Zara Fenn (Original Twi’lek Character) – Star Wars

Zara Fenn is the result of wanting to make a Twi’lek character and wanting to make an original character that fell into the Star Wars sequel trilogy timeframe. First, Zara’s backstory:

Zara Fenn was born in 2 ABY on Ryloth. Her parents were Liana Fenn and Koro Fenn. Koro was a trader and traveled a lot, so he wasn’t around much, but he was a good father when he was home. Liana worked as an artisan, but developed a horrible illness when Zara was 15 and could no longer work. She started smuggling when she discovered certain hard-to-find (and sometimes illegal) substances alleviated Liana’s pain, and the only way to acquire these were through underground smuggling and trading. She was her mother’s primary caregiver until she passed away in 26 ABY when Zara was 24.

After her mother passed away, Zara immersed herself into smuggling full-time, picking up odd jobs here and there. She spent a lot of time at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana, which is where she picked up most of her smuggling jobs. She befriended a lot of other smugglers, rogues, and pirates there.

In 34 ABY, Zara’s father Koro was killed on Cardota when the First Order destroyed the Hosnian system. He was only there for a short time for a trading job.

When the First Order nearly eradicated the entirety of the Resistance, the remaining members established a temporary base on Rakata Prime. They continued to send communication to other planets and systems to find allies who could potentially be recruited. As allies began to respond and agree to join the Resistance, General Organa needed to transport the new recruits to the Resistance base undetected.

A member of the Resistance traveled to Takodana to ask Maz for her recommendations for a smuggler who could safely transport recruits from their home planets to the new base on Rakata Prime. Maz recommended Zara Fenn, and Zara accepted the offer. Zara initially agreed because it was “just another job,” but after working with the Resistance for a short while, she realized she agreed with their goal to end the First Order and restore peace in the galaxy. She officially joined the Resistance, and continued to use her smuggling skills to help them rebuild and recruit.

Random Facts:

  • “Fenn” is Twi’leki for “Hardworking.”
  • Zara adopted one of the Porgs that nested on the Millennium Falcon. She named him Poy (Twi’leki for “wings”), and he accompanied her on her travels.
  • She liked knitting and embroidery, both skills she learned from her mother.
  • Zara was ambidextrous.
  • Her favorite planet to visit was Kashyyyk. She’s learned a bit of Shyriiwook, so she could communicate fairly well with Wookiees.

Now, onto the build of the costume!

Lekku: Pre-colored silicone Lekku from TwilekPam in “Endura Pink.”

Face/Body Paint: European Body Art’s Endura alcohol-based paint in Pink. (More info about the paint application process and the makeup I used can be found here).

Jacket: Black Rivet moto mock collar faux-leather jacket from Wilson’s Leather. I sewed on a Rebel Alliance patch onto the left upper arm.

Shirt: Just a plain grey scoop-neck tee from Target.

Jeans: Black skinny jeans from Torrid.

Boots: The same Teva Capistrano boots I use for my Poe Dameron costume.

Belt: I used the same belt buckle that I used for my Poe Dameron costume, but bought a black leather belt strap to use with it instead.

Goggles: I bought a pair of costume aviator goggles from Amazon.

Head Wrap: I made the head wrap using black faux leather upholstery fabric. (More information can be found here.)

Holster: I bought an amazing Poe Dameron/Resistance Pilot holster from DarmansProps.

Blaster: I repainted a Glie-44 Nerf blaster. (More information and photos can be found here.)

Pouch: I used the same leather pouch I used for my Kaiya Liin costume.

Gloves: I used the same black leather gloves I used for my General Hux and Kylo Ren costumes.

Poy: Poy the Porg is one of the Underground Toys Action Porg plushes. But don’t tell him that…he thinks he’s real.

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Zara Fenn (Twi’lek) Makeup

Putting together my Zara Fenn costume was my first foray into body paint and wearing silicone noodles on top of my head. If you’re going to try something new, might as well go all out, right?

The incredibly talented TwilekPam ran a sale on her pre-colored silicone Lekku, and I jumped at the chance to buy a set (Is that the term? Set? Pair??) in my second favorite color, pink! (Favorite color is pumpkin orange, but I digress.) When they arrived, I was so smitten! Putting them on the first time was…weird. It’s a weird feeling having wobbly noodles coming off the top of your head. I scared the bajeezus out of my cats. My boyfriend said they looked like a weird sex toy. That aside, the construction was absolutely perfect, and the color was vivid and consistent.

My only concern was the fit. I have a small head (21″ circumference, if that) and the Lekku just started slipping off my head. I have very short, thin hair so there’s just nothing for the Lekku to grip onto. I put on a wig cap, and that didn’t make much of a difference. I took out some of the expanding foam, and that didn’t do the trick, either.

I made a headband out of two layers of thick muslin fabric and some elastic to give the Lekku something to grip onto (and, it also helps with sweating – gross, I know, but what do you expect when your head is encased in silicone?) as well as adding another layer under the Lekku. That helped, but not quite enough. Then, one of the other Twi’leks in the Minnesota Force suggested using Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Tape to help grip the Lekku. I gave it a try and it works really, really well. I just stuck a 3″ (or so) length of tape on my forehead and the Lekku gripped onto the tape. Because the tape is waterproof, it didn’t budge at all while I was wearing it for several hours. Adding the head wrap and goggles over the Lekku helped fully secure the Lekku to my head.

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When I finally got the Lekku sorted out, it was time to tackle the body paint.

The best part of buying pre-colored Lekku from Pam is that she lists the exact paint she used to dye the silicone. In my case, the corresponding paint was European Body Art’s Endura alcohol-based paint in Pink. Applying it with an airbrush is best, but I don’t have an airbrush and I didn’t really want to invest in one just yet. Someone told me about the Preval Spray System, which is essentially a glass jar that you attach a spray can to, and it turns any paint into spray paint. It’s inexpensive, so I thought I could at least try it and see how it worked. The results were really, really good. I was able to apply an even coat of paint to my face, neck, and a little around my lower neck and shoulders without any major issues. The only difficult part was trying to get the paint around my eyes, certain parts of my nose, and around my mouth. I ended up ordering European Body Art’s Vibe water-based paint in Pink and I’m hoping that is a close enough match. I’m going to try using a cosmetic sponge to apply that in the hard-to-paint areas since it won’t dry as quickly as the alcohol-based paint. (Check back in a couple weeks when I give this a go and I’ll let you know how it worked.) I used NYX SFX Setting Powder to seal everything (although I probably didn’t need to).

I added some contouring by using the pinks from the NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette in Brights. I used the glittery red color on my eyelids. I also used some of the shimmery white eyeshadow from the NYX Avant Pop! Eyeshadow Palette to highlight my brow bones. I used a black felt-tip eyeliner and black mascara as well.

For my lips, I used NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner in Stone Fox, and NYX Wicked Lippies in Cold Hearted.

For my eyebrows, I used NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Black and NYX Build ‘Em Up Brow Powder in Black.

I didn’t realize until I started putting this post together that I used so many NYX products! What can I say? They’re affordable and good quality, and most of their products come in a wide range of colors.

I’m (Finally) a 501st Legion Member!

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When I first started my foray into Star Wars costumes a couple of years ago, the thought of joining the 501st Legion or Rebel Legion was just unfathomable. I know my limits as a costumer, and I have a LOT to learn and a lot of room to grow. That said, I really wanted to do more with my costumes than just attend conventions…but I knew none of my costumes would fit the strict standards of the Legions.

I was then told about the Minnesota Force, which is a Minnesota-based Star Wars fan club that has multiple facets: gaming, a book club, a collector’s club, a makers group, and an art and illustration group. The makers group (which consists of people who make Star Wars costumes) does a lot of charity events in costume in conjunction with the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion. There’s a lot of crossover with the Star Wars costuming groups in Minnesota: the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion get along and do events together, and the majority of the events those groups are invited to are also extended to the Minnesota Force. I joined the Minnesota Force at the end of 2016, and I started volunteering in costume. Things picked up momentum pretty fast. I was doing at least two events per month (usually more), I started working on more Star Wars costumes, and I became friends with so many of the members of the group. A lot of the members are also members of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion. As I got to know everyone better, I started thinking that maybe I could make joining the Legions one of my goals.

I decided that my first Legion costume goal would be to get General Hux approved in the 501st Legion. I had my temporary costume (Version 1 that I wore for almost a year) and ended up commissioning a proper costume because I knew my skill level was not at the caliber I needed to make a screen-accurate costume myself. I received my costume a couple of weeks ago and submitted my application last week. Last night, I received a response that said I was accepted to the 501st Legion as the Central Garrison‘s very first General Hux. I’m incredibly happy to be part of a great volunteer organization, and I’m so excited to continue trooping with them, the Rebel Legion, and the Minnesota Force.

When you join the 501st Legion, you choose a member number that stays with you forever. When I chose mine, I decided to honor my mum by choosing 40138 – her birthdate was April 1, 1938. My mum was always so supportive of my creative endeavors and put up with my silliness as a child when I would wear my Halloween costumes months after Halloween was over, or when I would take old clothes and come up with some ridiculous “monster” costume and try to scare everyone, or when I’d make her wear whatever Halloween costume I wanted to put her in (like the Statue of Liberty, or a punk rocker). And, in recent years, she would ask to see photos from my volunteering events, and of my progress photos, and hear about whatever project I was working on. Last summer when she was in her last few weeks of life, she told me to keep volunteering at events (even though I told her I would cancel and spend time with her, if she wanted me to). She thought what I did was “so cool” (her words) and so I promised I’d keep volunteering and I’d keep making costumes. She knew how much I wanted to be part of the Legions, and so I wanted to honor her by choosing a number that would always make me think of her.

My next goal is to join the Rebel Legion (hopefully with Admiral Ackbar, or maybe Poe Dameron if I finish up a few things in my costume), and eventually make a costume to submit for 501st approval. But, for now, I’m just going to bounce around my house with excitement for achieving one of my goals.

General Hux – Star Wars: The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi

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Tunic: I commissioned the tunic from Vanya Yount.

Trousers: I commissioned the trousers from Vanya Yount.

Greatcoat: I’m using the greatcoat that was part of the set I bought from CosplaySky until I can commission a nicer one.

Belt: I commissioned a belt from Vanya Yount.

Hat: I commissioned a hat from Katie Keith. I purchased a First Order pin from Short Supply.

Boots: I bought a pair of Lauren Ralph Lauren Stara boots from eBay and took the tabs off of the shaft of the boots.

Gloves: I bought a pair of women’s black leather gloves from Kohl’s, but they unfortunately no longer sell them.

Blaster: I painted a 3D printed version of Hux’s blaster. (Photos can be seen here.)

Holster: I commissioned a Hux blaster holster from Mad Props Cosplay.

Sideburns: I use my reusable sideburns method. I replace my sideburns whenever they start to look a little shabby.

Campaign Against Cancer

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Costumers: Nick Hickmann, Jennifer McNitt, Madeline Anderson, Chuck Visger, Alex Hall, Pari Elizabeth, Trevor Bailey, Amanda Fineran, Paul Haga, Kris Heding, and Eric Hanson.

On April 7, we attended the Campaign Against Cancer event at Fantasy Flight Games Center. Those who wanted to compete in the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures gaming campaign would pay an admission fee, and the fee was donated to the American Cancer Society. Pretty cool!

Minefaire 2018

We were invited to have an information table at Minefaire on March 17th and 18th. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and surprisingly there were a lot of people who stopped by our table to talk about the various Star Wars fan and costuming clubs. By the end of the day on Sunday, we were pretty much cleared out of the trading cards and brochures we brought along. I’d say it was a successful event!

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Just pretend we’re in the same movie. Costumers: Madeline Anderson and Kris Heding.

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Force Fighting. Costumers: Madeline Anderson and Kris Heding.

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Preparing for battle! Costumers: Kris Heding and Madeline Anderson.

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We were going for a “Last Jedi” throne room fight scene, but I’m not sure if we nailed it or failed it. Costumers: Kris Heding and Madeline Anderson.

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Joining forces, for a little bit, I guess. Costumers: Madeline Anderson and Kris Heding.

MarsCon 2018

On March 2nd and 3rd, I attended MarsCon! It was a good time and I got to spend a lot of time with some friends.

Friday

I dug out my Scarlet Witch costume for the first time in a very long time! It was really fun to wear it again, and when I posted this photo to Facebook, a lot of people didn’t recognize me. Guess it’s kind of weird to see me with long hair.

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Wigs make all the difference, I guess!

I stopped by the photobooth and had some nice shots taken of my costume by Scott Saniti:

Later in the evening, Lindsey took some nifty photos, playing around with my “hex magic”:

Saturday

On Saturday, I was part of two panels. The first one was “Cleavage Optional: Gender, Cosplay, and Genderbending Cosplay” and my fellow panelists were Justin Grays and Bridget Landry.

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The first half of the panel went really well, and then an audience member asked a question about why genderbent cosplay is okay, but wearing makeup to change your ethnicity is not okay? In case anyone is wondering, this is what I look like when I’m trying not to channel Kylo Ren and flip a table over:

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[screaming internally] – Thanks to Marie Porter for the photo.

Justin responded with tact and grace, and we moved on from that subject. Thankfully. Good lord. (You can listen to the audio of the panel here.)

Later in the evening, I was part of the “Star Wars: The Costumes” panel with Todd Murray, Jennifer McNitt, and Eve Zabronsky. That one went well, even though the majority of the audience were friends of ours.

The rest of Saturday was a bunch of shenanigans where Matt and I took “Father and Son” photos as Han and Kylo, and then Lindsey took some awesome photos of my Kylo costume. See below the cut for a dump of silly and awesome photos!

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