Saturday, 29 July 2017

Make Up in Film: Star Wars (Rey and Jyn)

Back in 2012, I wrote a Make Up in Film: Star Wars blog post looking at the very different make up looks used by the main female characters in the Star Wars films (Princess Leia, Queen Amidala and Padme). Since I wrote that, a heck of a lot has changed for the series, with a brand new main film in The Force Awakens, as well as a spin-off in Rogue One.

As you'd expect both of these films spawned strong female leading characters in the forms of Rey and Jyn Erso. Personally, I love both of these characters for very different reasons, and it's so nice to see women continuing to play such big roles in the Star Wars films.


One of the defining differences between Queen Amidala / Padme and Princess Leia was the full make up and extravagant clothing that was worn by Padme, compared to the much toned down Leia. Even out on the field, Leia felt less "royal" than  Padme. 

At the time it was interesting to compare mother and daughter because they were both raised as royals and both had relative types of power, but the way they appeared on screen was completely different.

In contrast, both Rey and Jyn are very different characters, but interestingly quite similar to each other, particularly in their backgrounds. Both characters have been separated from their parents, and both have essentially been left to fend for themselves. I think this shows deeply in their clothing.

Rey's clothing, I feel, closely resembles bandages, as if she is wearing all that she could afford - in the form of material - and she has fashioned it to suit her needs. Her outfit is practical but screams obvious poverty. I think that this poverty also shows through in the lack of colour in her clothing.


 As you would expect, Rey wears very little make up (I'd say that we're supposed to see her as being completely make up free, but of course actress Daisy Ridley will be wearing something). I feel that this shows that she is a character who doesn't have time for make up. Her main priority in life is survival.

However, for me, the lack of make up also adds another quality to Rey's character. Whilst I don't for a second consider Rey to be a naive character (boy does she have street smarts and boy can she defend herself), however, I do think she comes across quite innocent, much in the same way Anakin was before he became a Jedi.

Of course, I don't know if she falls into the same lineage as Padme and Leia (I am personally hoping that she doesn't), but it's interesting to see how different she is to both of them.


Whilst coming from a similar backstory to Rey, Jyn's costume design represents a very different lifestyle. Whilst Rey was forced to survive as a scavenger, Jyn had a more military-based upbringing and that definitely shows in the clothes that she wears.

I also find the different colour palettes interesting; Rey wears light neutral tones, probably of someone just discovering something big in the world (which we know is true), whilst Jyn's clothing is darker and seems to have been designed to be more functional for battle.
A lot about Jyn's clothing is also about blending in and being undetected.

In regards to make up, Jyn's is very similar to Rey's and that it is understated, because appearance isn't part of Jyn's life. However, there does seem to be some focus on eye liner, which I feel makes her look quite moody - kind of like an angry teenager - which definitely fits her personality and how she feels about her life experiences.


One of my favourite parts about both of these strong female characters is that they are both characters who are allowed to be female, without male personalities. They are women who are never forced to be overly feminine, by which I mean that they don't use the fact that they are women to win their battles (as in, they don't flirt to get their way) instead they genuinely fight for themselves and what they believe in.

I absolutely love the direction that the Star Wars series is going in terms of women. I know that there are a lot of loud voices moaning at the lack of women in the films, in terms of numbers, but C'mon, the ones that we do have are flipping bad ass and such inspiring role models.

Who is your favourite Star Wars leading lady? And do you think the series is doing enough for girl power? Are Jyn and Rey the women that young girls can and should inspire to be like?





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