Dressed from head to toe in frills and pretty bows, Lolita Fahr Sindram looks a picture of femininity.
But on days when she isn’t wearing cutesy dresses and dolly shoes, Fahr dresses as a male comic book character.
Gender neutral Fahr, who is genetically female, splits every day between being dressed as Marvel super-villain Loki and a sweet Lolita princess.
The 34-year-old says the two personas allow her to explore life as both a masculine male and a feminine female in the most extreme ways – and she has spent almost £20,000 on her two looks.
Fahr says, ‘I just know I am somewhere in the middle and there are days when I feel more like a man and other days I’m more drawn to more look like a woman.
‘I dress extreme because I am very extreme on the inside. My imagination is absolutely wild. I have to have an outlet.’
Fahr, who lives in Edinburgh, had a liberal upbringing in Berlin, Germany, and was encouraged by her parents to express herself regardless of gender stereotypes.
In her late 20s she began to feel torn between masculinity and femininity and five years ago she decided to do away with gender all together.
‘I had good days where I felt, “Oh this is great, this is princess, this is really cool, I feel like a girl, I look perfect,”’ says Fahr.
‘And then I had days where I was like, “I feel like I’m an imposter, I feel like I am a man pretending to be a woman in a dress.”
‘Five years ago I just said to myself, “I will not identify with female gender anymore.”’
Now Fahr spends at least an hour every morning assessing whether she feels like a man or a woman.
She spends her ‘man days’ dressed as Loki, and has even shaved her hairline to look like actor Tom Hiddleston, who plays the character in the Hollywood movies.
On her ‘girly days’, Fahr dons a sleek wig and puts on a twee Lolita-style dress from her £12,000 collection.
‘Some days I wake up and it’s a girl day and some days I wake up and it’s a boy day,’ explains Fahr.
‘When I wear Loki I try to be a little bit like sexy and I flirt with all the girls. When I wear Lolita I often try and behave like a lady.’
Fahr has been dressing in Japanese Lolita fashion since 2009.
She first started cosplaying as Loki for fun in 2011 and she gradually became famous online for her likeness to the character.
Fahr now has 100,000 online followers and admits that the character has become an obsession.
She has spent over £7,000 on her Loki outfits and is now hoping to have a nose job to complete the look.
Worryingly, she even admits to starving herself in the past to achieve the lean look of the character – at one point living on just apples and coffee.
‘Loki for me is like an escape to hyper-masculinity. Lolita on the other hand is for me to feel pretty.’
Despite the benefits of her lifestyle, Fahr admits that there are negatives to living through made up characters and says she has lost sense of her own identity.
Last year she suffered a breakdown because she ‘didn’t know who she was anymore’.
Fahr shaved off all of her hair in an attempt to start afresh, but without her long Loki locks she began to feel even more lost.
‘It was a bad decision because after that I felt like I was not me, not him. Not anything,’ admits Fahr.
‘Of course I knew I wasn’t a Norse God but I’d lost my sense of self.’
Now Fahr tries to spend some time in neutral clothes and feels more comfortable as herself.
Fahr met her partner William through a cosplay chat room three years ago.
And William understands Fahr’s gender issues better than most.
The 36-year-old teacher identifies as a transgender male, and is supportive of Fahr’s lifestyle.
William says: ‘I do feel like I have a boyfriend and girlfriend and that is fantastic. Personally, I think everyone should be free to be who they are.
‘I feel a lot better presenting as male and living as male every day but that is not the case for everyone and I think Fahr is a lot more complicated and has more difficulty than me actually because it can be changed from day to day.
‘I actually love both. I have no preference between the two. Most of all I love Fahr as Fahr.’