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Life & Work with Rachel Cocca

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Cocca.

Hi Rachel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved to LA from Buffalo NY in 2018, a day after I graduated from University at Buffalo for Costume Design in Theatre. I started Nannying for a few different families which allowed me to not only gain my footing in a new and expensive city but also led to lots of travel including Paris, Madrid and New York. During this time I was also developing my own sense of self and style and went through immense personal growth. While nannying, I began cold emailing and DMing stylists and designers who I was inspired by. My line was always, “I am above no job.” and I would often end up volunteering to run around and do pulls, returns or sometimes just be an extra free set of hands-on a low budget music video set. With the start of Covid and the end of a toxic and long-term relationship, I went back to school at FIDM for their advanced program for Costume Design for Film and TV and that’s really when it all started taking off.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think the biggest struggles are always those we put on ourselves, self-doubt, feeling unworthy, not sure if this is the “right” path. The thing I have struggled with from the start and still struggle with in my work is constantly feeling like I have to justify my worth for every job. Having to convince a producer my day rate is actually what I’m worth on every single job is the most exhausting thing but also forces me to check in with myself regularly and to keep my confidence high.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a Costume Designer and Stylist. I collaborate with other artists to create a world on the screen that allows a story to be told. I LOVE getting to know other artists and working together as a team to create something special. I like getting super deep into the story we are all trying to tell while simultaneously getting to know the other artists and their personal stories. I’m just a people person at heart. One of my favorite things about this industry is that the overlap of friends and coworkers is just a part of life. When working 12-hour days on a passion project for a month how can you not walk away best friends with some of the crew? Isn’t that what movies are all about to begin with? Human connection?

I am also currently in pre-production on a feature, Good Grief, written by and starring Emily Rued, Directed by Jaclyn Bethany and produced by Jennifer Sherer. The aesthetic is very stylized and something I am so excited to create with the other amazing artists on set. The Costume Design is quirky and fun and a look I have been dying to go after since I began my career. So grateful to be a part of this iconic women led production.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Being at home with my sister while our youngest sister was being born. My mom had a home birth for my youngest sister and I remember making a cake for her very first birthday and eating chicken pot pie and just feeling the specialness of the moment.

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Image Credits
David Litner Neil Maciejewski

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