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June 22, 2023 58 mins

In this thought-provoking episode, we delve into the rich tapestry of image, representation, and self-expression with the brilliant Arsema Thomas. Join us as we explore Arsema's personal journey, navigating the complexities of growing up with media that often plays down the infinite array of womxn, breaking free from archetypes, and the empowering thrill of following one's true self all the way to Paris.


Later, we shift our focus to costume designer Lyn Paolo, whose iconic designs have left an indelible mark on screens over the past two decades. We explore Lyn's creative process, uncovering the artists and cultural events that fueled her vision for Queen Charlotte costumes. We also chat about the significant role her work plays in reshaping narratives and celebrating the beauty and resilience of Shondaland characters.


Join us for two conversations about the power of image, representation, and the transformative experience of embracing one's own crown. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Queen Charlotte the Official Podcast as a production of Shondaland
Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio. Hi, everybody, Welcome back to
another episode of Queen Charlotte. A Bridgerton Story, the Official

Podcast where we're delving into the captivating world of costumes.

Speaker 2 (00:28):
Characters, stories, Stories, Story, and today we have two incredible
guests who have left an indelible mark on the industry
with their exceptional talents.

Speaker 1 (00:40):
I know I'm laying it on thick, but we're going
to have this journey of creativity and inspiration with costume
designer Lynn Powlow and like I've told you before, my
best friend in my head are Semma Thomas. We're gonna
kick off this episod said with an extraordinary rising star

who not only graces this green with their uneniable talent
their beauty, they also champion human rights with unwavering dedication.
Meet our Semotonomas, who burst onto the scene with their
breakthrough role as young Lady Agatha Danburry in this series
a Queen Charlotte, which has definitely rattled all of us

through their portrayal. Our Semma shattered archetypes and discuss the
power of representation in storytelling. We're gonna talk about all
of the scenes that brought us to Albernize, and then
we're gonna talk a little just about our Semma. So
she's got a passion for storytelling and she's committed to
social change. So enough said, our Semma is a force

to be reckoned with. Let's hear a little bit of
our conversation. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome our
Sema Thomas to our podcast. Thank you so much for
joining us.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
Our thank you, thank you. This is exciting.

Speaker 1 (02:04):
I wanted to say thank you from one third culture
kid to another. I definitely did a deep dive on
you and listen to a speech that you gave before,
and you refer to yourself as a third culture kid,
and I got so excited because I am new to
that phrase. I just heard that phrase for the first
time maybe two months ago, and I'm like, oh, that's

me for anyone who doesn't know what is a third
culture kid? And how are you a third culture kid?

Speaker 3 (02:31):
So in a way, like, I guess I'm a third
culture kid because my parents. My mom is Ethiopian, my
dad is Nigerian, but I grew up a lot in
the US, and then from the US, I transplanted to
growing up in Kenya, and so in a way, being

a third culture kid feels like being like an alien
in your family and an alien in the world around.

Speaker 1 (02:59):
You as every space.

Speaker 3 (03:01):
Yeah, it's it's it really does feel like that. And
luckily I had, you know, my sister who was going
through the same exact experience as me. But like a
lot of people don't get that, and so it's strange.
It's strange, but it it makes you learn a lot
and and honestly have to kind of take in everything
that the world gives you.

Speaker 1 (03:22):
Yeah, you know, I had a transplanted kind of experience
like you did, where I was living in the suburbs
of Chicago and then suddenly was living full time in
the Bahamas, going to school and everything, And I mean
I felt like I fit in, like I grew up
with a Bahamian mom and like, but I was American girl.

So I get it. I get it. The way you
spoke about your experience reminded me about Lady Danbury and
really about the Ton, really about the Ton. But I
was wondering how you brought that worldview to your role.

Speaker 3 (04:00):
I mean, I think I definitely did. There's definitely like
this sense of isolation that you can feel in Agatha,
and it's something that I definitely clocked onto when I
was reading the script, is like she's so alone, not

only in the fact that she's probably usually the only
like black women in a lot of the spaces, but
it's also the fact that, like she thinks differently than
a lot of people, and she's probably never felt comfortable
about talking about that because she's aware of that difference.

And then on top of that, as you see throughout
the season, it's like that thing of the varying degrees
of third cultureeness is you see all of those people
who are now part of the Ton being part of
a completely new society that they've never been in. They're
now in another culture and they have to assimilate, you know,

act like they've been there before. It's like, it's what
Lord Danberry says to her, do.

Speaker 1 (05:10):
Not go like a peasant behavior, So you've been here before.

Speaker 3 (05:16):
That was so funny, though it's true. It's like the
slogan for anyone who's ever moved to another like place.
It's like, I'd like, you've been here before. Stop gawking.

Speaker 1 (05:28):
I was like if that was not someone in my
family who I like. That is so funny. That's one
of my favorite parts. And your reaction to those moments too,
just just goes to show how yeah, Lady Agatha Danbury is,
she thinks differently. I think it's actually really remarkable to
see that on screen. How did you feel about that?
Do you feel proud?

Speaker 4 (05:50):

Speaker 1 (05:50):
Is that the right word to capture how you feel?

Speaker 4 (05:52):
You know?

Speaker 3 (05:53):
I do? I think I feel validated, like not only
like me as our summa, because there is that sense
in me that's like, oh, yes, you know you got
chosen for this role and they didn't edit you out,
so that means it's good because they had that option.

But it's also like this story for a lot of
black women is so powerful because I think I grew
up and always kind of knew that I didn't want
to be the girl that gets the guy and they
fall in love in every movie I grew up not

seeing me reflected back that I just maybe was conditioning,
but I just there was something that I knew that
my story was something different. And to see this character
at the end choose to be alone and that be
such a power move. I was like this is This

is such a massive statement. This is the woman that
I want to be and like to be able to
be her ast she becomes her is such a generous
blessing to have. So yeah, I was just excited. This
is like to also be in such a formative part

of my career and it's just great.

Speaker 1 (07:20):
You know, something you said though, it makes me think
about what we believe in. You know, like you hear
like award speeches, like how many times has like Lizzo said,
this is for the girl you know who was like me,
you know, when I was five, And I wonder for
people who who hear that and they're like, man, if

I did see something like that when I was five,
how would my life have been different. I can't fathom
what my life would have been like if I did
see myself back then or a story that I connected
to back then. So I think that's really interesting for
people watching Queen Charlotte today to see the character and

what they represent.

Speaker 3 (08:02):
Yeah, I think it's going to probably accelerate the unlearning
of self patred that I think that a lot of
us are taught at a really young age, hopefully hopefully.

Speaker 1 (08:17):
So that's so interesting because the opening credits For me
was very emotional that graphic design of this brown girl
swaying in all of these situations constant, and I don't
know what it was, but I was like, oh my god,
some twelve year old inside of me was excited about it.

But I think Queen Charlotte bridges that gap.

Speaker 3 (08:42):
I'm hoping it opens up the world for like all
of the other options, like this shouldn't be the only
one like that graphic is so much like every time
when I first saw it, I was holding back to
you because it was like the music and just.

Speaker 5 (08:56):
This beautiful like girl and gosh, that should be its
own animated series so that like actual young girls can
watch it because this is a little bit you know, adult,
but like you know, it's it's so beautiful.

Speaker 4 (09:13):

Speaker 1 (09:16):
Why do you think that there's a another influx of
proving or disproving this work of fantasy, this work of fiction?
And what does that tell you about the work you
have ahead considering your appreciation for spaces being created for

you and your desire to create space for creatives.

Speaker 3 (09:43):
So we're talking about the comments that Queen Charlotte merriman
On have been black. Yeah, yeah, okay, and.

Speaker 1 (09:51):
It's just, you know, the whole thing is too out
of left field, you know. Okay, yeah, it's like, okay,
it's a fantasy. Why do we need to do this exercise?
I know?

Speaker 3 (10:05):
You know, it shows one that those people do not
see black people to be like them, because you, in
that moment, cannot you see yourself in that black person.
Yet for us, we have been conditioned time and time
again to be forced to assimilate to whiteness, to see

ourselves in whiteness, and so that to me just shows
that you do not view us to be humans like yourselves,
or to be something other. But the thing is, I
know that you do something by putting out more and
more because it's shocking the first couple of times, and
after the twentieth it's less shocking, and then you have

no choice. So I think people shouldn't be afraid by
the reaction. The reaction is a cult that we're doing
something right, you know, And I think we have to
keep doing it until there's less of a reaction. Because
why can't a queen be black?

Speaker 1 (11:08):

Speaker 3 (11:09):
Like actually why not?

Speaker 1 (11:11):
Actually? Why not?

Speaker 3 (11:13):
You know?

Speaker 1 (11:13):
Yeah, okay, so we got to we have to talk
about the look. Yes, I specifically want to know if
you had a favorite hat, oh, because the hat game
was on points.

Speaker 3 (11:26):
It was it was you know, I love a big
hat and the hat that I wear in the with
like the very bright magenta dress because that's like the
first time she wears like very bright color. I loved
that dress. I love that hat.

Speaker 1 (11:44):
It's shocking.

Speaker 3 (11:45):
Yeah, I was like, gosh, I wish I could wear
this for more scenes because it's crazy the amount of
detail that they put into these outfits of these gowns
and you see them for like very brief seconds. You know,
it's it's amazing, and it's also just it shows you,
like that of work that's put into like every second
of this.

Speaker 1 (12:02):
Yeah, Lady Danbury is literally becoming who she will become.
She doesn't wear bright colors like that later on, and
it's just so interesting.

Speaker 3 (12:14):
So talking to lind Palla actually about like just the
costume design and the color story of it all was
really was really amazing to see the way that the
outfits and the gowns and the colors that Agatha is
wearing throughout the course of the season kind of mirror
her emotional growth at the same time. So you see

her wear these golds and these pale yellows because they're
not her favorite color, but she's wearing it to appease
this man. Then you see her go through black and
then you know, obviously a morning period, and then you
start to see her start to like experiment with hats
for like the very first time, in like a more
recreational way, and you start to see her go into

like pinks and purples, and like then you'll start to
see her kind of ideally, like in between this time
and the Burgerton era, sort to see her settle into,
you know, the more dark and bolder tones that you
see her wear in the Recncy era.

Speaker 1 (13:13):
You looked so amazing. You were absolutely stunning. And I'm sorry,
but the copper tub. Anytime you were in that copper tub,
oh my goodness, I mean just exquisite. So did you
get an opportunity to work directly with with Lynn on

anything specific or any creative decisions or how you felt
about something character rooms.

Speaker 3 (13:43):
I think I wanted them to take mostly the lead
when it came to the costumes at the beginning, One
because I nervous, but two also because that kind of
mimics the situation she was in she wasn't choosing anything

she was wearing, So I felt like that kind of
helped me get into like where she was as the character,
because I don't actually know what she would have wanted
because it's not her choosing it.

Speaker 1 (14:18):
We've only just scratched the surface of our Sema Thomas's
talent and their impact and their dreams. So stay tuned.
After the break, we're going to get into their experiences
and discuss the power of representation in storytelling. Hey, welcome back,

Pull up chair, get cozy. Before we get back into
our conversation with Arsima, let's just take a quick moment
to hear this note from the casting director, Kelly Valentine Hendri.

Speaker 4 (15:00):
An Arsama's tape hit. That is someone I've never seen before,
and Arsama's quite an extraordinary young woman, as you can tell.
American also, which kind of threw me. I was like,
Oh gosh, are we gonna cast an American accident in
person to play Lady Danbury, who's got the most English
accent I've ever.

Speaker 1 (15:17):
Heard, Lord Herman. And then there is what I call
the port Yes that has my circle of friends all
in their feelings. How did you feel when you first
encountered those lines.

Speaker 3 (15:37):
I loved it because one of the first time she
actually explains what is going on in her head, like
when she actually says how she's feeling.

Speaker 1 (15:52):
I mean ever like across the entire Bridgerton season one,
season two, and.

Speaker 3 (15:58):
Yeah, and it just feels like this beautiful release that
I think she so greatly deserves. Like you just see,
like how tough it is to be not only like
a black woman, but black woman, but like in Agatha's case,
a dark skinned black woman holding on like on her back,

like this entire situation, her family, her, like the situation
with the monarchy, all of this and having no one
to really discuss it with because obviously Carl was there,
but there's a power dynamic and there's also you know,

she'd be chatting.

Speaker 1 (16:41):
Okay, I just gonna say, either they are really really
besties or Coral Now.

Speaker 3 (16:53):
She's she's great, but can't she trust in we? It's speculation,
speculations more solitude. Yes, your cloak makes a fine blanket.

Speaker 1 (17:05):
If you decide to have solitude on the ground. Cool,
he was kind, he was joyful. I felt joy Then
I'm glad for you.

Speaker 3 (17:15):
So there, like she finally gets this chance, and I'm like,
oh my god, she thank god, because like I was
like feeling like this for her myself. You know, it
makes me think of people like my mother, who I
sometimes realize I have not asked her how she is,

you know.

Speaker 1 (17:39):
Oh my goodness you yeah for a second, and why not?
Like that's the question, why don't we Why don't we
ask the counselor of aunties? Why don't we ask? Why
don't we ask that question? It's is it a power dynamic?
I don't know.

Speaker 3 (17:56):
I personally am sometimes scared because if she's not okay,
I'm like, oh my god, like I'll be broken. This
is supposed to be the person who is immortal, impenetrable,
you know, unwaveringly strong, inhuman, and so the moment that
they are human, it's like, oh my goodness, and everything
becomes like shaky.

Speaker 1 (18:18):
That is huge. Every year I look and I'm like, wow,
my aunt, my mom, whoever was this age when this
thing was happening? And I was watching it and just
having an entire different grasp of what might have been
going through their minds, happy, joyful, sad moments, all of it.

I really think Queen Charlotte does a really good job
of getting us to ask those kinds of questions.

Speaker 3 (18:46):
Yeah, oh, for sure, there's something like this is literally
when I recognize what it was and I watched Bridgerton,
I was like, this is an ode to the Aunties.
This is this is really for them, Like when do
you get a prequel that is about the maytriarch roles

of the main story, like the mothers, the aunts, the godmothers.
You don't usually get that. And so then to show them,
and to show also like how instrumental they are in
how nice and how you know, comfortable and diverse Bridgerton

is it. It also then allows you to then go
back and watch the show and then give them the
kudos that they deserve.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
This is gonna sound weird. I'm excited to grieve myself,
like to grieve a former version of myself and open
a new chapter. Like I feel like that's a very
scary hard thing to do in the way Agatha does
over the port Wine scene, and I.

Speaker 3 (20:00):
I mean, I think it's it's difficult to do without
like something to ignite that moment because it's hard. And
I think in that moment, she's grieving like what she
thought of her life. Oh, Wow, Like she did not

realize that she could do a lot of the things
that she starts doing in that like one year really
that we see all of this happen. I think the
moment she's like, since I was three, I was told
this was the life. So she didn't realize that there
was anything else. She's been living with like blinders on,

and now that you've died, she's like, oh wait, now
you're saying that there was this option and this option,
and I could have chosen something, and now I can't
choose those things because once something has past, you have
to move on. And so I think it's this fear
maybe that she has of choice. Choice is a very

scary thing when you start to exercise it because the
blame falls on you if anything goes wrong. You know,
it's a very like independent act to choose something for yourself.

Speaker 1 (21:22):
Yeah, I want to ask about working with Payvan who
played Coral and Cyril. Just wondering what that experience was
like for people watching who are just curious about life
behind the scenes.

Speaker 3 (21:36):
It was really amazing to be able to have Peyvander.
She's an amazing individual, extremely kind, extremely nice. I wish
we could have spent more time together, and Cyril was
really generous and a really good and dedicated worker, and

like was a good example on like what is good
work ethic looks like it's interesting because you're like put
into a lot of these situations where a lot of
people work very differently, like ways that you know and
ways that you're like, oh that I didn't even know
that was an option. Like Cyril really brings music into
the way that he like attacks his character, so he'll

always be listening to music right before we go onto.

Speaker 1 (22:22):
The set of the era.

Speaker 3 (22:26):
I don't actually even know what he was listening to.
I know someone should ask him, but I'm like listening
knowing you it's probably something joy That was really really
amazing to see, and I mean I it was lovely

because like Payvan is really doing it the theater way,
which is you know, like running lines right before and
like keeping it fresh, which I and very comfortable with.
And so to see her have take the initiative and
kind of like you know, open the space for that
was also quite inspiring because yeah, I usually assume, like

I tend to take a back seat and like wait
for people to like create this space mostly as a
side effect for moving in a world ruled by white
supremacy and being a black woman, but and being afraid
to take up space. But so wow, it's nice to

see somebody let me know that I can do that
and it's not read as anything other than being somebody professional. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (23:44):
Yeah, that is refreshing And I love I love your
your footnote.

Speaker 3 (23:52):
We'll ask it for anyone, for anyone that's.

Speaker 1 (23:55):
Like in life or just because you're like, this is
your first major ruk because.

Speaker 3 (24:00):
Of life life made it this list. Yes, yeah, but
I'll be the one.

Speaker 1 (24:09):
Your career and education and stem and your attention to
Pan African issues gives you a really incredible array of
possibilities as far as like how you can change the
world and move the needle on anything. Your flavor of
activism could be starting the conversation, you know, and that

is that can be the right next step. So that's
awesome that this gives you that opportunity to start the conversation.

Speaker 3 (24:37):
Yeah, I mean, I'm really like the whole saying of
art is political. I'm like, that's like my next step
of like getting into that political art whatever. Like I
love that space. That's something that's beautiful to look at
undeniably stunning, and yet you still feel like something about

that has to deal with our day to day life.
I love that space, and that's what I want to do.
It's like the people that I look up to, like
Bosquillote and like you know, Kaing de Wilie, like all
these people who there is something inexplicably poignant and stunning
and in filming and TV.

Speaker 1 (25:18):
That'll be what I want to do. I was wondering
if just the act of saying acting is what I
want to do, freeze you in a way that all
of us don't really realize.

Speaker 4 (25:32):

Speaker 3 (25:33):
I think for a really long time, I didn't tell
anybody I wanted to do it. And then also having
gone to two separate universities that both have amazing acting
programs and drama programs and seeing people go in and

seeing how difficult the programs are, I felt like, I
don't know. I was like, how dare I just say? Like,
I let it be an actor. And so then when
I moved to Paris, I didn't tell anybody that I
knew that I was going. I didn't tell them what

I was doing. For the longest time, I didn't tell
anybody I was doing acting. That was just between me
and the people that saw me in like the drama
programs I was going to.

Speaker 1 (26:21):
At the time, you said you had a Nigerian father
and an Ethiopian mother.

Speaker 3 (26:25):
Yes, yeah, I mean what my mother didn't even know
that I moved to Paris after I graduated. She was
just she She called me one day and she's like,
are some sorry, where are you? And I was like Paris.
I was like when did you go there?

Speaker 1 (26:45):

Speaker 3 (26:45):
And so yeah, but like we had made a deal
between my parents and I were like, if you do
your second degree, you can then do whatever you want.
And at the time, I was like, I tried to
do a nine to five. I'd worked at the United
Nations Population Fund, and it wasn't I mean, I was.

I was in the cubicle like doing like preparing auditions,
you know, I was. I was looking through sides as
I was in my cubicle, and so it was very
clear that it wasn't for me. And I think I
just needed my parents to like give me a chance
to show them.

Speaker 1 (27:28):
And then yeah, so the moment do you quit and left,
like what snapped? Do you remember when you decided you
were going to buy the ticket.

Speaker 3 (27:38):
I remember I had just finished the Yale Summer program
for acting and it was like the very last day,
and I remember I pulled aside my teacher and she's
a hard ass, so I knew she wasn't gonna lie
to me. And I was like, hey, I need to

ask you a question. She was like, okay, what are
some And I was like, one, what do you think
of my braids? She's like, it's not professional, but they're cute.
And I was like, okay, cool, and I was like
that's a good barometer. And then do I was like,
do you think I could do this? Like do you

think I should do this? Like is it worth me
doing it? Actually? All I remember taking away from it
was like she said yes. And I remember my lease
was coming to an end in New Haven. I had
no job, I had no real reason to be anywhere,

and I remember I was thinking about, like I think
I had had a friend at the time we were
planning on living together in Brooklyn, and I was like,
I don't I don't know how much I really need
to be here.

Speaker 1 (29:03):
Wow, sounds like a fun time, but yeah.

Speaker 3 (29:06):
It's like it sounds expensive and I think I can
live like the struggling artists life in a place that's different,
in a place that challenges me. And you know, I've
lived in New York City before, so it's like, I
want to be somewhere that is our summer, figuring it
out on her own. And I was like, I know

French enough to live in Paris. I was looking at
tickets and there was a ticket for forty nine dollars
direct from New York to Paris, and I was like,
that is the sign and I bought it. What it's
meant to be?

Speaker 1 (29:46):
Yeah, yeah, for wow, just betting on yourself. I know
a lot of actors are like, you know, I don't.
I don't like put myself into the role, you know.
I feel like though, in so many ways, you and
young Agatha Danbury were a match, just your personal story

and seeing how Agatha becomes who she becomes and just
takes a chance on herself. Yeah, lots of work to do,
lots of work ahead, and we're all excited to see
what you do. And we are completely floored and mesmerized.
You were just wonderful and we really really appreciate it

and we thank you for your time.

Speaker 3 (30:31):
Thank you. This has been Oh my gosh, I love it.
I am glad that this is recorded because I can
relive this amazing chat over and over again. I'm serious,
hands down top five chats.

Speaker 1 (30:48):
I'm glad. I'm really glad. There's never there's never enough
time to cover it all. But yes, you gave us
the nuance we needed. We really appreciate it.

Speaker 3 (30:58):
Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1 (31:01):
Now that we've been inspired by our Semma's incredible journey, y'all,
she did not tell her parents where she was. Okay,
that's that's dedication. Before we dive into the world of
costume design with Lynn, let's take a quick break. We're back.

You're listening to Queen Charlotte of Bridgeton Story, the official podcast.
Let's get back into our conversation. Our next guest is
none other than Lynn Pawlow, with an impressive list of
accolades under her belt or shall I say, tucked in
the bones of her carissette, including many Emmy nominations and
Costume Designers Guild Award nods. Lynn has become synonymous with

iconic and unforgettable costumes. When you're thinking of the world
of Shondlal, we're talking scandal Bridgerton. Her work has captivated
audiences worldwide. So, without further ado, please join me in
welcoming Lynn Pallow. I'm so excited to introduce you to

our listeners. You are the Emmy Award winning genius behind
these beautiful visuals. It's absolutely breathtaking, and we're so excited
and delighted to be speaking with you about them.

Speaker 4 (32:29):
Thank you so much, it's reciprocal.

Speaker 1 (32:31):
Oh oh no, thank you, thank you for that. So Lynn,
there is there's so much to take in. We could
we could literally just start anywhere. But I'm wondering for you,
where would you start when you begin to unpack your journey?

I guess yeah. Would you like to talk about your
first encounter with the script?

Speaker 4 (32:57):
I think by now most people know that Shonda and
I have had a long career together in terms of
costume design, and I talk about this all the time
that she is such a gift to costume designers, certainly
to me, because she gives me so much creative freedom.

But within that freedom we do work together very well.
I feel. So. She didn't even present me a script.
She presented me an idea. What would you think, Lynn,
would you like? Would you like come on. She's handing
me this amazing project, Lyn, would you be interested in
doing a period piece set in seventeen sixty one, Yes, Shanda,

I would. It was that moment of okay. So we
started the process with concept boards, as you do with everything,
certainly on this kind of project, and I pitched to
Shonda that I would love to do a met Ball
and not a period piece, and I showed her an

image from Charles James, who was one of my favorite
designers in history, and there was a met Ball I
think about ten years ago that was based on his work,
and sort of my pitch for young Queen Charlotte was
it shouldn't feel period, it should feel like she was
going to a modern met Ball, and that's how we
started the project.

Speaker 1 (34:23):
Was there a particular piece that struck you as your
key inspiration for our title character Charlotte.

Speaker 4 (34:33):
For Charlotte, yeah, I mean if you look at Cecil
Beaton's picture from the nineteen fifties of Charles James's collection
of evening gowns from that period, that was our first
image on the wall that we put up in our office,
and then after that we based everything. The palette was
certainly based on Matisse. So we had so many Impressionist

paintings on the wall. Keep saying it looks like a
box of macaroons. I'm and I always say, I feel
like it feels like a lily pond somewhere in France,
do you know, surrounded by beautiful flowers. So that was
where we started. We literally just took some French impressionistic

paintings and this one image from Charles James, and that
was our starting point and we built on everything from that.

Speaker 1 (35:27):
Wow. I one of the things that struck me when
thinking about it kind of in a big picture way,
and of course with not having expertise in this area,
was the color palette. Just there was I never felt
like I was kind of stuck in a certain type

of box of crayons. The colors were just all across
the spectrum. Lady Danbury has that fucia dress, and there's shark, shrews,
there's there are so many colors. I was wondering if
there was any like key direction or thinking you had
about that, especially with each character's development. I'm thinking about

Lady dan very specifically.

Speaker 4 (36:14):
I think you know, we were we are a prequel,
and there Alan Marashnik did such a beautiful job on
that first season of Bridgeton with the color I just
thought it was absolutely stunning. So we're it's sort of
we're looking at the early years of these lovely ladies' lives,

and we start in one color range and then we
progressed to another. And I think you raise an amazing
point about the show in that Shanda had written this
fantastic script that told us how our characters got to
be where they are in Bridgititon, and so she and
so young Lady Danbree talks about I wear these colors

because my husband likes these colors, but it's not the
color that I prefer, which kind of broke my heart
for her. And then you transition. So we had that
again gift from Shonda of knowing where we needed to
end with the characters. Lady Bridgeton is in Bridgitton blue,
Lady Danbury is in these rich Burgundies, as you say,

very rich sort of regal colors. She starts in golds,
which are also stunning on Arsima and when you first
meet her stepping out of the car when she comes
to the wedding, she steps out of the carriage, but
it's not her color. And I love that we learn
about Lady Danbury, that we learn why she dresses the
way she does in Bridgitton, And I just think, I

hope that the Bridgitton fans will understand that this is
sort of an origin story. And how did these, you know,
the three ladies Queen Charlotte, Lady Danby and Lady Bridgington,
how did they end up where they are in the
Bridgeton timeline?

Speaker 1 (38:02):
Lynn, can you tell me how Queen Charlotte departs from
its older sister Bridgerton since it is like a met
ball and the costumes aren't so tied to the times.

Speaker 4 (38:14):
A lot of the story in our six episodes is
about the introduction of a new, youthful queen to England
and the sense that there is a mingling of society
and there's the old Ton in the new Ton. So
young Charlotte. We wanted her to embody that fresh, you know,

new exciting way of dressing which expresses the excitement of
the new Ton. So specifically in the wedding scenes, we
see Charlotte, you know, throw off the British wedding gown
and put on her wedding gown. It's sort of a

I would say, an easter egg in a way for
the audio to understand that this is a new world.
And so she embodies that in the way she dresses.
I mean, she's very When you see young Charlotte with Augusta,
the King's mother, the contrast is exceptionally different, isn't it.

I mean, one is fresh and young and the other
is sort of very traditional, very period. Yes, so was
our That was our sort of storytelling through the costume
and then slowly as the years go on and until
the very end of the show, which I mean I'm
still get quite emotional about it. Young Charlotte has to

embody the Crown. She becomes full circle and in the
way that Augusta protected her son in her own way,
whether you think it was right or wrong, Young Charlotte
now has to embody both the male and fe email
versions of the of the Crown. And I always at
the time when we were working on this, reminded everybody

about that movie about Queen Elizabeth. And you see this
amazing image at the end of Kate Blanchett as the
virgin Queen, and so young Charlotte has become the Queen
and the king. She now has to embody everything about
the crown, and in that regard, she's sort of she's
sort of regressed back to the fashion that she wouldn't

have worn as a young woman. Now I'm making all
of that up in my head. I don't know what
Ellen's and I should ask I should call Ellen and
ask her. I think that, you know, our story is
sort of out of time in a way. I mean,
even though it's set in very specific dates. But again,

it's an origin story, and the end of my story
has already been told by Ellen Marajnik in her costumes,
So I sort of had to back into that and go, okay,
so did why does Queen Shawlotte dress this way in
the eighteen hundreds? So that was our sort of arc
for her in our storyline.

Speaker 1 (41:12):
Wow, when I saw your costumes, what I saw you do? Lynn?
For me, I saw Charlotte compensating or filling all of
that empty space George left her with and she had
to just fill it with opulence and more and more. Yes,

you could see that that arc. There's this moment where
she's got this pink, shimmery dress. It's right when she
is walking to dinner and it's the first time she
sees young King George for a meal, and however long
it's been since their wedding night, it honestly took me

back to being a little girl. It just felt so
shimmery and delightful and flowers like. It reminded me of
my era of I love pink and flowers and everything
and sparkly shoes that light up. That's what it reminded
me of.

Speaker 4 (42:18):
You sound like my daughter, Gemma. I love that it's
her favorite down. This was a conscious choice, the pink
and the shimmeriness of it, and the princess quality of it.
But when when he says, Hi, Charlotte, I'm here for dinner,
she is not that sweet little princess.

Speaker 6 (42:39):
Yes, journey for a meal, this evening, a meal, A meal,
a meal, Charlotte. Where are you going?

Speaker 1 (42:54):
Where are you going?

Speaker 6 (42:55):
I do not know, just away from you, wherever you are,
not Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte. If you'll just give me a chance, Charlotte,
start walking this instant.

Speaker 4 (43:04):
The whole montage of her eating alone alone, you know,
months of being alone, and each each of those meals
was a different costume, which is on the screen for
maybe six seconds.

Speaker 1 (43:16):
We have to talk about that.

Speaker 4 (43:18):
We kept going, oh, she's changing again, she's changing again.

Speaker 5 (43:21):

Speaker 4 (43:22):
The production was going, oh my godlind do we have
to change again?

Speaker 1 (43:25):
Yes, we do know.

Speaker 4 (43:27):
And she's a strong woman and she is a boss
in that scene and she's like uh uh ah. We
loved that contrast for that scene. And it was the
most romantic gown for a not very romantic scene because
she's quite upset, isn't she as she should be. Her
husband's been gone this whole time, So that's why we

chose that particular gown for that scene.

Speaker 1 (43:53):
Okay, that montage. We have to talk about this montage
because that's what I was thinking of it from at
least trying to think of it from your point of view,
and how little time those costumes, the entire ensemble actually
made it on screen. Sometimes she had a wig on
with curlers in it at one point, all of the undergarments.

Speaker 4 (44:18):
I know, it was great, and honestly, you didn't see
everything that we did. There were a lot of costumes
that I don't think made it to the cover that
I think the whole montage was just to tell the
story of loneliness, like even though she's surrounded by as
you said, opulence and these gorgeous fabrics and jewels and

the shoes, and thank you to Roger Vivier because they
gave us so many beautiful slippers and shoes for the show.
That she's just alone. And even when you have all
that luxury, it doesn't it feels as though you would
find happiness in that. But I think it is a
a metaphor for life, and that, you know, without her partner,

without the person that she wanted to spend the rest
of her life with, she was just scented in loneliness.
And everyone on the production end kept saying to me, oh, Lena,
I'm so sorry you're having to, you know, create so
much for so little screen time, and I was the
exact opposite. I was like, bring it on. We were

having a blast creating all these beautiful gowns, I bet,
and we created I think thirty gowns for young Charlotte
before we even had the real outline of all those scenes.
And at one point the production manager said to me,
do you think you're going to need that many? And

I was like, yeah, I do think we're going to
need that many. So and we did, I think out
of the hundreds and hundreds of gowns that we made
for Charlotte and I the pieces, I think it was
about one hundred and thirty gowns. There was only one
that we didn't use at the end, so we were
yes with the matching corsets and the underpinnings and the

shoes and the hair accessories. It was crazy.

Speaker 1 (46:11):
You are playing with my emotions right now. That's a lot.
That is so much. That's a lot. And Okay, so
when you say one hundred and thirty pieces, you don't
just to clarify for listeners and anyone like me who
is really just curious, you mean entire ensemble, so to say,

or like a ruffle that you added back in for
a different scene.

Speaker 4 (46:38):
We didn't repeat anything on Young Charlotte, and each gown
is really two pieces, the skirt and the over rope.
So that's so i'd say, I would say it's over
one hundred gowns total. I'd have to check with Laura Frakhon,
who was my co designer on this, but at the end,

it's boxes and boxes and boxes of gowns, and I
wish I had an exact number for you. Someone asked
us the other day. How many costumes did you make
for this? And it's in the thousands. For many reasons,
we couldn't. First of all, most people don't do stories
about loss, and I love that Shonda did a story

about loss, about Queen Charlotte losing. You know, it's stunning,
isn't it, and people in mourning that you don't see
that on television or in movies, I don't think very
often in this period, so none of that existed. And
even the livery from the seventeen sixties didn't exist in England.

You know, we didn't rent anything. We made everything. It
was challenging, but also it was fun. I was thrilled.
I'm always excited to do more. I'm the opposite of
some people that I know in my business who would
rather lean in to oh, well, let's find it. I just,
you know, give me a piece of fabric and let

me make something. I love it.

Speaker 1 (48:06):
It clearly seems like less is not more in your world.
Less is not more.

Speaker 4 (48:16):
The other funny story for you is that we kept
running out of jewelry.

Speaker 1 (48:21):
So again there's a moment at the beginning of episode
five where even though they're in the dark, Lady Danbury
and by Countess Violet are in the dark. Their jewels
are dancing from the light on the stage. They're at
the opera. These jewels they borrowed.

Speaker 4 (48:42):
Well, I will say that most of that jewelry in
the opera scenes was we custom made it in house.
But the necklace and ear rings that Lady Danby had
on were by my friends from Lockspur and Hawk. They're
based in New York and they create modern versions of

George and jewelry. And I had come across them through
a friend of mine and you know, written to them,
and they were stunningly kind to the show. And in fact,
Young Queen Charlotte's wedding band, that beautiful ring that George
puts on her hand during the marriage ceremony was from

Locksbury and Hawk. So that's actual. Those are real jewels,
it's not costom.

Speaker 1 (49:32):
I was also wondering how you fix the jewels to
the bodice. Charlotte says, it's a whalebone corset. Can you
tell me a little about the corsets that were a
part of this production.

Speaker 4 (49:46):
Yes, so obviously it wasn't a whalebone calls it, because
that would be very, very wrong. But I think Shonda
was speaking to you know, how come your clothes must
have been as a young woman, and how restrained women

were in their movement during that period. However, we did
the exact opposite for young Charlotte. We did bone sort
of the front of her gown, of her corsetory, and
also into some of her gowns, but the side panels
had elastic in there because we did not want young
Charlotte to be confined in her movements. So when you

look at her, when she moves, even when she runs
down the hallway after her brother signs the marriage contract,
she can move. Yes, yes, So that was a conscious
decision on our part not to have her be so confined.
And then you know, with other characters again Augusta, who

was her antithesis, we really did, you know, structure her
corsets because it was important, wasn't it for her to
stay in a certain way?

Speaker 1 (51:01):
Oh my goodness, And it's so evident.

Speaker 4 (51:04):
And Michelle, by the way, Michelle was a trooper. She
was like, strap me into that thing, and come on,
let's do it. So Michelle's a real she's an amazing partner.
When you're you know, having to deal with that element
of costume and costume design in this period. But she
loved it. She loved the causes.

Speaker 1 (51:25):
We gotta talk about Young Agatha. I love her character,
what she embodies, and what I think I love about
Lady Danbury is I loved Lady present day Lady Danbury
so much. And Agatha, Young Agatha caught my attention first

because of how different her colors are. And I remember
speaking with agi Or before and she said, you know,
I I my character, but the way I see her,
she looks different from the other women. Her hair is
straight and pulled back. She wears starker colors because she
is She doesn't need all the fuss. And Young Agatha

is fussy. She's got curls, she's got flowers, ruffles. Can
you tell me about your team's thinking, your thinking and
bringing Agatha, Young Agatha to how we know Lady Banbury
in present day? Because that is a journey.

Speaker 4 (52:29):
Oh, it is most certainly a journey. It's almost as
if Young Agatha is playing a role early on in
the story. She's conforming to a role that her parents
have forced her into from being a very young child.
And within that role, however, I do love that. I mean,

she is being a dutiful wife, and she is sort of,
you know, doing the things that make her husband happy,
although she herself is very unhappy. But she's also managing
to create her own world and surround herself with her friends,
you know, her maid who's become a confidante, and she's

the one really who secures the succession of the Danbury family.
She is the one that has the knowledge and power
to go up against Augusta in our story, which I
absolutely love about the character. But is also a true

friend to young Charlotte, So you see why the two
women albeit it's this sort of strange friendship later on
in life that they do have sort of a mutual
origin story. And you see this transition of young Agatha
from the colors that her husband love that she didn't love,

then through the morning period Afterpin passes away, which are
actually some of my favorite costumes on the show. I
you loved creating all those walking costumes that she wears
with the veils. It was so much fun. And to
see her in those green fields, you know, just so pretty.

I find her so compelling.

Speaker 1 (54:23):
Don't you absolutely And I love that you said you
loved working on the funeral costumes, because I was wondering
if you had to make accommodations or do any special
encrusting of jewels to make those darker fabrics pop on screen.

Speaker 4 (54:41):
Oh of Agatha's morning costumes are encrusted with jet beads,
so when she moved in life, it just shimmered and
you do get a sense of it, but you don't
see the detail as much as you would with your
eye in person. But it was a conscious choice and

a choice that I talked to Tom Burka about that
even though Agatho was supposed to be in mourning and
supposed to be, you know, not leaving the house all
those things, that when she does leave the house to
go for her rambles, we wanted the camera to find
her shimmering in that countryside. And we spent a lot

of time hand embroidering all the veils. It almost looks
like tears, but just this tiny touch of something across,
so it wasn't just a simple piece of veiling. So
everything was hand embroidered, embroidered by our in house team,
And there are some of my favorite costumes. They really are.

Speaker 1 (55:44):
I love that the tears are in the veil and
that she's still shimmering through because she that whole thing
is about she. She's mourning, but she's also mourning. I
think she's grieving for herself too, like the three year
old that had to be prepared all this time. So
oh wow, I didn't I.

Speaker 4 (56:07):
Agree with that, with what you're saying. I think that
is I think that is her time of you know,
recollecting her life. How did she end up here? How
can she dig out of this? Possibly, you know, having
the crown take everything she's worked for? You know, does
that fit scene with the lawyer who says you'd either

get married again or you know, unless you can manage
the succession for your son, you're going to lose everything. Yeah,
So I think it's a morning for you know, having
given up so much. So I do think it's quite
poignant and lovely and I so respect that Shanda, in
the middle of this tale full of color and life,

takes this moment to be just a little pensive about
the choices woman had. But still beautiful, right, Lynn.

Speaker 1 (56:57):
It has been such a pleasure speaking with you and
getting into your head, and you're obsessed about the story
just like the rest of us. So yeah, it's really
fun to hear.

Speaker 3 (57:11):
Everyone should know. I'm a fan too.

Speaker 4 (57:13):
I love it. I watched all two seasons and Bridgitton
and you know, I'm anything that Shonda does. I'm there,
I love it. I love for work. I'm very fortunate
to get to play in this world. Very fortunate.

Speaker 1 (57:26):
Thank you so so much for your.

Speaker 4 (57:29):
Time, take care, Thank you for everything.

Speaker 1 (57:32):
Thanks again to costume designer Lim Pallow and Yeah Lady
Danbarry our Sema Thomas. We're really grateful for their time,
insight and fresh perspectives. On our next episode, Golda Rocheville
and India and Martafillo have a sit down.

Speaker 6 (57:50):
Con fact, whenever the Queen is sitting down, she's in
ug boots. Let me reveal that right now, any form
of comfort to Ruschavelle can get while playing this part,
I will go there. So know this world ug Boots.

Speaker 1 (58:13):
Queen Charlotte. The official podcast is executive produced by Sandy Bailey,
Lauren Homan, alex Alja Tyler Klang and me Gabrielle Collins.
Our producer and editor is Tarry Harrison. Subscribe to the
podcast anywhere you get your favorite shows. Get the book
I'm a Crispy Turn the page, Smell the binding kind

of Queen. But you can download it and you can
find Queen Charlotte, a Bridgeton story on Netflix. We'll see
you next week. Queen Charlotte. The Official podcast is a
production of Shondaland Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio. For more podcasts,
visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen

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