On 8/7/18 I had my first national costume meeting. Prior, I put together a google doc document of my overall idea including individual elements from head to toe. I envisioned a gown of full real roses because our national flower is a red rose, my name is Sarah Rose, and the flower of the #metoo movement (the most impactful social movement of my generation) is represented by the white rose. When I presented it to Esther and Emily, they loved the concept and ‘wow’ factor of removing the skirt on stage. I was giddy that they loved my first concept and that I didn't get sent back to the drawing board.
I went with Esther to Martin’s studio where I rode a tiny man-operated elevator (I got to hold the lever) up to floor 5. (It's the little things guys)! When I met Martin, he was a sweet man in a hat, short sleeve collared shirt, cargo shorts, and thick circle shaped glasses. However, there was nothing common about his studio. The long narrow space was full of eclectic costumes, fabrics, and well...just things on tables and even hanging from the ceiling. First, I met Reba Macentire and Dolly Parton - the studio's rats. My meeting was with Esther, Martin, and Nick - Nick is a smiley, taller man with shoulder length dark hair, dressed in all black. Before I arrived they had reviewed my ideas in my google doc and conspired their own additional elements. We discussed logistics of each transition, goals and visions of the full gown, an encrusted low v bodysuit, chatted about how to most respectful admire the Me Too Movement, and took measurements. I was to return in a few weeks to see the beginning stages on a mannequin or even try it on! My initial thought: wow seeing my concept come to life - this is unreal.
A small glimpse into the process was captured by the MUO social team. I am so grateful for these fun moments on film.
At the end of October, a few appointments in, I attended Hedi Clun's Halloween party. Martin and Nick had made her into a real life Fiona! (meanwhile, I was dressed up as a simple Elsa). Their costumes were fabulous and I was simply flabbergasted at the detail. I knew I was in amazing hands for my national costume.
After about four appointments of trying on the corset, retaking measurements, practicing with the skirt, adding a hoop skirt for the full gown effect, making the headpiece sturdy, deciding on how to create the vine up my leg, cutting and placing over 2,500 silk roses, and ironing out small details like hair and jewelry.....it was complete and ready to fly with me to Thailand! Ah!!!!
E! News came to my final fitting to interview me about my concept and excitement for the national costume competition.
It took one large suitcase for the corset bodysuit, glamorous shoes, jewelry, skirt, tool, and hairpiece and a separate pristinely packed square box to keep the headpiece sturdy.
Heading to the venue for the competition this was my reflection: I love the meaningful concept, the transformations, and how different it is for the USA. My only hesitation was that the reasoning must be read aloud, most importantly, listened to, to make the impact desired.
I may have been even more excited for the national costume competition than for other phases of competition at Miss Universe. Maybe because I loved my costume or because I was pumped to see everyone else's extravagant country representations....or because I had never in my life competed in anything like this. Because I was Miss USA, I was able to watch most of the contestants before me. Man was it fun! The moment I exited the stage, I wanted to walk it again!
Due to not having a dress rehearsal, I wish I had known exact timing in order to rip my skirt off at the perfect time, but that is the only think I would change. I was genuinely happy with the piece that became a reality, the meaning behind each idea, and my overall performance. I hope you all enjoyed to! Now you know, it was quite the process. Thank you to Isquarfo studios for making my concept a reality, MUO for supporting my idea, the Thai people and my family for filling the audience on competition night, and to viewers at home joining in the fun.
Watch my performance here: https://youtu.be/Bg-ePqaoPA4.