When you are watching television shows, have you ever thought about who comes up with the wardrobe concepts? Ever thought about where entertainers get outfit ideas for their music videos and tours from? Actors and actresses don't just appear on the set styled and ready to film, and entertainers don't pack their own clothes for their music video shoots and tours. All of these artists require costume designers and stylists - someone who can bring their story to life through fashion. Allow me to introduce you to a young lady who is doing just that and then some.
Janelle Nicole Carothers, born and raised in Southern California, is a dynamic Costume Designer and Stylist who is no stranger to hard work and ingenuity. She's designed costumes for television shows like Being Mary Jane and The Game and for movies like The Perfect Match staring Cassie and Terrance J. Janelle has also styled singers and rap artists such as Neyo, Chris Brown, David Banner, and Juelz Santana for music videos and tours. Her dynamic work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Ebony Magazine, and Essence to name a few publications, and this is only the beginning! I got the chance to interview Janelle and get the inside scoop on her career, new jewelry line collaboration, and hustler mentality. She's not your ordinary costume designer/stylist, and she's not one to sugarcoat anything. Get into my talk with Janelle below and learn about her style views and why she compares herself to a doctor. Be prepared to smile, be inspired, and informed all at the same time.
THE JANELLE NICOLE CAROTHERS INTERVIEW
Me: What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
Janelle: I'm not sure when or why I wanted to get into fashion - but once I got into it I realized it wasn't so much the fashion that excited me. Don't get me wrong I LOVE FASHION but that's not what drives my particular passion for Costume Design. What inspired me was story telling through clothes. I love to people watch - people inspired my pursuit. I love watching folks just living. So many walks of life, so many stories behind so many looks.
Me: How did you get your foot in the door?
Janelle: In order to get my foot in the door, I just started moving my feet. When I started moving towards it, God started moving my goals closer to me. It's not a straight line though. The road is very twisty and confusing and filled with catch 22's and contradictions. I just kept saying to myself "there are people who are successful at doing what I want to do. Which means someone has figured this shit out - and I will too". Whenever the glimpse of an opportunity presented itself - I was on it. I ASSISTED my ass off! I was/am soooo grateful to those that saw enough of something in me and gave me a chance. I have literally left my heart in every single project I have ever worked. I just made sure people felt me ... I made people know that I cared the most.
Me: What inspires your creativity?
Janelle: People, fashion, fresh air, current events, kids- so many things to pull from. But, honestly, I am not really the pre-game inspired type of person. My inspiration comes from the work itself. I like to just be thrown in. Once I start moving in it - things start flowing. I have to do A LOT of presentations. I am a perfectionist and a natural over achiever so I do really great presentations for work - people think they are effortless - THEY ARE NOT FOR ME. If I had my way I wouldn't present anything. I would love to just get to work and let everything I show up with just be a surprise.
Me: What is your go-to look?
Janelle: Great fitting jeans, really thin, slightly sheer t-shirts on the longer side, leather jacket - add sneakers.
Me: What fashion item will you not leave home without?
Janelle: JANELLE CAROTHERS X SLATE :: One Tribe Collection 'Greatness Medallion' in size savage.
Me: Who is your style icon?
Janelle: Can't name just one, so here's my top 5 (no particular order) ... Tracee Ellis Ross, Nicole Richie, Olsen Twins, GIGI Hadid and Rihanna.
Me: What's your favorite style era and why?
Janelle: Now - because everyone just does what they want -green light go!
Me: What prompted you to start One Tribe Collection? What's the meaning behind it?
Janelle: SLATE was already a jewelry line that I adored so when the idea of a collaboration on a fine jewelry collection came about it was a no-brainer. But the magic happened when trying to create something bigger than just ourselves. We wanted an outward vision - something that could possibly benefit others first. If the world would stop for a second and love everything that makes someone different. Love the things about each other that are meant to tear us apart - if we operated as ONE TRIBE just think how far ahead we would be. So from that place we birthed Gold and Diamond symbols of hope and promise. Its the fusion of art, ancient symbolism and modern minimalism. The pieces are designed to inspire and transform. Each piece embodies delicate design, finesse and technical virtuosity. One voice. One Vibe. One Tribe.
Me: What are your future fashion plans?
Janelle: I'm still in the trenches of my career. So the future (tomorrow) I have a 6AM call time - so I gotta go to work and continue to fight this good fight. Costume Designing. Just recently added "author" to the resume as I have a book being released towards the end of the year.
Me: Do you prefer Rihanna's street style or Bey's?
Janelle: Rih in my head. Bey in real life.
Me: Adidas, Reeboks, or Nikes?
Me: Expound on "I Cure Nudity". How did that concept come about?
Janelle: Ha! It's started as a little joke. I am to talent what doctors are to patients. One day someone said to me jokingly "well it's not like your curing cancer" ... My response "agreed, but I'm still curing nudity and without me this movie would be a porn" ...
Me: What's it like being a celebrity stylist and costume designer? Are you able to have complete creative control over most projects you're involved in?
Janelle: THE NON-glamourous part: Carrying, schlepping, loading, unloading, running, pushing, pulling, packing. Steamer burns. Needle pricks. Parking tickets. Missed breakfast. Notes. Meetings. Hurry up. No wait. Be here. You're in the way. Broken nails. Broken phones. Missed friend's baby shower. Favorite sunglasses - now broken.
THE Glamorous part: The end result - I wouldn't trade it for any other job.
MOST projects are a collaboration. Basically you are executing a vision given to you by writers, directors, artists, record labels etc - but my job is to insert my ideas that help fill in the blanks and push them past what they were even thinking into something greater. Most of the time the director gives a general idea/feeling but the Costume Designers/Stylist genius is in the details.
Me: Any advice for inspiring stylist or entrepreneurs?
Janelle: Well first you have to decide which direction you are going in because celebrity styling is totally different then costume designing. Once you've figured that out you should seek mentors and people in your desired occupation to show you the ropes. Suck them dry for information but more importantly pour into them. Be valuable. Be teachable. Once you do that and make yourself invaluable to a stylist or costume designer, the universe starts lining up its own path for you. Don’t compare your race to anyone else's. Just get in there and commit to doing good work and every single thing else will unfold how it’s supposed to unfold.
Me: What mantra or words of wisdom do you live by?
Janelle: Corny but go big or go home.
Me: If you can give someone one word of advice pertaining to fashion what would it be?
Janelle: Screw fashion. Find your style. Rock the hell outta that.
For more information on Janelle Nicole Carothers, visit her website at www.JanelleCarothers.com or follow her on social media @icurenudity. To view her jewelry line, One Tribe Collection, click here. I am coveting the Reign Cuff piece right now!!
- Samjah Iman