Forever Twilight

United States

Once a year, vampires from all over the world gather in the small town of Forks...

Forever Twilight

By Stefan Roesch

We caught up with US-based cosplayers Jacqueline Brown and Shandra Mutchie to find out more about the annual Forever Twilight Festival in Forks.

But first a quick word for the unitiated amongst us: Cosplay (a combination of the words costume-play), is a hobby in which participants called cosplayers dress themselves up to resemble a specific character.

Shandra Mutchie aka 'Aro'

As well as being a festival host at Forever Twilight, Shandra is an official cosplayer. For the 2018 festival, she is also in charge of the Volturi cosplayers, known as the Volterra Coven.

Can you tell us more about the Twilight character you play at the festival?

"I play Aro, one of the three Masters of the Volturi. The Volturi's entire purpose is to protect the vampire world. Aro is universally regarded as the head of the Volturi, along with ruler of the vampire world. He founded the Volturi alongside Caius and Marcus, the three of them being over 3000 years old. Aro has the gift of tactile telepathy, meaning that with a single touch, he can see every thought you have ever had."

Who are the Volterra Coven?

"The Volturi are an ancient coven made up of about 30 (give or take a few) vampires. This is by far the largest coven in the vampire world. Most vampires exist in small covens or as nomads. The coven hosts a number of powerful vampires, all recruited by Aro over time.

The Volterra Coven at the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival 2018

The Volterra Coven at the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival 2018

It has been an indescribable privilege and pleasure to be a part of such a special event, and I am unsure if I will ever be involved with anything of this magnitude or level of wonder again. Special things like this come so rarely."

Jacqueline Brown aka 'Bree Tanner'

Jacqueline has attended the festival many times as part of an acting group called the Olympic Coven.

Can you tell us more about the Twilight character you play at the festival?

"My role is the newborn vampire, Bree Tanner. Bree was changed into a vampire for the newborn army in Twilight - Eclipse. Die hard Twilight fans will know Stephenie even wrote a book about her - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. It is basically a chunk of Eclipse from Bree's point of view, which is pretty great because it gives me a lot more to go on when acting.

Sadly Bree doesn't have a happy ending and she is killed unfairly by the Volturi. Her story really touched me and I am really grateful I have the honor to portray her. The actress that plays Bree in the film, Jodelle Ferland, has been very kind to me from the start, ever since I began this journey in the Olympic Coven."

Who are the Olympic Coven?

"We are a professional group of actors who portray the 'Olympic Coven' from Twilight. Although many of us look like our actor counterparts from the films, we strive to be as Stephenie imagined her book characters and bring them to life for Twilight fans. We interact with guests as our characters, take photos with visitors, and even sign books - or anything else we are asked! I've signed a few interesting things in the past... a sewing machine, some costume pieces, and even a car."

The Olympic Coven.

The Olympic Coven.

What attracted you both to the Twilight Saga in the first place?

Jacqueline: "I was in middle school when I first started reading Twilight. Now I've graduated from college and I'm still forever grateful for what this saga has done for me in my life. What attracted me to the story the most was the connection I felt towards Bella. Most every Twilight fan you talk to might say this. Bella is very 'real' and relatable. As I was growing up close to her age, I felt like I was reading a book from my own point of view. Having the mysterious love story was something that kept me reading, as I've always been a romantic."

Shandra: "I was actually one of the first to read Twilight, though I didn't fall in love with it immediately like others did. I used to babysit for Stephenie Meyer's first cousin (and very good friend), and she told my mother and me about it before it was published. I acquired a copy immediately after it was published, before it became the sensation it did, and read it.

Shandra at the Twilight Forever Festival.

Shandra at the Twilight Forever Festival.

My love for the Twilight Saga didn't come until I saw Michael Sheen's portrayal of Aro in the New Moon film. The moment I saw him, I was absolutely intrigued. Aro is one of the most memorable parts of the entire film series. If not for the reasons I adore him, then for his two creepy cackles!"

What is so special about the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival?

Shandra: "I think one of the most amazing things about Forks itself is that everything that exists in the books exists in reality there - the high school, the hospital, Bella's house, the Cullens', Jacob Black's house, the Treaty Line, First Beach, the Thriftway where Bella works... It adds a layer of magic for TwiHearts who decide to make their pilgrimage there.

Guests can take tours of the Miller Tree Inn (the Cullens' house), and see the graduation caps featured in the film, have their photo taken in front of the 'Welcome To Forks' sign, as well as meet some of the actors from the films! It has proven to be memorable and truly unique to guests who are only able to make one trip to Forks in their lifetime."

Fans at the festival.

Fans at the festival.

Jacqueline: "The Forever Twilight in Forks festival has to be the biggest thing I look forward to every year. It's not like anything else I've ever experienced. Visiting Washington for the first time felt like magic, like you literally stepped inside the books. I remember attending my first event as Bree and being just in awe. The fans feel like family and the excitement around you is something you never forget."

The Olympic Coven at the Forever Twilight Festival in 2015.

The Olympic Coven at the Forever Twilight Festival in 2015.

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