There has been much Star Trek talk in pop culture news lately.
Picard is returning to television, and a new Spock has been cast in the latest project, but the one that struck my attention was the announcement on some gossip and entertainment sites that Nichelle Nichols, now 85, has been diagnosed with “moderate progressive dementia.” This has been circulating on many celebrity gossip sites, so it is always hard to know what is fact and what is fiction, but it did make me think about how much I loved her character.
To me, growing up with old reruns of the original series, Nichols will always be my Uhura, and I admired her character. She was smart, graceful yet tough, and classy. Even today, she is still attending some conventions and other public events, letting fans know how much they mean to her.
I saw her at a convention around 15 years ago, and even though she was likely 70 by this time, she was still an amazing person to get to see. In celebration of Nichols and the groundbreaking, awesome character she brought to life, I’m sharing a simple little DIY I did on an old blog of mine inspired the Nyota Uhura’s earrings—both the styles worn by Nichols and those work by Zoe Saldana in the movie reboots.
For the original Uhura designs, which reflected that wonderful retro-future vibe, I used some 12 gauge aluminum craft wire to create the basic shapes and attached them to some simple French hooks with plain round links. I have made three variations, and, yes, I wear them all:
Green Loops: These were my favorites as a kid as they stood out against the sea of red, yellow, and blue uniforms. Using needlenose pliers, I formed a loop by pulling the wire around a pill container (a shot glass also works well), with a small finishing loop at the end. I used fluorescent green craft paint to color them and sealed it with a little decoupage to help stop the paint from chipping.
Long Coils: I made these using gold-colored wire. I placed one end in the pliers and wound it around them about three or four times, but not too tight. I pulled the pliers out and loosed up the coil. I left about two inches of wire at the end and formed a small loop to attach to the hook.
Layered Hoops: These were a pretty easy process. I linked three round links together, forming a small chain from the French hook, then wound two small, tight coils the way I did the long coils. These I threaded through the bottom link. I made a slightly larger loop through the middle link and an even larger link through the top link. I used a tiny drop of super glue where the ends of the wire meet on the loops.
For the “reboot” Uhura, I couldn’t find any beads the shape I wanted so I used red and pearly white bakeable polymer clay. For each earring, I formed a teaspoon size ball, rolled it out a little bit, then tapered it off at both ends. Before baking them, I poked a hole in one tip of each with a Phillips screwdriver. Like the “original” Uhura earrings, I attached these to French hooks with round links.
Whatever the future holds from Nichols, I am happy to see she is still representing the remarkable character she first created. She commented on how much this character and Star Trek has meant to fans as recently as last week when she talked to Michigan paper on her upcoming appearance at the Michigan Comic Con in Detroit.
She said in the article Roddenberry’s vision of a future “that goes beyond the struggles we all see every day on earth” is one reason the show has such staying power.
“It shows how amazing humanity can be when we put that behind us,” she said. “We can do what we do best: explore.”
It is good to know Nichols is still partaking in the adventure of everyday life with decorum and dignity.