Fans from all over the world gathered in Las Vegas this past weekend to attend the 12th Annual Offical Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. The event is held in The Rio Hotel just off the strip and boasting the largest attendance of any Star Trek convention on the planet. This year's convention was special because an attempt to break the Guiness World Record for most Star Trek costumes in one room.
Being a part of setting the new record was hugely important for me. I was born into Star Trek fandom. My mother, who is a nurse, once accused me of stealing her Starfleet Medical Reference Manual. I couldn't imagine it actually coming in handy for a 20th century medical technician, but who was I to argue with my mother?
When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in 1987, I would denounce all faith in being cool and try to fully embrace being a Trekkie. Breaking this record would be my way to become a small part of Star Trek history.
Over the years, costumes have become the convention's main attraction. Many of the attendees spend the entire year working on them. Some perfect their costume over multiple years, and some go as far to learn special make-up techniques to fabricate latex and silicon facial pieces, all in the service of fulfilling their visions.
This dude dressed up as the alien child from Original Series episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver." This character was played by Ron Howard's creepy little brother, Clint.
Of all the alien races to chose to be at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, the best suited are the duplicitous, greedy Ferengi. A casino is their kind of stomping ground, and if you’re here to do a little business on the side, then all the better.
These two were the cutest of all. A lot of dudes kept asking the female Ferengi “how come she was wearing clothes when Ferengi women are supposed to be naked?”
Although the convention celebrates Star Trek as whole, including the JJ Abrams version (much to my chagrin) it's obvious that classic Star Trek is still alive and the fans are still stoked on the various old school movies and TV series. This year celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and many convention attendees chose to dress as characters from that show.
I’m pretty sure the woman in the purple top's costume is meant to be "Kim Cardassian." Much like the Kardashians, the Cardassians are the universe's greatest enemy.
This woman was dressed as "the Wormhole" from Deep Space Nine.
Before the attempt to break the world record started, there was the annual costume contest. Due to the sheer number of contestants, they hold two rounds.
Last November I won best Next Generation costume at the Star Trek convention in San Francisco. My winning costume (and the original Uhura, Nichelle Nichols) is pictured above. I was Lal, Data’s android daughter from Next Generation. I made the costume the day before by turning a bridesmaids dress around backwards and tossing on a wig. This year I wanted to do something different but still something quick that cost under $100.
I took a bodysuit and 4 copies of Forrest Gump on VHS and entered the contest as Tasha Yarmus, a hybrid costume of doomed Next Generation security office Tasha Yar and the oil monster named Armus that killed her in season one of the show.
It was pretty nice being in an environment where most people got what my costume was meant to be instantly. If I wore that costume to a normal party, people would just think I hated Forrest Gump.
Three hours went by, and then the results were announced. After seeing so many elaborate costumes, I was surprised that I made it to the final 30. When they called my number, right as I cheered, a fellow contestant I had been talking to stormed off, post-elimination.
Even though it was annoying to wait, it gave the remaining 30 contestants time to talk to one another about their costumes and forget about the competition. Two men dressed as Morn from DS9, who were essentially competing against each other, started to compare casting and latex techniques while others compared good places to eat.
Up until that moment, the contest was becoming unhealthily competitive and the emotion was intense. Everyone who spent time and put in serious effort on their outfits made other contestants feel like they didn’t try hard enough or have any skills. When the judges made their final decision it was clear that they had voted based on skill and quality of construction, and I was comfortable that I lost. My costume was creative, but it was hardly elaborate.
Finally, after hours of waiting for our collective moment of glory, we assembled for the formal attempt to break the world record. Before the count began, two judges stood before me and told me that I had to leave the room because my costume did not qualify for the world record.
Guinness rules are that you must be in a Star Trek costume and no interpretations would be counted. They said it was too conceptual. My heart sank and I begged them to let me stay in the room for the count as I pulled my press pass out of my costume. That pass was the only thing I had that kept me there, and for that, I'm grateful.
Within one hour 1,085 people dressed in various degrees of Star Trek costumes gathered in the convention’s ballroom and broke the world record. The last fan to be counted was none other than Terry Farrell, the actor who played Jadzia Dax on DS9. She ran in at the last second waving her entry number and promised she’d come as Dax next year. The crowd went berserk.
Leaving the ballroom I ran into Klingon Santa Claus. I asked if he was able to be a part of the world record. “No”, he said. “I was disqualified, but I’m fine with it. I love this costume and I do it every Christmas”.
Guinness World Records might have the world record set as 1,085, but in the hearts of Klingon Santa and I, it will always be 1087.
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