Building the Perfect Beast

(Thanks to Don Henley for the title)

So far, all of our talk about avatar appearance and customization have been confined to your human avatar. But what if you’d rather not be human? What if you’d rather be an animal? Can you do that in Second Life?

As a matter of fact, your avatar can become an animal as easily as you became a human. You can be anything from a gentle bunny to a ferocious werewolf to a roaring dragon and anything in between. Just as with you human avatar, if you can imagine it, you can be it.

Meet Julie Blaze

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Julie’s just your average SL avatar…most of the time, that is. But sometimes—particularly when the moon is full—she becomes someone, or rather, something, entirely different.

Julie 2On these occasions, Julie becomes Cheetah-Woman.
Now she is “nature, red in tooth and claw.”
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850.)

Actually, she’s not really all that fierce—except maybe on the dance floor! You see, Julie is a “furry;” a non-human, animal-like avatar. How many furries are there in SL? It’s hard to tell, but consider this: there are hundreds thousands of groups with the words furry or furries in their names.

So no, you don’t have to be a human all the time—or even at all.

As my dear departed mother was ever fond of saying, “’Everyone to his own taste,’ said the farmer as he kissed the cow.”

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

Let’s Talk About Hair

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Meet Valerie, Valerie McIntyre. She’s my new friend, and she has a problem. She’s Black, African-American. But that’s not her problem.

Her problem is a lack of hair options. You see, Second Life is a lot like real life in this respect: most fashions are designed for the American White Woman beautiful ideal. And therein lies the rub.

With very few exceptions, it’s hard to find African skins without shelling out large amounts of $Lindens.

And the same thing applies to hair. Val was able to find 3 hairstyles that suit her ancestry. They all came from Alli&Ali on the SL Marketplace, and they each cost $L1.

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You see the problem? If she were a white woman, she’d have literally thousands of styles she could pick.

Even styles that can be custom-colored are still aimed at that pesky white demographic:

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So What’s a Girl to Do?

Well, as usual, my favorite hair resource, both in-world and on the Marketplace, is Alli&Ali Designs. With very few exceptions, that’s where both Valerie and I get all of our hair.

I’ve just been approved to blog about Alli&Ali Designs on their official blog, and I’ll be starting this weekend. Once I’ve started, I’ll post the blog address here, so you can get the lowdown on the latest style.

Until then, this is Aisling (and Val) signing off, and wishing you, as I always do,

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

Becoming Aisling

When I first joined Second Life (or SL, as we usually call it), this is the avatar I chose:

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Plain, inoffensive, and boring, as most of the default avatars are. But don’t worry! You can easily change part of or even your complete appearance.

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This is me as I am today. But I didn’t get to look like this all at once: it took a lot of exploration, searching, and trial and error to arrive at this look. And aren’t you lucky! I’m going to share all I learned with you!

Becoming You

While some of this information is specific to my looks, you can use the general principles involved to become the best version of you that you can possibly be. And what exactly is the best version? It’s what you—after all your experimentation and trial and error—are happy with.

A Word on Viewers

If you’re like everyone else, when you created your SL account, you downloaded the official Second Life Viewer—the software that allows to to log into SL. Personally, I don’t like it: it takes up too many resources (such as memory) on my computer. Instead, I—along with thousands of other SL players—have opted to download the Firestorm Viewer. I would encourage you to download it and see which of the two viewers you prefer. There is far more in-world support for Firestorm than there is for the SL viewer.

Either way, launch your viewer and head on over to New Resident Island. There you’ll find tons of high-quality free items (freebies) to buy (for no money) and use to customize your avatar—including a free body you can modify—to your heart’s delight. Skins, clothes, shoes—you name it, it’s all here.

Sorry, Guys

If you’re a male character,  I’ve got some bad news for you: there just aren’t that many fashion options for you. Oh, they’re there—you’ll just have to look harder than the women will. But isn’t that just like real life? Your best bet for freebies is New Resident Island.

Girltown—A Free Home For Women

Your home in SL is the place you end up when you first log in, and where you return when you tell the viewer to return you home.

Girltown is such a place. For no cost to you, you can join what is SL’s oldest and best support group for women (Girltown, duh!). And once you join, you can set your home to Girltown.

Best of all, male avatars are automatically ejected if they try to get in. Girltown is truly a women-only safe area. Not to mention the freebies that are available there.

The Free Dove

For 12 years, The Free Dove has been SL’s go-to place for the latest fashions. Many of SL’s top designers offer their wares for free here, and they are all of very high quality. Clothes, jewelry, hats, and hair—you’ll find them all here. And yes, there are men’s fashions here as well.

That’s It For Now!

I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll stop right here. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch you all later.

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling