Janelle Nicole is on top of her GAME, which is why she was hand picked to create new looks for the cast of BEt’s hit show. Find out how she landed that gig & all she has coming up in this Q&A with Janelle Nicole & BE Style…
BE-Style: How did you land the position to create the new looks for the cast?
JN: Honey, it all happened so fast… Rashida Blalock, the now costume designer of ‘The Game’ called me and said this is very last minute but we may have to fly out to Atlanta tomorrow to start working on ‘The Game’, so standby. I stood by… a few hours later I was getting a request from producers regarding my resume and portfolio… a few hours after that I had an airline ticket arriving to Atlanta the next day. We arrived in Atlanta and we had 13 scripts waiting for us at the front desk of the hotel… She took off with the guys and I took off with the girls. There may or may not have been a high-five – a huddle – then Break on three but by the time we looked up to check on each other it was 8 weeks later and we had shot 13 episodes.
BE-Style: What is it about your design aesthetic and/or perspective that sets you apart from others in the industry?
JN: What stands me apart from others in the industry is that I care a lot more then most about everything. I am thorough with the details. When everyone else is sleep… I am up. I take a lot of time working things out for my clients in my mind so they can concentrate on their craft. I put in the extra time to gain my clients trust. They know that if they look to the left, I am there. I listen to their insecurities and apply that to my decision making when it comes to wardrobe. I walk them through taking wardrobe risk and maintain a balance between their true selves and who they want to be – whether it is for a personal client or a client/character vision. I work harder then a lot of people in my industry… I show up and I stay until my clients are happy. Whether the client(s) is a celebrity or director, I am there the entire process from conception to flawless execution. I treat every job as my baby I nurture it until it hits the stage.
BE-Style: How long have you been in the business?
JN: “The business” …I love that term, it’s so funny to me. Ok, I’ll count from the point where I started making the money. (That way I won’t give away too much of my age) I have been styling as a paid professional for about 7 years now. If I counted what I call my “fighting the good fight” period… let’s just say it would be a little longer then that.
BE-Style: Do you believe the new looks will aid to the viewer’s love of the cast?
JN: So far the wardrobe has created a lot of buzz so it seems so… but, I believe that when you have a great project with a great story and lots of talent, wardrobe is a ‘TOP COAT’ and acts as its own character. The fans of ‘The Game’ are awesome and they truly care about each character’s well being… so I think they appreciate the new wardrobe because it reflects the progression and prosperity of these characters.
BE-Style: How have you changed each character’s image from previous seasons? And why?
JN: On season 4 of ‘The Game’, we spent a lot of time developing the characters signature looks. Which is what I think hadn’t been clearly identified in past seasons. Finding a lane for each character that was their own and realistic within their character. With Melanie, we went with sophisticated elegance. Season 4 is now two years later since the last time you’ve seen them and Melanie is the new “it” girl in San Diego and the girl you’ll love to envy. She is high-end-cosmopolitan-chic. Even when she is at home lounging around she is polished and streamlined. We wanted Tasha’s personal wardrobe statement to be as powerful and as sexy as she is. Every time Tasha walks in a room there should be two booms… First boom being her huge personality… Second Boom being her wardrobe, whether it be a bold color, plunging navel grazing neck-line or cinched waist. Either way you will see and hear her coming. Kelly is probably the most dramatic change of them all. She has taken the world and fashion by storm now that she’s single and ready to mingle. Her wardrobe is definitely more rock star rebellious then the other two. She is drastically making up for all the years Jason kept her spending under lock and key… her wardrobe reflects her new never going to be ran over or taking lightly again. Derwin’s wardrobe needed to reflect that he is no longer the Rookie… two years later there wasn’t time to explain the now equals powers between the other football players so we had to make that immediate distinction of money-fame-power with the wardrobe. Jason Pitts honey is way HOT this season. Rashida Blalock put him through the Blalock boot camp. Every time you see Jason on the screen he will be nothing less then the dapperest of dons. Malik’s is still Malik but his wardrobe will reflect where he is mentally… Malik goes through a lot of changes this season (as you will see) …and his wardrobe goes on the exact same roller coaster.
BE-Style: What was the inspiration behind having Kelly become a bit more “Ghetto” for the season?
JN: Eeeeek! Hahaha, is Kelly “Ghetto”? …I don’t know if I would say that. Kelly’s character according to script and direction is pissed that she allowed herself to be deprived from the materialistic benefits from being married to a football player for so long… so her style is an extreme version of her newfound freedom.
BE-Style: Malik seems to have scaled down his bling on the show and is a bit more conservative, why was that choice made?
JN: Hahahaaaa, your right… less bling! Part of that is probably our design aesthetic – not really into the cheesy bling these days. But, its also… that Malik is in a dark place and isn’t mentally at the top of his game and his wardrobe reflects that. So, glad you noticed…. that means its working. Plus, it’s San Diego… who walks around San Diego with Tons of bling on… ANSWER: no one. 🙂
BE-Style: Would you share some of your most memorable jobs in the industry?
JN: The most memorable job thus far was/is traveling the world with Chris Brown… When you have a group of people that have been together so long you become family and the amount of energy in that camp made seeing the world even more enjoyable.
BE-Style: At what point in your career did you realize that you were doing what you loved?
JN: The first day of my first job… it’s like Love… when you know you know and you know immediately.
BE-Style: Are you slated as the lead artist for the entire season?
JN: We shot the entire season 4 as shot! … Rashida Blalock is the designer of ‘The Game’ and its her show, so I was truly honored that she wanted me on board and more honored that she entrusted me with styling the female cast members. Rashida and I work together a lot and our pairing is what added to the show, so there is talks of co-designing season 5, we shall see… either way, I love working with the cast and excited to contribute my ideas in the upcoming seasons.
BE-Style: Did each member of the cast embrace the changes for their individual character?
JN: Absolutely! That’s how we got there… The cast wanted the change.
BE-Style: What can we expect to see from you in the new future?
JN: I have a lot of personal projects outside of my ‘work’ that I am excited about… there is a book brewing and jewelry line and talks about me coming on board as fashion editor for a magazine… You will have to stay tuned dolls.