Beauty and the Beast (news segment)

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Presenter Nathalie Ducharme really got into the fursuiting

Beauty and the Beast was an episode of the Culture Shock segment of CBC Newsworld, broadcast in November 2003. The episode was presented by Nathalie Ducharme, and much of the time was spent covering Howloween 2003. The general tone of the segment was "odd, but fun".


I am told by a reliable source that furries can be found in Vancouver. But, what is a furry? My enquiring mind wants to know.

"Uhhh, is it a transportation device, like a ship, or something like that?"

"I think it's the name of a food?"

"An animal that is furry?"

Does this look like a furry? - *shot of plush toys* - Or what about this? And where do you find these furries?

"I think you can find furries at, uh, many stores, at a shopping mall, maybe, if you look around."

Hmm. I'm not sure that's what I'm looking for. - *cut to shot of fursuiter* - Finally, I hit the jackpot.

"I think it's just a name that, uh, just come to stand for a bunch of folks who just enjoy the artistry around animation, just general artwork, costuming and performance work, kinda like the mascots you'll find at theme parks."

Furries, it seems, are a strange breed of people who love cartoons, and dress up as cartoon characters." - *shots of Redwall book covers* - I stumbled across members of the furry subculture while surfing the Internet one lonely night. They were about to leave the safety of their virtual world for a get-together at a real Vancouver hotel.

"OK, welcome to the party, come on in!" - *shots of fursuited dancing*

Half human, half teddy-bear, these folks come from every walk of life. They check their ego at the door to do what furries do. They talk the latest trends in fashion and in the arts. They play video games, and discuss comic books where furry characters are the heroes. For these comic book enthusiasts, dressing up is a hobby. A little unusual, you might say.

"I think it's just the idea of, for me, performance. I like to kinda goof around maybe dressed up as a character, but the idea really being that you can help other people, maybe brighten somebody's day with a character performance. It's just good fun, a good hobby."

Some of these furries get paid to entertain at parties and conventions. Most just do it for fun, though.

"Some folks actually make their own costumes. Some folks do buy them - I mean, a lot of the professional mascot companies will sell them. I made my costume myself. It took me a while to do it, and it's like, a lot of tries and stuff, but it's been a good hobby. Some people, I guess, collect stamps - other folks express themselves differently, quite a bit differently, so . . ."

The Internet is a vital link in the furry community. Chat rooms and newsgroups feed the growth of subcultures. To my surprise, I found that many artists were hiding under these costumes.

  • short cut to Japan*

The furry phenomenom ma have begun in Japan, where comic books have cult status. Some artists suit up, and take their art to the streets.

"J'mappelle Elisa Sateau"

Elisa Sateau is a Japanese performance artist. She creates characters and takes them to the street to provoke public reaction. Canadian furries also base some of their characters on famous Japanese comic books, and japanimation characters. Some draw their inspiration from Japanese mythology. If you've come to the conclusion that this furry business is a bit strange, well, you're not alone.

"People look at a, a giant mascot character walking around - sometimes people will chuckle, they'll laugh - and that's OK; I mean, that's part of the fun, you get to goof around, make people laugh. It's, it's you know, a lot of fun for a lot of people. And yeah, it's not everybody's cup of tea, but eh, that's just part of the fun."

Maybe, deep down, there is a furry in all of us. We have all grown up loving a stuffed animal, a TV cartoon, or a comic book character. The furries like to display this love in a more public way. - Shot of lion fursuiter dancing, then revealing themselves as the presenter - So, next time you bump into a goofy character at the ball park or at the mall, just think about who may be hiding inside. Could it be a furry? You could be pleasantly surprised!

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