Even though Judith Shekoni appears in only its final film, Breaking Dawn -- Part 2, she is now officially part of the immortal Twilight firmament, having been recently threatened by the hormone-addled Twihards.
"We did this family photo in London, where it was me, Myanna [Buring], Jamie [Campbell], the director Bill [Condon], Taylor [Lautner], and uh --" and here Shekoni legitimately fumbles for the name of, like, one of the single most important human beings in an era that has seen the creation of a rotavirus vaccine and a skyscraper reaching higher than 2,700 feet. Then she remembers. "Rob? What's he called? That guy? Rob [Pattinson] and Kristin [Stewart]. And so we're all in a line. And Rob's coming to stand next to me.
"I'm wearing this yellow dress that's superlong on the floor, and he thinks he's going to stand on it, so he goes to lift it up. Then someone took a picture and posted it to my Twitter and said, 'Oh, did you have a wardrobe malfunction? Was Rob trying to help you with your dress?' And I wrote back, 'Or maybe he was trying to look up my dress.' Ha-ha, until suddenly, the replies I got were: 'Disgusting! Rob would never do that! Who do you think you are? Rob's a gentleman!'"
"And I was forced to write another tweet going, 'It's just my English sense of humor!' That was the only side where I was like, 'Oh wait, they have a bite!' But other than that, everyone has been absolutely wonderful."
Aside from having to be shuttled from safe house to safe house under the cover of night then, things are turning out fairly well for Shekoni, a Mancunian who starred on Eastenders, the venerable English soap opera that has been around longer than most vampires. Her acting, modeling, and presenting careers brought her to the United States, to her Twilight role as Zafrina in the Amazonian coven, and this year, she received a coveted invitation to Vanity Fair's Oscar party.
"I was there with some of the people I've admired for years," she tells Cultist. "Halle Berry was there, Jennifer Lawrence, Naomie Harris. Just everybody. I worked with Melissa McCarthy earlier this year, and she was there, so it was nice to see her again."
Imagine! Sitting down with one's celebrity pals to eat a life-size bust of oneself crafted out of beluga caviar!
"Do you know what?" Shekoni clarifies. "They were only serving In-N-Out Burger. At the Vanity Fair party! But I didn't manage to get one because it took too long and then my friends were like, 'It's OK, we can drive to the other one.' And I'm like, 'It's not the same! In-N-Out Burger at the Vanity Fair party, In-N-Out Burger on Sunset Boulevard -- it's not the same!'"
But all is not lost.
"What I'm planning is that when I'm invited next year, I can get the In-N-Out Burger then so I'll just wait until then," Shekoni says. Hopefully, they'll at least have put it in the fridge for her.
"When I was [still living] in England, I had a small part in The World Is Not Enough... There's always a place in my albums or in my house where the picture of me, dressed as a Bond girl, with Pierce Brosnan, should go, the one that I don't have because I was too aloof and went, 'No, I don't need it.'"
Does she hang an empty frame where it would have gone?
"I really should, to make myself feel the pain."
Fortunately, she has the built-in support group that comes from being in a coven. For those of us who have never been in one, Shekoni took a moment to explain.
"It's really cool," she says. "You've got your gang of vampire friends who are always on your side, have always got your back. People hung out quite a lot in their covens because when we were doing the fight scene, we spent over six weeks in those covens, stood there in the snow. So you got to bond a lot with the people you were nearby. So you end up going to dinner, getting drinks, hanging out, going shopping with your coven, and just having a good time."
Friends till the end is a daunting prospect when dealing with eternity. Still, Shekoni is making a go of it.
"I've hung out with Tracey [Heggins] since. And sometimes there's been some inter-coven friendships with other coven members. It's looked upon badly, but sometimes I am friends with other covens."
As Twilight becomes a part of her past, Shekoni is preparing more acting roles. But one thing she doesn't do anymore is model, even though certain interviewers might think she does. Still, there are far worse jobs someone could confuse you for having.
"It doesn't bother me," she says. "It's better than people thinking you're working as a high-class escort."
One other job she does have, however, is as a hair-extension magnate. Shekoni has her own hair-extension business. So how can you tell when someone is wearing one?
"Normally, you tug really hard. That's the key," Shekoni says. "No, if they're really good ones, you can't tell. So that would obviously be Extension Evolution, my brand. Any other brand, well, normally they look quite fuzzy at the ends, a little bit dry and probably the wrong color.
"And I've worn hair extensions since I was 16, so I just always love them and find such use in them. Like I'm wearing them now, clip-in extensions."
And we couldn't tell. But just knowing this fact felt as if at any moment, her face might spring open on a hinge to reveal an interior mechanism of turning cogs and sprockets, small whale oil lamps burning where her eyes had been. What in this world is real? What else is true?
Twilight, that's what. Twilight, always.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 is available now on DVD. For more on Judith Shekoni's hair extensions, visit ExtensionEvolution.com.
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