American costume designer, Kairo Courts is living a life most people dream of. Her job affords her the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of Hollywood’s elite stars. She has worked on major Hollywood films such as Shadow Recruit (2014), Ride Along (2014), Madea’s Witness Protection (2012) and Step Up 2 (2008) to name a few.
Her most recent project was Grown Girls Getaway that was filmed solely in Trinidad and Tobago. The cast and crew wrapped up filming after three and half weeks and the show is expected to air in the next month and half on TV One.
While some people may consider Courts’ life as glamorous, she keeps herself grounded taking care of her family and staying active.
Sharing a common misconception people have about her profession, Courts said, “A lot of people think is all about making clothes but to be honest it is a lot of accounting and being organised and delegating chores — and that’s what I do. It is a very fast-paced environment and a lot of times you may not get to design a costume depending on how long the production runs.”
She noted that when it came to creating looks for characters; a lot of it may be bought in shops or sourced from other designers; however you do put in the time and work into it, she said.
Before Courts became a costume designer she tried different jobs but found herself coming back to costume design.
She said, “I think it is because I love fashion and it allows you to meet so many different people. It is like having a new job every single production. There is a whole new crew and I like meeting new people.”
So what is the thing part about her job?
“I believe is the research involved and the character building. Not only the director builds the character in terms of who they are and what they want out of life but the clothes simplifies that; that’s the fun part. Thinking in your head; what would this character wear and the character build up comes from telling the story. It starts off very simple and then they go through conflict and resolution — and you have to show that through costume,” Courts said.
When it comes to the challenges of her profession, Courts said, “I think the two most things I love about my profession; are the two most challenging. Like meeting new people you have to learn them and learn their work ethic and kind of work through that in your department. The fashion is always changing so you have to keep up with that. It is difficult but I love it.”
“Some of the most memorable people I have met in my profession, I would have to say Jack Nicholson because he was an interesting person; Ice Cube who I adore because he is such a genuine person and Alicia Silverstone...those are the people I remember because I found something interesting about them but there have been others that are generally nice people,” she said.
Before coming to Trinidad to work on Grown Girls Getaway, Courts was doing costume design for CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story and a television series called Single Ladies shown on VH 1.
For Courts doing costume design for The TLC Story has been her highest achievement to date she says.
She noted that the costume was referenced in the movie and was also worn by one of the female characters outside of the movie who promoted it.
She said, “I was just honoured that she did that.”
When Courts is not wrapped up in her work she finds ways to keep in shape.
She said, “My number one hobby is exercising. I have taken part in the National Body fitness Competition which is like body building but it is the bikini version. It is not big and muscly it is just very toned women. The industry does not leave me much time for anything else so that is my one hobby.”
For Courts it was her first time to Trinidad and says she would definitely come back again.
“I think the weather is great, the people are great so it was awesome,” she said.
Courts left Trinidad on June 25 in the height of the World Cup season but before she left the Express wanted to know her favourite football team.
She laughed and said, “I am not into football but everywhere I go here it is on somebody’s television so I think I know a little bit more now that I have been here but am not really into football.”