Why I chose to make this costume:
I am a huge fan of the Mummy movies and have always liked the tragically romantic love story of Imhotep and Anck-su-namun. I watch all of those movies often while I'm working on costumes. A few months ago while re-watching the first movie, I thought of Dragoncon coming up and what a perfect opportunity it would be to do the bodypaint of Anck-su-namun at that event. Looking at the footage, it seems easy enough, just very time consuming. The accessories she wears in that scene are also right up my alley with the beading and the Egyptian theme.
I got really excited to do the costume after talking to some bodypaint friends of ours who were interested in painting me up like that. Sadly they were not able to make it to Dragoncon, but Brian and our friend Patterson, who runs www.savethemummy.com and is just as big of a Mummy geek as I am, stepped up and painted me instead!
How I made this costume:
Of course most of this costume is the painting. It took 6 hours, and that was with us preparing ahead of time. We used Mehron gold to cover my body and Ben Nye water-based black for the designs. Brian and Patterson followed the reference very carefully and we tried to get all the lines and patterns right, down to the correct number of stripes on my legs and arms and the neck piece. I can't thank these two enough for helping me! I imagined in my mind that Anck-su-namun would be gilded, the more to be untouchable by anyone but the Pharaoh, hence the gold Mehron. But the paint ended up turning out much shinier than the movie version. I think I figured out a way to do it more toned-down next time, but it would have to be a really important occasion before all of us are willing to go through this long painting process again lol. I had to take two long showers to scrub off the paint afterward, and my toes were gold for a week afterward lol.
All painting aside, the accessories were also vital to this outfit. I studied the references for a long time and then set out to replicate them. Because all my beading supplies were packed away for a move, I had to buy everything including beading needles and make it all from scratch. The wrist cuffs, Horus arm bands and ankle cuffs are made of foamie sheets; the beaded belts, necklace and hair piece took several hours of beading, and I made the belt sashes out of a beautiful curtain material. I made the tiny cobra out of model magic, and wore sandals instead of going barefoot to adhere to hotel policies. The only other piece of clothing I wore was a black thong, as I didn't want to appear naked with a tan or gold one. I did also wear pasties that were painted over and blended into the design. My wig is the same one I used for Cleopatra.
Thoughts on this costume:
I am so happy that, with the help of my friends, I was able to do this costume. It was very strenuous and toe-numbing to stand for 9 hours straight—6 for the painting, 3 to walk around afterward—and I was really exhausted afterward, but it was all worth it. So much love and thanks to my friends who painted me and walked around with me so I didn't have to be a lonely gold statue so late at night. I posed with Patterson's "Save the Mummy Franchise" banner while in the costume, and was stalked by a a lot of photographers lol. The best compliment of that night came from the group that did the Bodypainting panel at Dragoncon, who said to Patterson and me that we really accomplished what they were talking about in the panel, which is "dressing someone in paint."
Sadly I couldn't find my buddies who were also supposed to dress up from "The Mummy" that night, but it was probably because I got out on the convention floor so late (midnight.) I am not sure if I have the stamina to do this again next year, but if my painting friends are up for it, I'll definitely consider, too! I would have to make an Imhotep costume for Brian, lol.