Devina Divecha. Journalist.

I write because I can.


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How to cosplay like Princess Leia

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Photograph courtesy Muzammil Majeed

A historic event happened just two weeks ago – the first Middle East Film and Comic Con took place in Dubai, UAE.

See all the pictures from the two-day event here.

I won’t go into detail about what happened; I’m hoping the pictures are sufficient. I will say though, that if you like John Rhys-Davies, Luciana Carro, Jason Momoa, Mark Sheppard and Max Landis, you WILL enjoy those photographs.

The second day of the event, I’d decided to cosplay as Princess Leia from Star Wars.

After months of being asked the same question over and over again when…wait, just read:

XYZ-person: “Oh are you cosplaying for MEFCC?”
Me: “Yes! As Princess Leia.”
*pause*
XYZ-person: “The…uhh…gold bikini?”

I quickly learned my answer needed to be this: “Yes! As Princess Leia from A New Hope, NOT the Jabba’s lair version.”

I still got gold bikini comments though. 

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Photograph courtesy Carlin Gerbich

So HOW does one get the Princess Leia look?

First, don’t do what I did, which was make my Mom run around Dubai’s shops looking for a white dress that could work. For one, that can make your Mom slightly annoyed (mine wasn’t thank goodness, but I could sense through the Force she was soon to be), and second, you will not find it even if you do look. Honestly, we looked and looked and looked, and NOTHING looked right.

What you should do instead is this:

  • Google Image Search “Princess Leia white dress” and print off images that look closest to the look you want and as large as possible
  • Procure a mother like mine who, without me asking her, comes up to me and hands me her 6-yard white sari and says, “Make your dress from this.” Alternatively, go to Meena Bazaar or Satwa and find white cloth. Coz let’s face it, my Mom is something awesome.
  • Also buy “butter crepe” the same colour as your dress material, for lining.

AND NOW FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT:

  • Call this number 050 349 2209 or email bhambra.preeti@gmail.com. Save this number because it is the single most important thing this blog post is giving you. That number will lead you to Mrs Rani Kaur, who is my friend Gurvinder aka Preeti Bhambra’s mother, who stitches like something out of a dream. Her fitting is perfect, her ability to sense what you want and how you want it is impeccable, and it doesn’t cost you a bomb.

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Photograph courtesy Carlin Gerbich

She took one look at the photographs, and I could see her creative brain whirring away. I came back a few days later and the dress was ready! Also, the belt I used is Gurvinder’s, so having cool friends with awesome accessories also helps.

Now for the hair.

  • Find a friend like Shruti who, like my mother, just comes up to me and says, “Find me a YouTube tutorial and I’ll do your hair.”
  • Find one that involves socks. Like this:
  • Realize that while it takes three minutes in the video, it will actually take close to an hour.
  • Find clean socks.
  • Become the Princess when the buns are done!

It was a lot of fun cosplaying; also because so many people recognized who I was meant to be, and came up to me. I took pictures with Yoda, Chewbacca, along with random visitors at the event who asked if they could click my picture, if I could stand in a picture alongside their kids (yes, really!), and the best part was when two people came up to me at different times and said, “Your costume is the best we’ve seen throughout the event.”

And for that, I shall thank (in Oscar-acceptance speech style): my Mom for the white sari and introducing me to Star Wars, my friend Gurvinder and her Mom for the awesome work on creating the dress, and Shruti for completing the final piece of the Leia puzzle and making me rock my buns.

In other news, Star Wars day is coming up… May The Fourth…and there’s an event to celebrate it. Click this link for more info on NerdyCon DXB 2012. I’ll be there, though not in costume. I’ll be in one of my awesome MEFCC t-shirts I bought: “Luke Habibi I am your father” or “Shou Droids?”

See you there, and may the Force be with you. Always.


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Event update: #CosplayMania

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I think it was towards the end of last year when I found out the first Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) would be taking place in April 2011. At that time, my heart plummeted because then I believed I would still be living in the UK and would miss a juicy slice of my adopted home’s history. The event also gave me hope, for it has been long since I, along with many others, would lament about the lack of events for people who were into comics, geek and sci-fi culture.

Then I moved back to Dubai and one of the things I got really excited about was that I’d be in UAE when @MEFCC would take place. Even when the event was moved towards the end of the year (I’ve heard it’s September that we’ve got to look forward to), the excitement wasn’t dampened.

For the MEFCC fans, there was the first Cosplay Mania organized by the very nerdy Fahed (of NerdyFace fame) and had a whole host of supporters (including my favs CampusRadioME and EMR8.com).

Cosplay Mania went underway on April 22 2011 at the Living Room Café, Dubai Festival City from 1pm onwards. I sadly didn’t have a costume, although I reckon I’ll be trying to get one for the MEFCC event.

So, the Cosplay Mania event…let’s see what happened! Some tweets to see what you can look forward to in the following event update:

I got there with @benfurfie at around 3pm and I quickly found Darth Vader, whose outfit was heroically worn by Muhammed Ali (@MaliZomg) for a good 4 hours. As you can see, I was quite excited to take a picture with Darth Mali with my lit-up mini-lightsaber!

He was MC’ing the event and was responsible for carting people off to the Art corner or to the Mortal Kombat gaming area or bringing everyone together for the main Cosplay parade and also asking trivia questions to the crowd.

I wandered about for a while, taking pictures. All the people who were going to participate gathered together for a quick photoshoot of sorts, and Darth Vader and Boba Fett were doing a quick session together as well!

I quickly got in for a photo with the two evil forces:

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The Art Corner featured artwork people had submitted for a competition, and the last photo shows the winners!

The gaming area was Mortal Kombat-dedicated (when I saw that area, I promptly started humming in my mind, “Sonya. Jax. Kitana. Sub Zero. Scorpion. Cyrax. Smoke. Sheba. Motaro. HAHAHAHAHA. Choose your destiny. Flawless victory. FIGHT!”):

Did I mention Mali was a wonderful MC (in these pics, check out the pic of a Cosplayer in the blue wig…AWESOME!)?

He did get tired though. The leather Vaderness didn’t lend itself to sitting down very easily. Or going to the loo.

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Everyone wanted a piece of him though.

Someone else whom people couldn’t resist was the cutest Harry Potter EVER:

Oh and Ben won a t-shirt! He answered a trivia question correctly. I don’t remember the question but the answer was ‘sundering’. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean!

Some random shots from the day:

The Cosplay parade/costume competition was amazing! The amount of care and precision that had gone into many of the costumes was really impressive. This photo gallery works from the start of the competition till the end…you’ll notice halfway through Mali has undergone a costume change. You might also spot someone who looks like Lady Gaga but isn’t. You will also notice the back of Fahed’s neck. I wasn’t stalking him, honest.

We even had paparazzi there!!! (Love the t-shirt @Weeshas_World!)

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A brilliant, brilliant, brilliant bit of the event was a Q&A session with the organizers of MEFCC, Arafaat Ali Khan and Ben Caddy, who answered people’s questions about the event, who might be coming and my ticket question. I’m going to stick Ben’s live-tweeting in here as well:

All in all, a very happening event.

Who says sci-fi/geek/gaming/anime culture doesn’t exist in the UAE? 

 

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