Terry Farrell & Michael Westmore Talk "Dax 539" Reunion
Dax 539. It was an event to behold and to remember. This past Saturday, Terry Farrell stepped on to the big stage at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. She sported black sweatpants, a gray “Dax 539” t-shirt and no makeup. Enter the Oscar-winning makeup guru Michael Westmore, who’d applied Farrell’s Jadzia Dax Trill spots 538 times during her six years on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And now Westmore did so one more time, with Farrell and Westmore chatting amiably with each and the audience as Westmore wove his magic. Westmore finished and Farrell excused herself, leaving Westmore to interact with the audience for a little while.
And then, much to the audience’s shock and utter joy, Farrell re-emerged in Dax’s red leather wedding dress (from “You Are Cordially Invited…,” accompanied by the man who’d made it, Robert Blackman. The dress was actually part of a collection on display in the dealers’ room, and someone at CBS suggested that maybe Farrell could wear that to put the cherry on top of an already-special moment. The pieces fell together, and the crowd in the audience at the Vegas convention hit the jackpot. StarTrek.com followed up with Farrell and Westmore a few days later to discuss Dax 539, and here’s what they had to say:
Terry, let's start with you. You've really gotten back into the convention fold the past couple of years. What led to that and how much are you enjoying it?
FARRELL: My husband is very supportive and without him none of this would be possible for me. My son is at a good age; he understands that I really enjoy myself. Plus, Adam and Stephanie (at Creation Entertainment) are very respectful of my commitment to my family. I don't have any pressure, and I just have fun. And everyone is having fun! It's contagious! I love it.
Mike, it'd been a while since you'd done conventions, but in general, what do you enjoy about them?
WESTMORE: The convention was great. I always enjoy the interaction between Trekkies, fans and former associates.
Terry, it was you who suggested to Mike that he make you up one more time as Dax. How and when did that thought pop into your head, and how did you approach Mike about it?
FARRELL: Last year's show, when I was up on stage, I was talking about how I made a Dark Sonic costume for my son and the convention he was at -- Sonic Boom -- in St. Louis. I was super-proud of making a costume for Max and I think it fueled my excitement for the attempt that year, 2013, at Creation’s convention in Las Vegas. I can't remember, but I think a fan asked if I was going to go to the Guinness attempt later that afternoon. I didn't have a costume and had said to the audience that I would make my own costume for 2014 and join them then on the attempt. Well, when I got off stage it was a craze! Everyone was supportive of getting me a costume for later that day. It was electric, the excitement. We didn't have a moment to spare and I was booked solid. Stephanie and Val pulled this together with the help of the amazing volunteers. Fun drama. We pulled off, surprising the fans.
When I got up on stage in my "Trials and Tribble-ations" costume, a t-shirt dress, I was so blown away by the amazing costumes. I knew I was in way too deep to be making a costume for the following year. And I was thinking, “I can't do my spots!! I can't come like I'm going to a Halloween party down the street. I need to look like I just walked off the set. I need to look as good as these amazingly talented fans!” I needed Mike. “If I could have my spots done by Mike and make an original costume/wear an original costume…. Bob, but why would Bob have my costume? I need Stephanie Dizon (at Creation) to help... I need to look authentic, now that would be cool.” The great thing was we already had plans to go hang out at Mike and (his wife) Marion's house. As we are driving across the desert I couldn't stop thinking about the idea and how much fun it would be. Asking Mike is the easy part; he's a friend and always up for something new! I just couldn't wait to see his face and I so hoped he wouldn't be too busy to do it. I asked Mike what he thought of the idea -- and he loved it. Done on that end.
Mike, what was your immediate reaction to the idea?
WESTMORE: My immediate reaction and comment to Terry’s suggestion was “Let’s do it.” After our show (in Vegas), my response was, “Let’s take Dax 540 to Broadway.” Our interaction was so right. It was just like the old days, bantering and laughing. Seriously, I would love to do it again at another convention and I am sure Terry would, too.
But let's go back to Dax 539. Mike, you found your notes and realized you'd done Terry's makeup 538 times. Thus... Dax 539. How amazed were you that it'd been done that many times?
WESTMORE: I have a log where I kept track of every person or alien on a daily basis. All I had to do was go back to season one and count the days over Terry’s six years. Actually, I numbered each time on Terry’s lower neck with Roman Numerals and my initials. This time it was DXXXIX MW. It didn’t surprise me, the number of times, because I was keeping track in my log all along. I also kept track of Voyager’s Chakotay’s tattoo.
Which one of you approached Creation with the idea, and what was their reaction?
FARRELL: I approached Stephanie Dizon at Creation and I had a few ideas about how we should do it. She's terrifically supportive and would move a mountain if she could to get things done. She's my friend. She took my ideas to (Creation co-CEOs) Adam and Gary, and they formulated the new event. It takes a team, and that is the best part of working together.
WESTMORE: Terry approached Creation, and the next thing I knew we are on the program.
Was the plan always for Robert Blackman join the two of you on stage, or did that only happen after Terry ended up wearing the Dax wedding dress?
WESTMORE: I didn’t know until Friday before our show that Terry was going to wear the wedding dress and Bob Blackman was going to join us on stage. I was thrilled he was there, as we had a great rapport throughout the different series. We’d always worked together to coordinate the makeup, hair and costume.
FARRELL: That was beautiful. I didn't know until Wednesday night that I was wearing my dress. That is when all the pieces fell together. I was out-of-my-mind excited. I didn't think about the dress not fitting. My weight is the same, but it never occurred to me that the dress could've shrunk. Yikes! I got lucky. I had my fitting on Thursday, just after I arrived in town. John and Marian from CBS helped me and I asked if Bob could escort me out. Everyone in the fitting room loved that idea, so I called Bob and asked if he would. And he was thrilled and I was beside myself. It was perfect.
Terry, what was it like to get back into it? Was it deja vu all over again? And when you wore it for the actual episode, were Bob and Mike with you as they were this time?
FARRELL: I remember wishing that I hadn't held in my rib cage when Bob took the measurements for my dress! Bob will probably be too much of a gentleman to tell you, but the zip up past my ribs… rough. Yes, Michael and Bob were both there on the day to help get me ready. Being together again, the three of us, was natural; it was as if no time had gone by. I love them both and am so proud to know them and to be able to say we worked together. We spent some good time together a long time ago -- and it was quality time.
WESTMORE: Something as important as the Dax/Worf wedding scene, Bob and I were on the set when filming commenced. (And for the convention), I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed bringing Dax back for everyone’s enjoyment and so everyone in the audience could experience the bond between the three of us.
Mike, you joked about this earlier, but do you think something like this will ever happen again?
WESTMORE: I don’t know if it will ever happen again, but I am going to keep my Dax makeup kit handy and my fingers crossed.
FARRELL: I would love to do it again! Mike really was thinking Broadway, tee-hee! That is how much fun we had!! Hopefully the fans loved it as half as much as we three did.