Even when I’m not updating frequently, I still get quite a few reader questions hitting my Alice Cullen e-mail account and the inbox of my Facebook page. The majority of them relate to Alice’s appearance – how do you style your hair like Alice’s? Where can I find her clothing? – but every so often, I’m asked a very important question:
How do I act like Alice Cullen?
It’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many different ways to interpret the character and so many different facets of her personality to consider. When I think of the Alice Cullen I’ve grown to love through both the Twilight novels and films, a number of traits come to mind. Alice Cullen is, in no particular order:
As you can see, it’s a fairly long list – and an incomplete one, at that, as I’ve only listed traits that could be considered positive. If I were to list some negative traits, I could perhaps add “sarcastic” or “occasionally manipulative,” among others – because she isn’t perfect. That’s because Alice, like a real person, is multi-faceted. It’s easy to dismiss her as being a trivial character – someone who enjoys shopping and dancing and planning parties – and those are certainly things that Alice loves. But that isn’t who she is, at her core.
That’s why it’s difficult to describe how to act like Alice Cullen. If I were to simply say “offer fashion advice to those around you,” or “walk gracefully, like a ballet dancer,” those would be great places to start – but that isn’t the extent of what it means to be Alice Cullen. Focusing solely on those aspects wouldn’t be a full portrayal of Alice – it would be creating a caricature. It’s the difference between doing an impression and becoming a character.
So how do I play Alice Cullen?
To begin with, I aim to treat everyone I meet the way Alice treats Bella: like we’re best friends, instantly. Readers love Alice’s character because they want to be her friend, and that’s a powerful thing. So I aim to be bubbly, warm and open, offering compliments and fashion advice and invitations to the Cullen house for parties. And then, when the conversation deepens, I ask them about their lives: their families, their jobs, their homes. Alice is strangely fascinated with Bella because she can have human experiences through her, and when playing the role, I extend that fascination toward every “human” I meet – time permitting, of course! Often times it isn’t possible to have a lengthy conversation with someone because the crowds are so large, but I aim to leave people with some impression of my understanding of Alice’s character, be it big or small.
Of course, Alice isn’t kind all the time. She’s often sarcastic or sharp-tongued, but I tend not to aim barbs toward guests – I save that for fellow members of the Olympic Coven. Guests love to watch Alice playfully argue with Emmett; verbally spar with Jacob; deride Bella’s fashion choices; or tell Edward that as a brother, he’s “sometimes a disappointment.” It provides a level of realism that people recall from Alice’s personality in the novels, while not being mean to anyone who isn’t in on the performance.
Physically, there are a number of details I try to keep in mind when portraying Alice. My voice is naturally high-pitched, but I consciously speak in a higher, lilting voice as Alice. When posing for photos, I point my toes like a dancer. In many cases, I don’t walk – I skip. When entering a room, I often have Jasper twirl me like we’re dancers walking onto a stage. I often stand next to coven members whose size emphasizes my small stature. Bella typically describes the Cullens in physical terms, so I’ve made it a point to pay attention to the physicality of Alice’s character in terms of how she carries herself and how other people perceive her.
There are certain lines of dialogue that are cornerstones of my portrayal as well. Fundamentally, I try to combine modern vernacular with formal language to give the impression of someone who may or may not be older than they appear. I often assure Jasper that he won’t hurt anyone when we’re in large crowds. I’ll gently chastise Bella for her clothing choices. I’ll remind Edward that he promised me a Porsche for Christmas. And when greeting “humans” with a hug, I’ll exclaim that “oh, you do smell good” – because so many people resonate with Bella’s character, and it helps to put them in her shoes.
But ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to bring Alice’s character to life.
That’s the biggest reason why offering a tutorial on how to act like Alice Cullen is hard: everything I’ve outlined is just my interpretation. It’s how I pieced her character together through snippets of dialogue or descriptions from Bella’s perspective. I’ve seen other cosplayers beautifully portray Alice in ways that are completely different, and I love that. I celebrate that.
Like every unique garment in Alice’s closet, no two Alice cosplayers are alike – and that’s the beauty of the fandom. But for those who are still finding their voice as Alice, I hope this has helped.