Ann Limpert
July 14, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

She’s a singer, she’s a dancer, she’s a…live-action anime girl? Manhattan-based Apollo Smile, 30, who dolls herself up as a self-created character in the style of Japanese animation, has just put out her second indie album, Wrecking Ball. She also mesmerizes her followers online (at official site and at a load of fan sites) and at sci-fi conventions with her one-woman blend of dance, martial arts, and sweetly fierce pop music. We got her to sit still for a few questions.

What inspired you to create the persona of a live-action anime girl?
There’s a character called Iria who is my absolute favorite Japanese animated character — she’s very cute, powerful, strong, independent. But then there’s Sigourney Weaver of Alien, and it even bounces off the whole Barbarella feel from the ’60s. My whole vibe is blending all those elements with Star Trek and Star Wars.

I assume Apollo Smile isn’t your given name….
My given name [Paula Scharf] wasn’t star material. I legally changed it 12 years ago. Social Security, IRS, the whole nine.

What were you for Halloween?
The ninja fairy. I dressed up in my ninja costume and then I had these really pretty pink-and-white fluffy, feathery, ethereal wings off my back.

Can you open your mouth and eyes as wide as anime characters?
I have a pretty big mouth, I’d say. Maybe not to the point where the lips go over the ears, but yeah.

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