Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Interview: Emily Etheredge and the Costume Team

By Kayleen Peña (Producing Assistant)

Our fashion expert and her two protégés were at rehearsal recently, taking measurements and planning hair and makeup. I caught up with Emily Etheredge (our alien-obsessed -- no really, she considers the aliens in Jimmy! her babies -- costume designer), Taina Veras (our assistant hair and makeup designer), and Araba Ocran (our assistant costume designer). These three talented gals gave us their thoughts on Jimmy! and their work.

What has been interesting about designing for Jimmy!?

EMILY: Probably the aliens, without a doubt, or the peanuts. Like with the aliens, I was really challenged to think outside the box. Like, when you think of an alien, you kinda have like a green creature in mind -- bald, big headed. Kyle and Sam [co-directors of Jimmy!] and everyone wanted some bizarre creature that’s never been thought of as an alien before, so I went through a lot of different sketches of the most bizarre abnormal things. I’d wake up in the middle of the night from a dream and just sketch things. So that’s probably the most interesting thing. And then the sexy peanuts, or course.

TAINA: Just doing the makeup and learning how to put it on paper. Usually, I just start on people’s faces and work from there. Now, I’ve been learning how to sketch makeup on paper. And also just learning new stuff because I’m learning a lot of things from the cast and crew of Jimmy! about makeup design that I never knew before, so knowing these new things makes me better at doing the things that I like.

ARABA: I got to meet Emily, and she’s been giving me a lot of tips about sewing and everything. And it’s been interesting to see myself learn and grow as a designer. Emily’s helping me in a huge way. Instead of me paying for a tutor, she’s willing to help me and I’m willing to help her, for free, which is pretty cool.

What made you want to design for Jimmy!?

EMILY: Probably the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a costume designer. I go to FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] right now for fashion design, which is just because there aren’t a lot of costume design degrees out there, and Jimmy! just seemed like a really great opportunity for me to test my skills and work with a great bunch of people, all while learning.

TAINA: I’ve always liked to do fashion, hair, and makeup. It's what I really want to do in life, so I just wanted to show the world by designing for Jimmy! that I love hair and makeup.

ARABA: I just wanted to keep going with my skills, like sewing and everything, and the fact that I get to help people is cool to me. Jimmy! seemed like something that would be good for me.

What kind of look, feel, and vibe are you going for while designing for Jimmy!?

EMILY: Very comical and kind of over-the-top. Everything is supposed to be really exaggerated. Really, only Jimmy Carter is going to be pretty much true to himself. Everyone else is going to be as fantastical and dream-like and comical and oversized and ridiculous as possible.

What’s it like working with Emily Etheredge?

TAINA: It’s very nice. Now, I get to have a person who guides me and helps me. It’s awesome because I can get somebody to help me and make me more open with my work. I’m always scared that someone won’t like my work. Emily is helping me be free with my designs.

ARABA: I haven’t started working with her fully yet, but she’s pretty cool and really nice. I’m excited to start working even more with her. She’s very helpful.

What advice would you give to future assistant designers?

TAINA: Basically, show your style. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. If you want to draw something crazy, do it. Everybody has a different style.

ARABA: Come in with a positive attitude. Don’t be a downer. If you come in here with a negative attitude, you won’t really learn as much or actually help anybody. You just have to keep it positive and upbeat.

Why should someone buy a ticket to Jimmy! right now? At this very moment?

EMILY: I actually sent the link to some people today, and my reason is that we’re probably going to sell out quickly. I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to be interested in this; you wouldn’t want to miss out on it. Why risk it?

ARABA: Everyone’s working really hard for this, and you’d be really missing out if you didn’t buy a ticket. Everybody’s doing an amazing job, so I think people shouldn’t miss this.

TAINA: Jimmy! shows off the hard work that everyone has been doing, and even though we’re all students, we should be able as students to show the world that if professionals can do it, we can do it.

Don't take that risk, y'all! Buy your tickets to Jimmy!: A Musical Fable with Almost No Historical Basis today.

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