Retro-Sexy B-Movie Costume: Tura Satana In 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!'

I dressed up as supreme badass Varla for Comic Con, but you can easily do it for Halloween.
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Publish date:
October 28, 2013
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costumes, eyeliners, halloween, lipsticks, mac, Stila, foundations, fake hair, hair extensions, Comic Con, Dermablend, coplay

Some of my nail artist ladies put together a booth at New York Comic Con a couple of weeks ago.

I realized I didn't have the time to stitch together the costume and hair required to be Half-Betty/Half-Veronica (Take this idea! And please send me photos!) so I decided to pay homage to a Comic Con regular, the late, great Tura Satana.

Among the best compliments I've ever received about my physical appearance was that I reminded someone of Tura Satana. I've been a huge Tura fan since I first experienced Russ Meyer's "ode to violence in women," Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! Tura was an all-American, ethnically ambiguous badass girl-next-door, so obviously I fell for her.

Her life, if you're not familiar, was stranger than fiction. As a child during WWII, she and her family were put in a Japanese internment camp. Before she was 10 years old, she was raped by a gang of men, which inspired her to learn karate and self-defense. Over the years she hunted each of them down and exacted revenge. She was romantically involved with Elvis Presley, (like Wanda Jackson, Elvira and a lot of other feisty brunettes); according to legend, he proposed and she said no, but kept the ring. She worked as a burlesque entertainer and stripper from her teens until she started appearing in films.

Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! is probably her best-known work and the inspiration behind this look. Varla, the fast-driving, ass-kicking go-go girl has dark hair with bangs, a deadly cat-eye, and curves for days.

FACE

I always do makeup before hair. I started with a mix of Loreal's BB cream and Dermablend foundation. Her look is flat, not shimmery, and the film is black and white, so I don't know the exact color scheme. I contoured the tiniest bit.

EYES

I kept eyeshadow minimal since it's all about the eyeliner. I used my trusty MAC Superslick Liquid Eye Liner in the aptly named On The Hunt. I've been wearing liquid eyeliner since sixth grade when, during my first foray into makeup, I accidentally bought liquid instead of pencil.

If I wear one bit of makeup any day, it's black liquid eyeliner. I've got small eyelashes, so I usually eschew the mascara and wear liquid eyeliner to create an illusion of definition. I can put it on in a moving vehicle. And when I turn 70 I'm getting it permanently tattooed on my lids.

Anyway, Superslick is the only eyeliner I even bother with anymore. It stays on through break-up tears or a hurricane; I have literally tested it in these scenarios.

To get a gigantic cat eye I start by making a regular cat eye. People say not to pull the lid outward, but it always works for me. After drawing a line from the inner corner out, I come back in towards the inner corner from the flick, which is an exaggerated 45-degree angle; I'm essentially repeating in a back-and-forth motion until my cat-eye is formidable and cuts through my lid's crease.

I don't usually wear eyeliner on the lower lid, but Varla does.

Apply false eyelashes. (I forgot some but luckily they had them in the Jane office.) I was a devotee of Duo eyelash adhesive, but I borrowed some Salon Perfect Adhesive from Marci and it may be my new favorite.

Tura's eyebrows are major. I would rather bind my chest with duct tape for five hours (keep reading for more on that) than bear the discomfort of covering my eyebrows--weird, I know. So I worked with my natural shape. But you do you.

Against all professional and sanitary advice, I have had the same compact of Benefit Brow Zings for about 7 years. I regularly clean the brushes, and I just can't believe that powder and wax really go bad; I am bracing myself for your lectures. And I love the older packaging, with its rounded, edges so much more! It's really the best product because you can use the powder in a cinch for eyeshadow or contouring shadow.

LIPS

Lips are the only area where I'm apparently more buxom than Tura. I threw down a burgundy MAC lip pencil and some Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso, filling in with Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary (also aptly named). I always clean it up with my fingers and kinda rub onto my cheeks.

BODY

Tura had huge boobs. I do not. I'm totally happy with my figure, but I'm doing a character, and I wanted to really get it right.

I used a body shaper, push-up bra, a pair of (mismatched) socks, and some duct tape to approximate some B-movie-worthy bazooms. The bra goes underneath the body shaper, the socks go in the bra (you can use chicken cutlets if you're fancy) and the duct tape goes across the bra, under the body shaper. Got it?

Bend over and shake everything into place and push it all up.

HAIR

A big part of the reason I chose this costume is that I already have dark hair with bangs. I wanted a little more length and bounce, so I busted out my trusty clip-in hair piece that I use for every look ever.

I brushed the hair from the crown of my head forward and stuck the hair piece underneath, securing with bobby pins, and combing my real hair back over it.

I'm thinking I'll shop for a half-wig or some proper clip-in extensions, because this piece wasn't exactly intended for this purpose, and it got a little heavy. I sprayed my bangs liberally with Pureology Color Stylist Supreme Control and then sprayed my face to set my makeup (a trick I picked up from the pack of wild drag queens who raised me).

Only one person recognized me all weekend at Comic Con but he was SO stoked to have me pretend to beat him up. And I'm really happy with how the look turned out! If I can't pull together my "Sexy Terry Richardson" costume in time for Halloween, I'll probably reuse this one!

Anyone else ever duct-taped their breasts together in the name of cult movie stars?