The force still with Chicago's Orli Shoshan
Chicago model and actress Orli Shoshan didn't realize that when she auditioned for a role in a "Star Wars" movie, she was making a deal for life.
"With some jobs, you do it, get paid and then move on and forget about it," Shoshan said. "'Star Wars' is different. I live it now."
Shoshan appeared as Jedi master Shaak Ti in two "Star Wars" movies -- "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." She will be part of the "Star Wars" contingent at this weekend's Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont, a group that will also include Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, and Ray Park, who played the evil Darth Maul.
"I go to conventions all over the world, and I love it," Shoshan said. "The fans are so nice and friendly, and they're so passionate about it. They ask questions about George Lucas and about my character and so on. It's really flattering."
Shoshan didn't set out to become a "Star Wars" fan favorite. She grew up in Israel, and in the late 1990s moved to Sydney, Australia, to pursue a modeling career. Her modeling work led to to some jobs on Australian television.
"Then my agency told me that George Lucas was filming a 'Star Wars' movie in town, and would I like to try out," she said. "I thought, yes, that would be fun, so I auditioned."
Playing Shaak Ti meant that Shoshan had to sit for three to four hours in a makeup chair so she could be transformed into the striking alien Jedi Knight.
"I loved the look of it, all those colors," she said. "It was so unusual and beautiful. But when I got in that chair I got scared -- what was I doing to my face? I had nothing to worry about, though."
Appearing in the films turned out to be a wonderful experience for Shoshan, one that inspired her to study acting in Israel so she could do more film work. Now living in Chicago with her husband and young daughter, Shoshan balances acting with her modeling work and the job she says is more important than anything -- being a mom.
"My daughter is almost 2 now, so I can allow myself to do a little bit more work," she said. "I'm working on movies, and it's great. And of course, I always have the conventions!"
Wizard World Chicago Comic-ConWho will be there: Dozens of comic-book creators like Streamwood's Art Baltazar, who cowrites and draws the award-winning "Tiny Titans" book for DC Comics; movie and television stars like Bruce Campbell from the "Evil Dead" films; comic-book dealers from all over the Midwest.
What's happening: Panel discussions, autograph signings, question-and-answer sessions with celebrities
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11; Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.
Where: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont
Tickets: $30 per day, autographs and some special events extra. For a full schedule, go to wizardworld.com