Another photo from my shoot with Trevor Toma, of my new cosplay that I’m incredibly excited and proud to share - fem Kylo Ren!
Soft parts are by me and Seraphim City Couture, gloves by John Fuqua, everything else made and/or fabricated by me.
This will be a bit long, but I want to talk a little bit about why I wanted to cosplay this character, and what it means to me.
I was actually quite nervous to tackle this cosplay - not only is it incredibly detailed and tailored, it’s the first character I’ve cosplayed that was brand new AND very popular, but I had to do it. Once the bug had bitten me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t get the vision of a female Kylo out of my head, with long black hair holding her helmet and lightsaber, the same tortured look in her eye.
Since I was little, the original Star Wars trilogy have been my all-time favorite films. While I loved the epic lightsaber battles, the rad costuming, and the general atmosphere of “space fantasy” - what appealed to me most was the characters, and the emotional impact their stories had on me. Darth Vader was always my favorite, but Luke was a close second. To this day, the story of Vader’s redemption through the love of his son(and how that compassion for his father is what makes Luke truly a hero)literally moves me to tears.
Obviously I was beyond excited to see the Force Awakens - and I was not disappointed. I cried at LEAST once every single time I saw the film(four times in the theatre) - the movie had the same excitement and emotional impact I felt watching the original trilogy. But once again, what appealed to me were the characters.
I absolutely loved Rey, and seeing her in the role of “the hero” was incredibly moving - as a female fanatic of this franchise, it meant SO MUCH. She is absolutely the most important character of this new franchise(ladies, it’s our turn!).
HOWEVER, while I loved the good guys, I can’t lie: I am a sucker for villains - especially unique ones.
I left the theatre completely captivated with Kylo Ren’s character. Never in a Star Wars film had I seen a villain so unhinged, not even with Anakin in the prequels(in my opinion). His wardrobe was so artfully crafted by the costumers - it’s easy to make an all-black outfit just look like a blob, but they chose so many unique textures and layers! The result was perfect.
But more so than his outfit, I was completely hyped by the characterization. Instead of the usual “bad guy”, who is just stoic and “badass”(which Kylo totally was), we saw him show uncertainty in his purpose. We saw him throw tantrums, and destroy things in his anger! We also saw him tear up and show great anguish in his scene with Han. Adam Driver did such an amazing job, both with the mask on and off(it really takes a lot of skill for an actor to show strong characterization while wearing a helmet for most of the movie). I could go on and on.
It is very rare for a male character, especially a villain, to show a broad range of emotions beyond rage. Men are human beings and have emotions, and it doesn’t make them any “less of a man”. I was really excited to see that in this character.
HOWEVER(once again), I couldn’t help but think about the character if everything was the same, the only difference being that Kylo was a woman. I could see her wearing the mask for the same reason he did in the movie - wanting to intimidate, not wanting to be judged for their youth and/or facial features. Instead wanting to invoke the same fear and respect as their grandfather, Darth Vader.
I remembered when the first teaser/trailer was released for Force Awakens, they showed(what we now know to be) Kylo Ren walking through the snow and activating that completely awesome lightsaber - I remembered hoping so hard that that villain would end up being a woman.
So, while I’m thankful for the characterization we were given with Kylo Ren - I knew I had to tackle this character and cosplay as a woman. What would that have looked like? How would her emotional turmoil differ from the male counterpart? How would it be the same?
I hope you enjoy my take on this complex character! Thank you for reading, and may the Force be with you.
My cosplay fb page