Alyra is an original character of mine, from the Star Wars universe. On the surface, Alyra is your typical high class entrepreneur. She owns a very fancy cantina on Coruscant, with beautiful decor, nightly entertainment, gorgeous dancers, and very expensive drinks. Many of Coruscant’s finest can be found enjoying a night out in her establishment. And Alyra herself oversees her cantina from the private suite hanging above the show floor.
In reality… the cantina is a front, for her real business. Alyra is a crime boss, dealing in information, extortion, drugs, weapons, and even murder if the price is right. Her clients are often just as upscale as her establishment; many of Coruscant’s upper crust prefer to work with an individual with some respectability. And of course… many of them aren’t given much choice but to work with her.
Even Alyra’s performers, as innocent and alluring as they appear, are in on the crime ring. Her dancers double as informants, getting the patrons in the Cantina relaxed enough to spill their hearts out. Many are trained as assassins or bodyguards.
Alyra is cunning, careful, and absolutely ruthless. She takes great care to cover all her bases, to ensure information she leaks goes no further than she means it to. She won’t hesitate to make an example of someone, to ensure her claim to power is as resolute as ever.
But she is not without a softer side… Alyra abhors slavery, and refuses to take part in the trade. In fact, on more than one occasion, she has used her sway in the criminal underworld to crush a slave trading ring, liberating dozens of her Twi’lek sisters from captivity. To these ex-slaves, she offers a choice. A fresh start, with a handful of credits on a new world, to sort out their own freedom… or work for her. As a dancer, an informant, a dealer, an assassin… whatever positions have an opening.
If you can’t tell, Alyra’s biggest inspirations are probably Fish Mooney from Gotham, and Aria from Mass Effect. I love that aesthetic of an absolutely lovely lady with a sinister secret life.
The Twi'lek Lekku Headpiece
When making Alyra’s lekku, the most important thing for me was going to be the ability to pull them forward over my shoulder. I wanted that really luxurious look to her, of one lekku curled around her neck. And to this day, I’ve never seen another set of lekku that didn’t wrinkle & fold terribly any time you attempted this. So I had to solve that, first.
I wound up creating an incredibly flexible set using a synthetic rubber material I’d discovered, and filled it with equally flexible foam. The result was incredibly lifelike, they sway and curl more realistically than any other set I’ve seen!
Since I wanted to to wear a hat, I didn’t bother making it with a skin cap. Instead, I glued the pair of head tails to a baseball cap that I’d removed the brim off of. They sit incredibly comfortably on my head, and I can wear them for hours.
If you’re interested, I sell both the lekku, and the hat here:
For Alyra’s vibrant pink color, I chose European Body Art’s specialty bodypaint brand, ENDURA. Endura is an alcohol based paint, which makes it waterproof & very durable. I’ve showered in it before without it coming off at all. They also have a great selection of colors. It’s really become one of my favorite brand of paints.
That said, everyone’s skin is different, and what works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone. I’ve written a more in depth guide on my favorite bodypaint brands – if you’d like to experiment with painted characters you should check it out and try some for yourself!
Endura does require an airbrush to apply. Fortunately, you can get some inexpensive starter kits pretty easily, and Endura is a very forgiving paint to learn airbrushing with. Check out my guide to airbrushes if you’d like to see the best equipment to start with.
Finally, removing Endura isn’t actually that difficult, even though it’s waterproof. The best thing I’ve found for removing it is a specific soap called “Gender Bender” from topshelfposh.com . A friend of mine introduced me to it and it works like a charm! I take some with me to every convention. If you can’t get that, though, some coconut oil will work as well. It’s not quite as effective as the Gender Bender soap is, but it still gets the paint off without having to scrub super hard.
Some guides for more reading:
Photos & Prints
If you’re interested in seeing more photos of Alyra, check these out! You can also buy prints and hang her up on your wall!