Shirtless Kylo Ren (“Ben Swolo”) – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This epic photo taken by Alex Hall.

Ever since I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “Randomly Shirtless Kylo Ren” has been my favorite thing from the movie (after Porgs, of course). I was living for the #kylorenchallenge on Instagram, and the “Ben Swolo” memes that took over the internet for about a week. So, when a friend found a ridiculous shirtless men’s chest piece and asked if I wanted him to pick it up for me, I said, “YES!”

Chest Piece: I don’t remember the brand, but it’s just a plastic chest piece from a costume store that cost $8.

Bodysuit: I bought this nude leotard to wear underneath the chest piece.

Wig, Leggings, Boots, Lightsaber & Makeup: All borrowed from my Kylo Ren costume.

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Clan Techie (Dredd 2012) – 2000 AD

Costumers: Kris Heding and Paul Haga.

I don’t know how it started, but it became a sort of running joke that I should start making cosplays for characters played by Domhnall Gleeson (I’m getting asked by my Potterhead friends to make a Bill Weasley costume, even though Harry Potter isn’t one of my fandoms, but I digress). I don’t know why – I guess when you make a General Hux costume, it just becomes A Thing? Anyway, my friend Paul has an awesome Judge Dredd costume, and I thought, “What the heck? Let’s run with this” and decided to make a Clan Techie costume – Domhnall’s character in Dredd 2012. It’s a pretty obscure character that I knew people wouldn’t recognize (even walking around with Dredd), but it was something different and kind of a fun challenge.

Shirt: This was probably one of the most time-consuming parts of the costume. The shirt is made up of three different shirts, and then I had to weather the heck out of it. You can read about the process here.

Shorts: I bought a pair of olive green cargo shorts from Target, and then distressed them by attacking them with a seam ripper and sandpaper.

Shoes: This was the other time-consuming part, and you can read about the process here.

Wig: I bought this wig from Pose Wigs and didn’t really have to do anything to it except skip brushing it when I wear it.

Makeup: This was probably the most fun (and strange) makeup I’ve ever had to do for a costume. You can read about the process here.

Peggy Carter (Captain America: The First Avenger) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

Peggy_Alt1

Captain America: The First Avenger is one of my favorite movies, and I immediately fell in love with Peggy Carter the first time I saw the film. Sure, she’s Steve’s “best girl,” but she is incredibly intelligent, capable, powerful, and a complete badass. She’s no damsel in distress, and that’s what I love about her.

Jacket/Jacket Belt/Skirt: I bought the Peggy Carter costume from CosplaySky and didn’t expect much, but it ended up being really nice. The blouse and belt for the skirt were not quite the quality I wanted, but the jacket, jacket belt, and skirt were all great. I removed the SSR “pins” from the jacket because they weren’t pins: they were just sewn-on fabric.

SSR Pins: I bought this pair of pins from eBay.

White Shirt: I bought this ASU shirt (probably not quite screen accurate, but better quality than the shirt that came with the rest of the costume).

Skirt Belt: Even though you can’t see it because it’s hidden under the jacket, I bought a brown belt that looks pretty close to the one she wears in the film. This is the belt I bought, but it doesn’t appear to be available in brown anymore.

Tie: I bought a WWII replica chocolate brown officer’s tie from eBay.

Shoes: I bought these shoes in “Chestnut” from JCPenney.

Wig: I bought the Aries wig from Epic Cosplay Wigs in “Dark Brown” and did a ton of styling to it. It’s not quite right, but it’s close (for now).

Lipstick: I bought the screen-accurate Besame Cosmetics lipstick in “Red Velvet.” It’s by far my favorite shade of red I’ve ever worn, and I wear it a lot!

Nail Polish: I bought the screen-accurate O.P.I. nail polish in “Cinnamon Sweet.” It was a limited run, so it’s not terribly easy to find, but I bought an unopened bottle on eBay.

Nylons: I just wear a pair of nude nylons with the costume – even though I probably should have seamed nylons.

Captain America Shield: And, because I just look like a WWII costumer if I’m not standing next to a Captain America costumer, I carry around a Captain America shield so people have some context as to who I am. I bought the Marvel Legends Captain America shield. It’s no longer produced, but they’re still pretty easy to find on eBay.

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Halloween 2018

Even way before I got into costuming as my major hobby, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. I still love it, even now that I’m in costume almost more than I’m not. The past couple of years my costumes have been just ridiculous (last year I was Business Cat – just me in business attire wearing a giant cat head) and this year was no exception.

A friend found these ridiculous plastic men’s chestpieces in a shop and showed me a photo, and I asked him to pick one up for me. I had Big Plans for it.

BenSwolo

Oh, hello.

For anyone who has seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you may remember the odd scene in which Kylo Ren “Force Skypes” with Rey and he’s just…standing there, oiled-up and shirtless?! It was such an odd moment in the film, and it launched the #benswolochallenge on Instagram where people hiked up their black pants to their ribcage, took off their shirts, and looked like a Space Pinup Bad Boy. My plan was to take this and run with it and strive for ridiculousness.

I bought a nude-colored leotard to wear as a base, and then basically my entire Kylo Ren costume (minus the tunic, vest, and cape) with the stupid fake chest attached to my front, and then hiked up my leggings so far up that I’m pretty sure my pants could have doubled as a bra. The result?

‘Sup, Rey?

Kylo, no. Costumers: Kris Heding and Jordan West.

I SAID, ‘SUP, REY.

The most majestic photo ever taken of me, thank you to Alex Hall.

And then we made a fun video because my sense of humor is odd. (Costumers: Kris Heding, Madeline Anderson, and Jordan West.)

Halloween 2018

It was a pretty epic Halloween.

Peggy Carter Makeup & Costume Test

I put together this costume pretty fast, which I was not expecting. I thought it would be more difficult to find the different parts of the costume, but it was a lot easier than I anticipated.

The most difficult part was the wig styling, and mostly just because I’ve never done a 1940s hairstyle before. I used the “Aries” wig from Epic Cosplay Wigs in Dark Brown. I started off by curling the entire wig with some larger foam rollers, and then basically followed this video tutorial for styling. I did end up stitching in the combs on the sides because combs just don’t seem to hold well in wig hair (and I wasn’t about to back comb this wig and potentially damage it) and I think it works alright. We’ll see after I wear it for a while. The victory roll is held in place with a bunch of bobby pins.

The main costume is from Cosplay Sky, and I didn’t have to do anything to tailor the jacket and skirt except take the cheap lapel emblems off and replace them with metal SSR pins. The shirt it came with was kind of a cheap, satin-y shirt that definitely didn’t look like a military shirt, so I ended up ordering a women’s white military shirt. It also didn’t come with a tie, so I ordered a replica WWII tie. The shoes are a pair of chestnut-colored pumps I bought from JCPenney that looked pretty period-accurate.

The makeup was fun to do! 1940s makeup is pretty toned down, so all it really took was some subtle eyeshadow, some black eyeliner, pink blush, and screen-accurate red lipstick (Besame lipstick in Red Velvet). I also have the screen-accurate nail polish (O.P.I. “Cinnamon Sweet”) but I didn’t put that on for my test photos.

I’m holding my cheap $20 Captain America shield in this photo, but I did order a really nice Marvel Legends shield that will be coming soon that I’ll carry around instead. I figure if I have that, people will have a better idea of who I’m supposed to be since I won’t be wandering around with a Captain America costumer all the time.

All in all, I’m really happy with how this looks and I can’t wait to debut it at MCBA Fall ComiCon in October!

Techie Makeup Test

Last week, I did a Techie makeup test run. I have improvements to make next time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

I started with my usual base foundation/concealer/powder. For the eyes, I used a bunch of different eyeshadows. The bruising effect was a mix of the darker purple from the NYX Cosmetics “Brights” Ultimate Shadow Palette and the blue from the Huda Beauty “Electric” Obsessions Palette. The pinkish-red is Manic Panic “Vampire Red” eyeshadow. It’s incredibly hard to find a good, bright red eyeshadow. Everything is either too pink or too burgundy. I’m not even sure I’m totally happy with this shade, but seeing as my choices are limited, I’ll stick with it for now.

For the eyebrows, I used some of the bright yellow from the Huda Beauty “Electric” Obsessions Palette first (for some reason, Techie’s eyebrows look kind of yellow in the movie, and I don’t know if it’s just the saturation of color or what) and then filled in with my go-to for red eyebrows, NYX Cosmetics 3-in-1 Brow Pencil in “Auburn.”

I attempted some contouring that ended up being waaaay too much when I look at the photos now, so I’ll definitely go more subtle next time.

For my lips, I used NYX Lip Primer in Nude to kind of give them a pale, colorless look. Then, I used a pinkish lip pencil to sort of add some color back in toward the center of my lips.

The forehead tattoo was drawn on with a navy blue eyeliner pencil (and, let me tell you, that’s hard to do in a mirror).

I don’t have contacts to make my eyes look bionic/mechanical (I have astigmatism in my left eye so costume contacts are a little difficult) but my eyes are dark enough blue that hopefully they still look kinda creepy with the rest of the makeup.

I did have a blast doing this makeup test because it’s so unlike anything else I’ve ever done. I can’t wait to debut this costume!

Of course, I had to ham it up for a couple photos because I can’t take anything seriously.