Today we’d like to introduce you to Tammie Merheb-Chavez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tammie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in New Orleans and Houston so I am what you would call a Gulf Coast baby. I’ve always been involved in theater and I started out as an acting student pursuing my BFA in Theater & Communications at Loyola University New Orleans. I ended up working p/t in Loyola’s costume shop and that’s where I fell in love with designing costumes. I graduated in 2004 and in 2005, I ended up pursuing an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from Florida State University. During my MFA studies, I was introduced to the film program and started working with the film students by designing costumes for their thesis films. I loved it! In 2008 I graduated and during a holiday break, I decided to take a week-long trip to L.A. to get a feel of the city and to see if this is where I wanted to start my career. I fell in love with L.A. immediately and in some weird way, it felt like I lived here before maybe in some past life.
During my break in L.A., I got in contact with a girlfriend who was working as a stylist and she ended up hiring me as a wardrobe intern for a Selena Gomez commercial with Sears. I was freaked out and I instantly knew that I was meant to be here. I returned back to New Orleans the following week and started planning my move to L.A.
In 2009, I moved to L.A. and I hit the ground running. I got my first gig styling wigs for Jane’s Addiction Lollapalooza after my 1st week of living in L.A. that led to many projects. Suddenly, I found myself working with Cirque du Soliel and assisting celebrity stylists for the red carpet, commercials and photo shoots. I missed creating and designing for the stage so I set my intentions out into the universe. I ended up getting a position designing ballet costumes for the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute at The Colburn School. It was such a rewarding transition and learning experience to work with a younger group of talented artists. This transition soon led me into my current position, Costume Director at The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts.
Has it been a smooth road?
2009 was a wonderful year with so much work and soon after the work slowly started to be a bit difficult to come by. That was something that I was learning about the industry; work comes and goes. But, then soon more work was coming my way with no pay which became another challenge. In this industry, some people take notice of your talent but not your worth. Understanding my self-worth and the worth of my work was a challenge for me to keep up within this industry. Maintaining confidence and reminding myself that I’m meant to be in L.A. helped me overcome that.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I just finished designing costumes for a horror feature film that should be out next year. Currently, I am the Costume director at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. I am responsible for designing, coordinating and organizing the academy’s main stage & in-class performances. I oversee and design costumes for all 28 Company performances, 32 in class performances and 15 full-length stage performances.
The staff and faculty of The Academy are proud to witness the development, pursuit, and connections of each student. What sets us apart from the rest is the caliber of shows we put up each year and the education we instill in each and every student that graduates.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
L.A. is the heart of the entertainment industry in the West Coast. It’s where fashion and design inspire and thrives. I always encourage creatives to come and see what L.A. has to offer in all concentrations of art, design, and entertainment.
- Website: https://www.tammiemerheb.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supernaturallytammi/?hl=en
Photos by Stephanie Delani and Katherine Barcsay (American Academy of Dramatic Arts