It’s been almost four months since my last movie ended and tomorrow my next begins. Because it will be another Western, I’m dusting off the boots, packing jeans, flannel shirts, and straw hats, preparing for three months of wind, sun, and dust.
When I chose to base myself full time in New Mexico, instead of LA, I resigned myself to the fact that I would spend most of my days outdoors, working in the elements, rather than on a soundstage. When I do end up on the occasional stage movie, I am amazed at how much easier it is than what I am used to, if for no other reason it involves pavement, which makes rolling a wardrobe rack exponentially easier. But, alas, I end up working on Westerns the vast majority of the time. They are beautiful, dirty, and everything about working on them is more difficult than any other type of movie. The locations are in places where no roads, cell towers, or power lines are visible, thereby making them hard to get to and hard to work from. The cast and crew are at the mercy of the weather and the light, which makes the completion of a day’s work a real feat.
I know many costumers who avoid Westerns like the plague and I understand why. I spend my days dealing with leather, wool, fur, fake blood, and dirt when I could be dealing with the cute, latest styles if I was working on a clean, romantic comedy somewhere. Chaps, corsets, and detachable collars are just a few of the clothing items I have become an expert on and each makes me so happy that our styles have evolved. Many of the costumes I set in actor’s trailers weigh more than a small child and when people ask me if I work out, I laugh. No, I work on Westerns and lug wet wool through the dirt.
But, I also get to be around really interesting costumes, horses, to see beautiful sunrises and sunsets almost every day, and to get a really great tan. On my last day of freedom for the next few months, I am dusting off the boots, finding the dust goggles, and packing the bandanas. And it all seems so normal.