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Forever Twilight in Forks

I don’t often talk about my online Twilight life with people I know in the real world. Inevitably, they don’t understand. Of course, there will always be people who are supportive – people who think it’s cool or unique or quirky – but largely, the response from my peers and family is confusion.

I’m a woman in my 20s with a thriving career, a fiance and my own home. I’m getting married in 2018 and I have a close social circle. I have my life together. And because cosplay represents escapism to people who don’t understand its full breadth, I’m often faced with the question of “why do you keep doing the Twilight thing when you have so much else going on? Why would you use your vacation time every year to go to Forks so you can pretend to be a vampire?”

I’ll tell you why.

Sassy AliceBecause it’s fun – THAT’S why!

My first trip to Forks was in 2010 with Christilynn of Inside Bella’s Closet, who’s one of my best friends to this day. But I didn’t return to Forks in an official Alice Cullen capacity until Stephenie Meyer Day 2013. Now called Forever Twilight in Forks, my yearly excursion to Forks is a weekend-long festival that celebrates all things Twilight – right where the magic began.

The first time I visited the town, I was enthralled by its beauty – and yes, Bella, how green it was. As soon as you descend upon Forks, the mist starts rolling in – even if the weather was entirely clear moments before. For the first time, I could relate to Bella while I was there. Like her, I grew up in a big city. I would find the transition to a small town difficult, too. I could feel her isolation, her sense of resigned acceptance, in exiling herself to Forks for her mom’s sake. Being there added another dimension to the story. And when the mist was particularly thick, you could almost – almost – expect a vampire to step through it.

It was the most beautiful place I’d ever been. And every year, Forever Twilight in Forks strives to capture that magic and bottle it as an experience for fans.

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There aren’t many safe spaces left where being a Twilight fan won’t result in being mocked or judged. Official Twilight conventions no longer exist, and these days, it’s up to fans – and the city of Forks – to keep that luster alive. And they do. Year after year, hundreds of fans flock to Forks during Bella’s birthday weekend to meet other Twilight fans, explore the Pacific Northwest, and yes – even have their photo taken with pseudo-vampires like me.

So why do I keep returning to Forever Twilight in Forks?

Because Twilight fans are an amazing group of people. Because the commitment that Forks has shown in bringing the franchise to life for fans is admirable. Because it’s fun, and it allows attendees to reconnect to the fandom and characters they love without fear of judgment. Because seeing Alice Cullen and her family makes a beloved series feel real for the people who need it most – if only for a split second.

Where else could you attend a Volterra-themed masquerade ball with actual Volturi in attendance? Where else could you attend Bella’s birthday party and have her sheepishly hand you a slice of cake? Where else could you visit the real Cullen House and be greeted on the porch by Esme, with Edward seated at the piano inside?

Those experiences are unique to Forever Twilight in Forks. And that – that is why I keep going back.

We all want to belong somewhere. And Forever Twilight in Forks is that somewhere for Twilight fans.

xoxo,
Alice

Forever Twilight in Forks 2016 is hosted in Forks, Washington from September 7 – 11. Visit http://www.forevertwilightinforks.com for the official event schedule and to purchase event tickets.

 

 

Your dream Alice Cullen

I read Twilight before I saw the film. I read Twilight before the movie cast was announced and the faces of actors replaced the fantasy versions of the Cullens I’d created for myself. And while it’s been easy for me to re-read Twilight and imagine certain actors in their roles – Kellan Lutz as Emmett, for example – I’ve never gone back to the novels and pictured Ashley Greene as Alice.

To be clear: Ashley Greene is stunning. Her portrayal of Alice was sweet and she made the best of the role she earned. But she isn’t who I imagined as Alice – not even close.

Why? I think it comes down to Alice’s aesthetic in the films.

Based on Stephenie’s description of Alice, I pictured her as an eccentric: her hair pointing in every direction, her clothing a fashionable mishmash of styles that only she could possibly pull off. Someone who, in real life, would belong with the artists, the musicians, the drama kids at school. Someone with small features, a combination of soft lines and hard angles: sharp cheekbones, large eyes, rounded nose.

In the film, Alice looked too coiffed to be the strange one, the frightening little monster. Every hair was in place, perfectly flipped and teased. Her style in the later films was almost matronly – too old for someone who was supposedly a high school fashion plate. Her style lacked expressive design. Yes, the Cullens possess a certain expertise when it comes to blending in – but despite that, the weird one, the little one, always manages to stand out.

When I’m portraying Alice, I take my cues from her film portrayal. That’s what everyone has the most visual reference for and what they expect to see. As a collective, Ashley Greene’s casting wiped our imaginations clean of whoever it was we pictured when we first read Twilight.

But for me, my perfect image of Alice is out there – and no, it isn’t me.

So, age and realism aside, who do I think embodies Alice’s aesthetic best?

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder

To me, Winona Ryder – in a perfect world – would have been an amazing Alice Cullen. She’s tiny, striking, and looks fantastic with cropped hair. A real pixie cut, slightly unkempt. There’s an edginess to her that suggests the frightening little monster – that although she’s beautiful, she’s also different in a way that’s almost imperceptible.

Audrey Tautou

Audrey-Tautou

Audrey Tautou is a slightly sweeter-looking Alice Cullen: Alice as the ingenue. Like Winona, she’s small and looks striking with short hair. She’s Alice as best friend, the vulnerable Alice who woke up alone after being changed. I can easily imagine her meeting Jasper at a diner in Philadelphia.

Rachael Leigh Cook

Rachael Leigh Cook

My third choice – although there’s no real order – was also who Stephenie Meyer imagined as Alice, so I guess I’m on the right track. And Rachael Leigh Cook might actually have played Alice if the films were made during a different time. She’s spunky Alice, pretty and playful. The Alice who would instigate an argument with Edward just to irritate him.

All of my picks for Alice looks fairly similar, which says to me that I definitely have a type. But maybe your Alice looked different, and that’s completely okay, too. Who did you imagine as Alice? Or has it always been Ashley Greene for you?

Tell me in the comments!

xoxo,
Alice

It’s been a while, but I’m back with a new episode of my YouTube web series, Dear Bella!

In this episode, Alice attempts to share some fashion wisdom with Bella – while acknowledging that Bella just isn’t mature enough yet to become a fashionista. Through five helpful fashion tips, Alice introduces Bella to the reality that Bella – like Alice herself! – is a petite woman and needs to be dressing properly for her proportions.

Check it out and share – these tips can apply to anyone, and I’ve been wanting to explore the concept of how Alice deals with being “extra petite” while refusing to compromise her fashion sensibilities.

xoxo,
Alice

Dear Bella - Fashion Tips, Life TipsClick the picture above to watch Dear Bella #8!

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Cosplay is a fantastical hobby. It allows you to become someone you would otherwise only encounter in your wildest dreams, if only for a day; allows you to imagine yourself taking on the experiences of an entirely different person. Physically, you alter or obscure your own features to look more like someone else. Emotionally, you try to imitate their state of mind, their actions, and their manner of speaking. It’s fun and it’s appealing because it’s different from the mundane workings of everyday life.

Wigs and costumes and makeup help you transform, and when it’s over – when you’re peeling the false eyelashes from your lids and washing the makeup from your face – you can reflect on how much fun you had. And how ultimately, despite that fun, it’s feels a lot more comfortable just being you.

I don’t cosplay simply as a hobby anymore. I used to. In the past I’ve dressed as Sailor Moon; Chii from Chobits; Ramona Flowers and Roxie Richter, both from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Now, I focus my efforts solely on Alice Cullen and the work I do for Twilight events. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience, and it takes quite a bit of time and effort. In addition to the weekends I spend in character for these events, I dedicate myself to building a pronounced social presence as Alice year-round. And despite how much I enjoy the immersion of becoming Alice and being able to spend so much time with Twilight fans, there are few things that feel better than taking my wig off at the end of the day and letting my own hair down.

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Sorry if that mental image is shattering any worlds right now. Despite popular belief, I typically don’t use my real hair for Alice Cullen, I don’t think I’m Alice Cullen, and I don’t want to be Alice Cullen, despite sharing some personality traits and physical attributes. And that’s because I have a healthy sense of my own personal identity and how to balance that against cosplay.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, my Bella, Christilynn – owner of Inside Bella’s Closet – recently wrote a great think piece called “to the girl who doesn’t look like K-Stew.” It centred on the idea that portraying your favourite character – in this case, Bella Swan – is perfectly attainable even if you don’t look like Kristen Stewart. That you’re beautiful as you are, and your individual love and interpretation of the character is what makes your take on Bella interesting.

The same goes for Alice Cullen. And if you’re an aspiring or even a seasoned Alice Cullen cosplayer and think you need to look like Ashley Greene to be successful, you’re wrong.

I came to this conclusion a long time ago, because before anyone even knew who Ashley Greene was, we all had different visions of what Alice Cullen looked like. When I read Twilight for the first time, I pictured Rachael Leigh Cook in the role. But my close friends would tell you that they pictured me. That’s the beauty of individuality and interpretation. It keeps the world interesting.

So to my fellow Alice Cullen cosplayers – ranging from young girls to women in their 20s and beyond – I ask: why are you so fixated on looking like Ashley Greene when being you is enough? Why is mimicking her poses and agonizing over the way her features don’t match yours so important? Why does it bother you when people tell you that you don’t look like Ashley Greene and treat it as a personal shortcoming? I know why: because inherently, you think your detractors are telling you that you don’t look like Alice Cullen.

Vik's Edits-35

Looking like Ashley Greene doesn’t define you or your beauty as an Alice cosplayer. Your own interpretation of Alice Cullen is more than enough. It’s perfect. And anyone who says the words “you don’t look like Alice!” really means “you don’t look like Ashley Greene.” You shouldn’t be offended by those words. You should feel sorry for those people and their limited imaginations.

You are stunning. When you want to be, you are Alice Cullen. But you’re an individual, too – your own person, completely separate from a fictional character. Don’t lose yourself in the race to perfect your cosplay as other people see it. Because there can be hundreds, thousands of Alice Cullens – but only one you.

xoxo,
Alice

The essence of Alice Cullen

Even when I’m not updating frequently, I still get quite a few reader questions hitting my Alice Cullen e-mail account and the inbox of my Facebook page. The majority of them relate to Alice’s appearance – how do you style your hair like Alice’s? Where can I find her clothing? – but every so often, I’m asked a very important question:

How do I act like Alice Cullen?

twilice2

It’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many different ways to interpret the character and so many different facets of her personality to consider. When I think of the Alice Cullen I’ve grown to love through both the Twilight novels and films, a number of traits come to mind. Alice Cullen is, in no particular order:

  • Sweet
  • Sassy
  • Intelligent
  • Loving
  • Devoted
  • Competitive
  • Optimistic
  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • Adaptive
  • Determined
  • Joyful
  • Quick-witted
  • Kind

As you can see, it’s a fairly long list – and an incomplete one, at that, as I’ve only listed traits that could be considered positive. If I were to list some negative traits, I could perhaps add “sarcastic” or “occasionally manipulative,” among others – because she isn’t perfect. That’s because Alice, like a real person, is multi-faceted. It’s easy to dismiss her as being a trivial character – someone who enjoys shopping and dancing and planning parties – and those are certainly things that Alice loves. But that isn’t who she is, at her core.

That’s why it’s difficult to describe how to act like Alice Cullen. If I were to simply say “offer fashion advice to those around you,” or “walk gracefully, like a ballet dancer,” those would be great places to start – but that isn’t the extent of what it means to be Alice Cullen. Focusing solely on those aspects wouldn’t be a full portrayal of Alice – it would be creating a caricature. It’s the difference between doing an impression and becoming a character.

So how do I play Alice Cullen?

twilice3

To begin with, I aim to treat everyone I meet the way Alice treats Bella: like we’re best friends, instantly. Readers love Alice’s character because they want to be her friend, and that’s a powerful thing. So I aim to be bubbly, warm and open, offering compliments and fashion advice and invitations to the Cullen house for parties. And then, when the conversation deepens, I ask them about their lives: their families, their jobs, their homes. Alice is strangely fascinated with Bella because she can have human experiences through her, and when playing the role, I extend that fascination toward every “human” I meet – time permitting, of course! Often times it isn’t possible to have a lengthy conversation with someone because the crowds are so large, but I aim to leave people with some impression of my understanding of Alice’s character, be it big or small.

Of course, Alice isn’t kind all the time. She’s often sarcastic or sharp-tongued, but I tend not to aim barbs toward guests – I save that for fellow members of the Olympic Coven. Guests love to watch Alice playfully argue with Emmett; verbally spar with Jacob; deride Bella’s fashion choices; or tell Edward that as a brother, he’s “sometimes a disappointment.” It provides a level of realism that people recall from Alice’s personality in the novels, while not being mean to anyone who isn’t in on the performance.

Physically, there are a number of details I try to keep in mind when portraying Alice. My voice is naturally high-pitched, but I consciously speak in a higher, lilting voice as Alice. When posing for photos, I point my toes like a dancer. In many cases, I don’t walk – I skip. When entering a room, I often have Jasper twirl me like we’re dancers walking onto a stage. I often stand next to coven members whose size emphasizes my small stature. Bella typically describes the Cullens in physical terms, so I’ve made it a point to pay attention to the physicality of Alice’s character in terms of how she carries herself and how other people perceive her.

There are certain lines of dialogue that are cornerstones of my portrayal as well. Fundamentally, I try to combine modern vernacular with formal language to give the impression of someone who may or may not be older than they appear. I often assure Jasper that he won’t hurt anyone when we’re in large crowds. I’ll gently chastise Bella for her clothing choices. I’ll remind Edward that he promised me a Porsche for Christmas. And when greeting “humans” with a hug, I’ll exclaim that “oh, you do smell good” – because so many people resonate with Bella’s character, and it helps to put them in her shoes.

But ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to bring Alice’s character to life.

twilice11

That’s the biggest reason why offering a tutorial on how to act like Alice Cullen is hard: everything I’ve outlined is just my interpretation. It’s how I pieced her character together through snippets of dialogue or descriptions from Bella’s perspective. I’ve seen other cosplayers beautifully portray Alice in ways that are completely different, and I love that. I celebrate that.

Like every unique garment in Alice’s closet, no two Alice cosplayers are alike – and that’s the beauty of the fandom. But for those who are still finding their voice as Alice, I hope this has helped.

xoxo,
Alice Cullen

1958

After I wasn’t cast in We’ve Met Before, I decided to pour my energy into a creative outlet that was constructive, rather than continue to analyze why I didn’t get the part.

The result of that creative process is 1958, a photo shoot that aims to take Twilight fans beyond We’ve Met Before. It offers a glimpse of Alice and Jasper’s honeymoon as I’ve imagined it: a slice of Americana as the newlywed vampires revisit the spots they frequented while they fell in love.

They end their journey at Finch’s Diner in Philadelphia, with Alice pledging to keep looking toward their forever, rather than remember the time she spent waiting.

Enjoy.
xoxo,
Alice

Vik's Edits-60This isn’t 1948. This isn’t We’ve Met Before. This is 1958, and I am no longer waiting.

View the full album at Vee Elle as Alice Cullen

Hi, ladies:

Readers have been asking for a long time – like, for a really long time – for an Alice Cullen makeup tutorial. I’ve been upfront about the fact that I don’t feel I’m good enough with makeup to offer a tutorial of any kind. I mean, my own makeup for Alice is barely passable – why would I try to advise others to look like that?!

But here’s where the awesomeness of the Alice Cullen Costuming community comes in!

jessicaalice2One of my favourite Alice Cullen cosplayers, Jessica – known to the Twilight community as FTF Alice – was kind enough to put a tutorial together for Alice’s Twilight look. Jessica has some serious cosplay pedigree: not only is she hosting Forever Twilight in Forks this September, she’s been portraying Alice in Forks since 2009. So when I say she’s an expert, believe me – she knows the character inside and out, and we’re lucky to have that expertise!

In her tutorial, Jessica touches on a number of great points, including choosing makeup that’s right for your skin tone, how to mimic Alice’s small features, and the most important thing of all: how to safely obtain and wear contacts as Alice Cullen. So if you’re interested in re-creating Alice’s ethereal Twilight look, you’re now officially covered by an Alice who’s approved by the city of Forks.

Check out Jessica’s video below!

xoxo,
Alice

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