A costume designer’s avant garde path to Hollywood


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It’s not all the time glamorous working in Hollywood, says Amanda Penny, an assistant costume designer for the series “Glamourous” that is scheduled for release on Netflix this year.

A go to to the boutique to buy haute couture names like Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Louboutinis just one scene of the show for individuals who have labored in costume design. Standing knee-deep in mud whereas holding an actor’s towels and warm-up coats beneath pouring rain, dressed in easy utilitarian clothing, is one other that Penny remembers clearly.

“I would definitely tell them to not hand over,” she says, talking of recommendation for someone starting off within the trade and alluding to her experience within the “egotistical” and “nepotistic” aspect of Hollywood.

“You need to be very constant, since you don’t get hired in your dream venture in a single day. It took me a number of years before I truly began to get my identify on the market and acknowledged. And then folks will begin to ask for you by name after they be taught who you might be and like your work.”

Before she was employed to work for fan-favorite reveals such as the Amazon Prime unique “The Boys” (2019) and the upcoming Netflix series “Glamourous” (2023) where she worked as an assistant to costume designer Nancy Gould, Penny was once a college drop-out that often returned to her hometown of Fort Frances to rediscover what she wanted to do.

In 2004, at 18 years old, Penny moved out of Fort Frances to hitch the first cohort of students in the Acting for Film & Television program at Humber College.

The program required college students to take a yoga course, Penny said, a class that she failed after being chastised by the trainer for smart-off remarks and supposedly not wanting to participate.

Costume supervisor Sydney, Amanda’s assistant Liza and Amanda Penny holding emergency blankets during a scene in November where 400 extras are carrying t-shirts, bloody, mendacity on the chilly cement for The Boys season 2. – Submitted photos

Penny had a observe from her chiropractor that proved that she wasn’t making an attempt to be rebellious, she simply had scoliosis and couldn’t hold positions just like the downward canine. She says, “I couldn’t hold it, I kept falling out of it simply because of how unhealthy the ache of my shoulders would be. And [the teacher] was continuously chastising me for not wanting to take part within the class, and never wanting to be taught.”

When the trainer gave her a failing grade, Penny had two decisions. She may both repeat the primary 12 months of her performing program, or drop out totally.

“I simply dropped out and mentioned ‘screw this,’” she says, adding that she then went back to Fort Frances.

Five months later, Penny returned to Toronto with a good friend and began a couple of acting gigs through an agent. Realizing that her heart wasn’t in it, she switched course whereas maintaining her roots in the movie business.

In 2009, Penny completed a style design program from Vancouver.

After another transfer residence to Fort Frances as a latest graduate, and one other return to Toronto the place her good friend had film connections, Penny started working in costume design for a pair quick movies corresponding to “Somnolence,” a futuristic and dramatic quick movie that premiered on the Cannes Film Festival.

“And we from there, simply making an attempt to determine out what we wanted to do in film, like if we needed to take this as a future career if we wanted to just do it as a pastime.”

Background actors used to be referred to as “extras,” Penny says, and can be distinguished as anyone within the scene that isn’t a speaking actor. Penny worked as an “extra” for about two years.

As an additional for the historical disaster movie “Pompeii” (2014), Penny began chatting with a “costumer” about her degree in trend and need to work within the industry.

The costumer happened to be Madeleine Stewart, costume designer for the traditional tv series “Avonlea” (1990) and extra lately the American superhero movie “Suicide Squad” (2016).

“She came out and talked to me. And she’s like, ‘Oh, you could have a level in trend design for costuming, that might be actually, actually important. That could be very important. A lot of individuals don’t even have stitching expertise who work in the costume department. Do you wish to get your allow for the Union so you probably can work with us?’”

Since then, Penny has built a vast portfolio through the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Union. In November, her team wrapped up manufacturing for “Glamorous” (2023).

“I discover that plenty of my friends that do non-union shows, they’re not getting all of them the cash that you would from a union present,” Penny says. “They’re not getting the identical publicity or they’re not capable of work with the same massive names. So if you wish to work on your dream challenge, actually, being part of the IATSE union is definitely life altering.”

The work of a dressing up designer is equal parts enjoyable and arduous. Alongside “Glamourous” producer Kameron Tarlow, Penny mapped out what every character would wear for every day throughout the episode. And except the character was scripted as a fashion-anorak who obsessively wore the identical factor daily, multiple outfits have to be ready.

“Because if you see them in the morning at house consuming breakfast, they’re of their pajamas, then you definitely see them at work, so now they have a work look. And then they’re out for dinner that night time. now they have an evening look. So you’ve got three appears within that one day change. You have to do this all through the entire solid for each single episode,” Penny says.

Fort Frances native Amanda Penny worked on set for the Amazon Prime Original “The Boys.” She stands in the rubble from the film “Dawn of the Seven” within a scene from season 2 of the show. – Submitted photo

“Once I get all that mapped out on the truck and laid out, every thing gets steamed and prepped after which I’m the one that puts it in their rooms,” Penny says, describing the position of a dressing up truck supervisor. “When the actors come to get dressed for their scene, I’m standing exterior their trailer door ready for them to dress. Sometimes actors need help with their footwear, or they need assistance with buttons on their shirt cuffs, typically actresses need help putting on their earrings, their necklaces. The costume truck supervisor is the one which stands by and makes positive the actors are all dressed for every scene.”

“The background coordinator is basically the costume designer for the extras. A lot of occasions plenty of costume designers don’t have the time to devote to serious about what every single extra is going to be carrying. So they rent a background coordinator,” Penny says, explaining her function on set for “The Boys” (2019).

Dressing the Haitian kings with brilliant colours, combined patterns, fuzzy bucket hats and big gold chains in season two of “The Boys” was one of her favourite experiences, Penny says, along with working with costume designer Rebecca Greg.

Simons at Square One mall in Mississauga, Ontario, was the go-to retailer for Penny to have a “riot” selecting crazy colours and patterns. One instance that brought many laughs to the costume department was when an episode scripted the superheroes to movie a film with the present called “Dawn of the Seven.” Inspiration for background actors serving as movie employees came from the true movie crew she worked with.

“Our crew and those crew members simply thought it was hilarious that we have been utilizing them as inspiration for the background actors that have been going to be within the shot”

Penny says she likes asymmetrical strains, fabric and sample mixing—comparing her personal type to the casual but bold nature of Japanese road put on.

“I don’t wear Chanel, I don’t wear something tweed with pearls. I’m not that kind of design. I like labels that you’d never even have heard of. Labels that are simply utterly bizarre and off the wall like Marine Serre, that’s just weird clothing for the sake of being weird,” she says, also naming Aakasha, a Belgian clothing line with Japanese affect, and Yohji Yamamoto, a Japanese dressmaker.

Penny has labored in lots of roles, from sewer to truck supervisor, but the trajectory she feels for herself is concentrated on the core of a designer role: creating a character.

She stated she hopes to work with friend and costume designer Nancy Gould again, and to “explore more into the shopping for world of costume designing.”

Penny has been recognized professionally by her maiden identify Amanda Bone. She met her husband, who also works in movie doing visual results, throughout her time in Toronto. Together they reside in Niagara, Ontario in her husband’s childhood home.


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