She’s a stranger to our world, and an exile from our own. And she's not going to let anyone get in her way... Ever since we first met Starfire in the pilot episode of DC Universe’s Titans, Kory Anders has shown she’s not your typical alien or superhero. We recently had a chance to sit down with Anna Diop, who brings Kory to life every week on the hit show, and she gave us the inside scoop on the alien princess refugee. Why is Kory on the run? What draws Dick and Kory to each other? How do you pull off a kickass Starfire cosplay? Read on for the answers to these questions and more!
What was your earliest exposure to the DC Universe and its characters?
As a kid coming across Batman, and Superman, and Wonder Woman. That was probably my earliest exposure. But I guess I was never a comic book person, per se, until this role came along. Then I was like, "Why haven’t I been?" I understand now why people are so in love with these characters. They’re written with such humanity that people can relate to them. I think they give people a lot of hope too, which is beautiful... I get it now. I think it’s a really awesome thing for people to have something they connect to and have a lot of fun with.
In researching the TItans comics, what in particuar made you think, "Gosh, I’d love to portray this"?
One thing that really stood out that I just found adorable was, in one of the comic books, Starfire is just not understanding sarcasm or exaggeration or irony. I just thought that was so adorable, considering what she’s capable of physically, and how she can, in one moment, be so sweet and innocent, and naive and bubbly, and in the next, literally burn you up in ashes. I thought that that was so cool. Like, how fun and interesting a woman and a character, to have these dual sides to her that are both very equally her own truth.
She has a sincerity, and lacks the filters so many of us have. Is that especially satisfying? It seems like it gives you a wide range of emotions to play.
Totally. I think our poor directors and editors will definitely agree with the fact that I just try a lot of stuff in my scenes, because Starfire’s world is so big. Because she doesn’t have these kind of filters and restrictions to how she behaves. So it’s like an actor’s playground. It’s fun to just be able to really try anything. And sometimes it works, because she’s alien, so she can kind of get away with a lot more. She’s fun and she’s bubbly, and she’s sincere and lovely, but also a complete and utter unapologetic badass when she needs to be. What’s better? It’s the best of both worlds in one person.
As for her relationship with Dick, they have one of the most legendary romances in comics history. From your perspective, what draws them to each other?
I think it’s that old adage that opposites attract, right? Especially in our series, Dick is kind of straight and narrow, and very type-A. Not strict, but there’s a tightness to him. And there’s a looseness and freedom to Starfire, and I think they’re both attracted to those opposing things in one another. They feel at home with each other -- oddly, because they’re so different. I think that’s what love is, just feeling at home with someone. They found that with each other, and whether it continues to be something romantic or not, I think they’ll always have this respect and love and adoration for one another.
How do you view Kory's relationship with the rest of the team? She's been a big sister to Raven and a friend and partner to Donna.
Yeah, with Donna it feels like they're best friends. She has a lot of respect for Donna, and they go back and forth, like in episode 2 [of season 2]. In the scene with the donuts, we try to show in 15 seconds what their banter looks like, and how they just kind of tease each other. I think they’re very much equals in that sense. And with Raven, yeah, she's a much, much older, bigger sister, and she feels very protective over Raven. There’s a line in season 1 when she’s speaking to Donna, and she says, "Look after Raven, she needs special care." So she just feels protective over Raven, and really loves her, and just wants her to be okay.
The journey that she’s on this season is pretty fascinating. How would you describe what drove her from her home planet to Earth?
I think Starfire ran away from home because of the immense pressures and responsibility that were about to become hers. But now, it’s catching up with her, and she has to confront these responsibilities that she’s been running from, because it’s not pretty, and she knows that, and it’s gotten a lot worse, as we’ll learn throughout the rest of the season. Sometimes there’s only so much she can run away from, certain responsibilities, and her time is kind of close to an end now. It’s coming up. She can’t run anymore.
She does come with a mission to -- as we learned in the first season -- destroy Raven, but finds an alternative way with which to do that. But her time’s up. She has to go back and do this thing that she’s been destined to do, but that she is really, really bummed about having to go do.
What’s been the coolest thing so far about the fans’ reaction to your Starfire?
I’ve honestly, and this is the most truthful thing I’ll say all day, I’ve been so moved and inspired by the reaction to my playing Kory. I get a lot of messages from fans of color, people that weren’t even comic book fans, that are now tuning in to the show, people in the LGBTQ community... Because I think Kory represents what it is to be different, and to not fit in. She’s alien, and the fact that I was cast I think has meant a lot to those groups of people, and it’s not lost on me; and I’m so grateful for their support and for their love. I love them all the way back, and I hope to just keep making them proud. Yeah, I’ve been incredibly moved and deeply honored, honestly, to play this role.
One last question -- do you have any advice on what Starfire cosplayers can do to make sure they're on point?
Don’t forget the purple. Make sure it’s shining or sparkly, and let loose and have fun. That’s all she’s about!