the boys, and I often outpaced them. I evolved quickly into an unexpected, but undeniable, leader. The political aspect of that leadership came about in the seventh grade. For flag day, my teacher assigned me the task of reading a poem by Alfonsina Storni. [Storni was a famous poet in Argentina who criticized gender roles and spoke out about discrimination against women.]

I refused to read it. Instead, I penned my own speech and delivered it to my class without permission. My heart pounded from the thrill of it. The class applauded and I felt a jolt of validation, but I would soon learn a sobering lesson. Not everyone welcomed my ideas. The teachers scolded me, but I tuned them out. No one will ever dictate my voice.

Lilia Lemoine as another cosplay character | Photo Courtesy Lilia Lemoine

Other experiences defined my youth as well. Films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones riveted me. Special effects artists seemed like 21st Century magicians. I yearned to wield that magic myself. Many years later, at the age of 30, I found my entry point. I attended a cosplay event where the people dressed up like their favorite characters. It felt like I stepped into an alternate universe where creativity and self-expression became a living artform.

I took the plunge, sewed my costumes, and started hitting up conventions. The experience ignited a transformation. Seam by seam, I stitched together a new life, and I turned my passion into a profession. Today, I can bring fantasy worlds to life through costume. These skills also led me into image consulting and working with our presidential candidate.

Javier Milei ignited a fire in her: Lilia Lemoine steps on the political stage

In time, I began to think more politically. I felt alarmed by the rise of “cultural Marxism.” [People use the phrase cultural Marxism to refer to perceived “radical” political ideology with the aim of “undermining western social and cultural institutions and imposing a progressive agenda.”]

I took to social media to talk about it, hoping to spark critical thinking and dialogue. I navigated what felt like a digital battlefield, discussing urgent socioeconomic issues. While my opponents remained undeterred, I pushed forward to give space for silenced voices within our movement.

Lilia Lemoine and Javier Milei | Photo Courtesy Lilia Lemoine

Around this time, at a little pizzeria nearby, I overheard the name Javier Milei. Amidst the smell of melted cheese, the laughter, and the clinking glasses, a teenager mentioned a concept I hadn’t heard before: minarchism. Intrigued, I went home and by the glow of my computer screen, I scoured YouTube. [Minarchy is a model of state that is limited and minimal, dependent on libertarian theory.] When I found Milei, a litany of ideas ignited in my mind like fireworks.

Before Milei, I saw politics as a stage full of deceptive actors. His raw, uncompromising honesty led me to my calling – a moral imperative to act. Empowered by my own strong will, I stepped onto the political stage. After living in what felt like an endless dark tunnel, I found a glimmer of light.

Entrenched in the growing La Libertad Avanza party, Lilia sets her sights on congress

Blending my passion for cosplay with my admiration for Javier Milei, I invited him to an upcoming event and created a custom superhero costume for him to wear. When he enthusiastically accepted, I was over the moon.

The moment he saw his tailor-made outfit, his eyes lit up like a child unwrapping a gift. It felt like my dream came to life. This magical encounter deepened our bond and set the stage for my next challenge: becoming his personal image consultant.

Now, whether I am advising him to sport Wolverine-esque sideburns for his presidential campaign or helping him maintain his personal style, I have become an integral part of his public persona. Convinced he can lead Argentina as president, I decided to run for office too. Through cosplay, I navigate diverse roles. This is no different. I feel ready to immerse myself in the complex world of public service as a candidate for National Deputy [Argentina’s version of Congress] under the La Libertad party.

Stepping boldly into this new chapter of my life, my commitment to my country is unshakeable. I hope to make a transformative impact on our political landscape.

Translation Disclaimer

Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.

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