Today’s monster is Nina Sayers alter ego in the ballet thriller, Black Swan.
About the Look
Nina is a beautiful, talented dancer who wins her dream role in Swan Lake and it kills her.
Black Swan can be read as psychological thriller about the cut throat world of ballet. Nina has an abusive mother, a lecherous director, and all her costars want her to fall. Everything that happens can be read as Nina slowly going insane, and as such, an indictment of elite ballet culture. The competition, the pressure to perform, the long hours, the poor diet, the huge physical toll on her body, the addiction to perfection. She’s pulled in contrasting directions, and not merely the dichotomy between the white and black swans. Her trappings and demeanor are childish, while the roles she’s playing, both on stage and off, are adult and old-fashioned. And she explores her sexuality with both men and women. All of this collides, her sense of self is fractured, and she kills herself.
Black Swan could also be taken at face value, as a horror story about the birth of a demon. Nina’s body becomes something foreign and frightening. Her skin turns scaly, wings writhe beneath her skin, and pieces of cartilage pop through. The monster possesses her, allows her to be powerful and gives her confidence and it becomes another kind of addiction. Eventually the demon kills Nina, and leaves her body behind like a husk it outgrew.
I find ballet heartbreakingly beautiful. And seductively dangerous. The Black Swan captures both sides.
About My Look
In college I almost exclusively wore oversized sweatshirts with leggings, or even just tights, and ballet slippers tucked into fuzzy boots to walk outdoors. I was theater arts major with a concentration in dance and movement, so part of it was practical, but it also provided a kind of security. A kind of identity. That same sense of security and identity is why I started everyday cosplaying. I dress up so I know who I am.
I’ve owned the skirt for decades and I always have many pairs of dance shoes: ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom. I’m wearing layers, as dancers traditionally do, the sweater over a shrug over a sparkly dance top. Bare colored tights and leg warmers complete the look.
My necklace is a replica of the one Nancy wears in Stranger Things. For make-up I’m wearing cream eyeliner by elf and silver lipstick (purchased at Party City), which I also brushed over my eyebrows and cheeks. The Swan Queen hair accessory was found at Michaels (and is not actually a hair accessory). The photos by the window were taken in my daughter’s bedroom but the Star Wars poster is mine.