At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, she debuted her fancy Death Star dress complete with galaxy tights and a TIE Interceptor hair accessory! StarWars.com chats with Jennifer about her Imperial couture that would make even Darth Vader smitten.
Why did you decide to make a cute dress of the Death Star?
For months I couldn’t decide what I wanted to cosplay as! I just knew I wanted to do a quirky take on someone or something from the Star Wars universe. I had seen a Death Star costume before and loved the idea of cosplaying as a thing instead of a person. I love personifying objects! So when I saw Robin E. Kaplan’s adorable print of a girl dressed as a Death Star, I freaked out. Her Death Star character was so cute and feminine and anything but a scary super weapon! After that, I knew I had to go as Miss Death Star.
How did you come up with the design?
I wanted the costume to have a space-age yet retro feel! So I decided to make the Death Star more like an exaggerated bubble skirt. I cut the skirt so it was a shorter length and chose a form-fitting bodice. For me, it was important to keep the whole look feminine and flattering. When I was designing the costume, I came up with the character “Miss Death Star.” I imagined her to be a cross between Ethel Merman and Judy Garland. I know, it’s a little strange but the fun part about cosplaying is really getting into character!
How did you make it? What materials did you use?
I like using non-fabric items to create clothing! It’s like a Project Runway challenge! I papier-mached a jumbo beach ball since the shape had to be perfectly round. Once it was dry, I deflated it, cut it in half, and spray-painted it gray. For the superlaser dish, I cut out a hole in the skirt and inserted a plastic bowl. I created the detail on the Death Star by cutting out pieces of craft foam and gluing it to the skirt. I painted the craft foam charcoal and added yellow dots to mimic the lights on the space station. For the equatorial trench, I used black fabric tape and lined the bottom of the skirt. My top was a black corset and I hand-painted the piping gray to match the skirt. I also painted tiny stars on my black tights to create stars in the galaxy!
What were some of the challenges you had in making the dress?
Oh man, there were times when I thought the skirt wouldn’t work. Originally, I tried making the skirt out of a giant soccer ball pinata! That was a disaster because the actual structure of the pinata wasn’t perfectly round. I couldn’t find a balloon large enough so I ended up using a beach ball instead. Another challenge was actually getting into the skirt! You can’t sew a zipper onto papier mache! In the end, I cut slits on the back and sides and then used black ribbon to tie it together. It wasn’t a perfect solution but it worked temporarily and the skirt is still in tact! Thank goodness!
You have lots of cute little details as part of the costume too! Talk a little about the TIE Interceptor hair accessory.
Thanks! I totally felt like Lady Gaga wearing it! I originally wanted to use a TIE Fighter but every model I found was too big for my head. I would have toppled over! I ended up using a Micro Machines TIE Interceptor. I made the headband using elastic and anchored the TIE Interceptor with fishing wire to a metal strip underneath the elastic. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I sometimes wear it around the house because I love it so much!
What was the reaction you got from your costume at Comic-Con?
Holy Sith, it was amazing! I had no idea people would get such a kick out of it! It was awesome to meet so many people and take so many photos! I felt like a Star Wars rock star! It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I think my favorite comment of the day was when some guy yelled to me, “I love what you did to Alderaan!”
Will you wear the dress out other places? Like on a dinner date?
Ahaha! I’m tempted to wear it to a wedding! There’s just one problem: I can’t sit in the skirt! As long as it’s an event where I can stand, I’m good. I’m actually thinking of revamping the costume with LED lights and wearing it to Star Wars Celebration VI! Hopefully I can make it work!
Any plans for more Star Wars fashion couture?
Definitely! It’ll be difficult to top Miss Death Star but I do have some other kooky cosplay ideas. As you know, I love making crafts and I really like being able to wear my creations! Recently, I started making decoupage bracelets out of Star Wars comics. I’m also making a shirt out of a Return of the Jedi bedsheet. If I had the time, I’d craft and sew all day!
I’m so overwhelmed by all of the kind words and support you guys have given Miss Death Star! A special shout out (and cyber high five) to all the people I met that day while cosplaying! You guys really know how to make an Imperial battle station feel special!