‘Hollywood is very age-sensitive, but I believe I’m at my peak’ – Joan Bergin, Irish Emmy winner, listening to the A-listers

She’s a star costume designer who has won three Emmy Awards and has designed outfits for everyone from Scarlett Johansson to Meryl Streep. And one golden rule that Joan Bergin maintained was to keep her age a secret in Tinseltown.

climax independence sunday on Friday night at Disney’s Ireland premiere Disenchant, for which she worked, the Dublin native explains: “People are very ageist. One of the things I’ve noticed in America is how much people talk about age, even in the political arena. They said, ‘oh Joe Biden is too old to be president’. It’s the wrong mentality that only young people can do.”

When asked if ageism exists in Hollywood, she said: “Certainly. It’s even more pronounced in Hollywood. I have always been a very slow developer in my career. I’m the one who suddenly gets their mojo later in life. I was in my 30s when I got it but I’m at my peak now and I’ll tell everyone to celebrate every year of my life.

Ms. Bergin, who led a group of more than 40 people on set Disenchant“I always make sure I work with more young people and I go to work with purple nail polish.

“They all tease me about it but I think that when I’m with them, I have to do something [to show a youthful side]. You know I get annoyed when people think you’re old, because age is 50% in thinking. You should only stop working if the passion dies – and that’s not for me.”


Costume designer Joan Bergin at the preview of the Irish film ‘Disenchanted’ at Stella Cinemas, Rathmines. Photo: Andres Poveda

The Cabra-born designer spoke after she stepped off the plane from Los Angeles, where she attended the film’s world premiere on Wednesday night.

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The sequel of 2007 enchanted was filmed in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, when the country was on lockdown and Ms Bergin worked alongside Suzanne Keogh, her former design assistant. Film crews have transformed the area into a fairytale wonderland with wisteria garlands strewn across shops and homes.


Extras on the set of ‘Disenchanted’ in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, 2021. Photo: Mark Condren

As a designer who spends “hours” talking to actors in one-on-one costumes, she says psychology is one of the main parts of her job — and she has found that A-listers are even more self-aware than the average person. .

“You must. When you think how someone as delicate as Florence Pugh [star of Little Women and Lady Macbeth] was once told during her first week in Hollywood that she needed to change the shape of her face. And the shape of her face, when you look at her, her jaw is a bit wide, it’s amazing. It really is what makes her and her character.

She added that “most women” also “wish they were thinner”.

“The camera weighs a few pounds but I like to think that attitudes are changing. One of the great things about Disney is that the actors are so much more normal now.”

Her aim is to “empower” actors through their wardrobe.

“Some people won’t care if they wear pajamas but then others have such an image of themselves that they’re afraid to take it off – they have a certain ‘look’.

“Not everyone is as good as Meryl Streep. But what I love about accessories is that they have to be very quiet, very discreet and you have to earn the trust of the actors.”

Speaking at the LA premiere of DisenchantLead actors Idina Menzel and Patrick Dempsey hailed the Irish countryside as “beautiful”.

Menzel, who is best known for voicing Elsa in frozen“Not only are we in a beautiful place, [but] all the people we worked with… were mostly a bunch of locals and they were pretty much some of the best I’ve ever worked with.

“We’ve been in a place that we love and feel happy and we’re so lucky to be there.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Bergin wants others to know that her work is more important than people realize.

“Recently, I keep running into people – taxi drivers, AA rescue mechanics – and they stop me on the street to tell me about their mothers and grandmothers, tailors, pattern cutters, and workmen. talented embroiderers who work primarily as unsung heroes.

“Recently, a taxi driver recognized me and told me, ‘If only my mother knew how to be a seamstress, she would be as famous as she is’. I told him ‘we are more than seamstresses’.”​

‘Disenchanted’ will stream on Disney+ starting this weekend

https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/fashion-news/hollywood-is-very-ageist-but-i-believe-im-in-my-prime-irish-emmy-winner-joan-bergin-on-providing-a-listening-ear-to-a-listers-42158204.html ‘Hollywood is very age-sensitive, but I believe I’m at my peak’ – Joan Bergin, Irish Emmy winner, listening to the A-listers

Fry Electronics Team

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