Cosplay Tutorial: Pearl Forrester (MST3K)

By Loryn Stone


Pearl. Pearl. Pearl. Mmm, what a performer.

Around here on PopLurker, we’re huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans. In fact, we take any opportunity we can to write about the show. Additionally, I take any chance I get to bust out my Pearl Forrester cosplay.

Seriously- Pearl Forrester gives me strength.

After testing it out at a cosplay get-together at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, I debuted this cosplay at WonderCon 2017. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had at a convention. In spite of the fact that I totally wore the wrong shoes and tore my feet open (rookie mistake, wear Converse all the time), walking around in my Pearl Forrester costume with my best friend Breana as Brain Guy was one of the happiest times of my life.

Ready to take over the world and send you cheesy movies

While I’m not any cosplay master (really, my skills border on novice at best), I think I make a pretty solid Pearl Forrester. So for fun today, I thought I would share how I made my costume and how I transformed my face into that of the most gorgeous, powerful MAD that ever existed.

Step One: The Costume


I will admit I took a few liberties with the color/style of my shirt. True, Pearl’s shirt is more of a muddy lime green, definitely not the same explosive brightness as Dr. Clayton Forrester’s lab coat. And her shirt looks heavy, like a jacket. But I decided to go with olive green. This shirt, specifically. As with all Chinese shirts from Amazon, order your size up. I normally wear an XL, but in Amazon from China clothes, I’m a 3X.


It’s super important to keep temperature in mind when going to conventions. I live in Los Angeles, where it’s always deathly hot by the time convention season rolls around. Therefore, my Pearl shirt is breezy and cool. If you’re a cosplayer that needs to be on model and on point, that’s your prerogative. Wear whatever you want, sweat as you need to. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking liberties.

For this shirt, eight buttons were needed, which I ordered from Amazon right here.

The embroidered yellow ‘F’ is also from Amazon, which you can find here.

I picked up some black satin scraps for the collar from my local craft store, and I purchased my black gloves from Amazon right here.

I’ll admit, I didn’t sew much for this costume. I removed the original buttons and sewed the black costume ones on by hand with a needle and thread. I tried on the shirt and marked with a black Sharpie where the perfect spot for the ‘F’ was going to go.

Then, I glued the yellow ‘F’ on with my favorite fabric glues.  (Both linked right there) Make sure you put a paper bag or something inside your shirt when gluing so you don’t accidentally glue the insides of the shirt together. Because of the Southern California heat, I don’t use hot glue on my costumes often (melting risk), but there are cosplay tutorials out there with people using solely hot glue guns instead of sewing, so that method does exist.

Speaking of gluing versus sewing, someone smart could have sewed the black collar on. But that someone isn’t me. Instead, I just cut it to the height and length of the collar and glued it on as well. If you get some of your glue stuck on the fabric, just heat an iron on low, put a dry paper towel or cloth over your clothes, and gently use the heat to warm the glue. You can simply wipe it away.


Lastly, I paired the shirt with some black leggings from Forever 21. And there you have it- Pearlfection.

Step Two: The Face


Mary Jo Pehl is a goddess and I can only hope to reach a quarter of her majesty. I thought long and hard about Pearl makeup and tried a few things before coming to a pleasing conclusion.

Cheap. Is. Best.


Makeup pops from Pearl’s face in a way that only Cover Girl and Wet N’ Wild pigments can do, so that’s exactly what I went for when building my Pearl hair and face. I don’t wear foundation in my every day, so I keep the cheap stuff around for conventions. If it expires and you have to throw it away before you use it all, it’s less money wasted. I’ll include links to the products I used for Pearl in case you want to order them, too.

Note: When you order products from any of the links included, you’re helping PopLurker earn a little bit of scratch. Money helps us keep going. Thank you for your love and support. 

I’ts morphin’ time


Behold all the products I used to make transform into Pearl:

Hairbrush, Mousse, and a ponytail holder (you can buy these at a drugstore, any brand)

Foundation primer, foundation, and pressed powder (I recommend buying in person also to match your skin tone correctly)

Eye shadow Primer (to make the colors pop, and I love Urban Decay), an Urban Decay eyebrow kit in Honey Pot (for those blonde eyebrows, pictured below) a pallet with blue/yellow eye shadow (mine isn’t available anymore, but here are some comparable ones), black eyeliner, black mascara, hot pink blush, and some red, red lipstick.

Let’s do our hair.

Put a wad of mousse in your hand, shmear it through your hair, and brush into an adorable 80s worthy side ponytail. Then pull it into a bun. If you have adorable fluffy curls like Mary Jo, you’ll get the supreme Pearl hair, but this is what I have to work with.


Now the face. Use your foundation primer, foundation, and powder to give your face a clean, photo-ready look. I also put some foundation on my lips to help the lipstick stay longer.


Now, the best part. Eyebrows and cheeks.



All right, we’re getting closer, Space-Boy-Toy.


Dab a tiny amount of the eye shadow primer on your lids and let it dry for a minute. Then, taking a makeup brush (you can get them for cheap these days because thanks, YouTube makeup tutorials) smear the electric blue color on your lids and the yellow on the bone underneath your perfectly filled eyebrows. Then, use your eyeliner to draw a line across your upper lid, coming off your face in a cat eye swipe.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Part of the fun of Pearl is the chaos.


We’re down to the finishing touches! Use your eyeliner on your lower lid, finish with mascara, and coat your screaming mouth with that red, red, lipstick.





Neat. Let’s get dressed!

Photo-shoot time! And the only thing that makes a photo shoot better is…a hostage!


Pearl Photo
Credit: Gil Riego Jr. Photography

Follow Loryn on Twitter and help her achieve her MST3K Group Cosplay Squad goals. She also has a personal blog. Her debut Young Adult novel “My Starlight”, about anime fandom, cosplaying, love, loss, and friendship will be released 08/03/18 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.  

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