Local lass dressed for success in Hollywood

2014-10-12 15:00

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When The Walking Dead shambles back on to our screens ­tomorrow, the characters’ wardrobes will once again be straight out of South Africa – the costume designer for the ­series was born, raised and educated in Cape Town before she hit the big time in Hollywood.

Eulyn Womble joined the series as a costumier in its first season and was promoted in the second. She says she still has to pinch herself to confirm it’s not a dream.

“We just had the premiere in Los Angeles this past week and it was so much fun. It’s so amazing to be surrounded by all these people whose work you ­admire, and you’re busy telling them how talented and wonderful they are, and they’re busy telling you the same thing!” she told City Press during a break between fittings.

Audiences have been hooked on The Walking Dead since 2010. The series follows the story of a group of people battling to survive a zombie infestation.

Womble’s costumes have helped inform the actors’ understanding of their characters. She, in turn, says she draws inspiration from the actors’ own personalities and styles.

For the character Michonne, a fan favourite played by Danai Gurira, Womble used African-inspired prints and colours to flash back to life before the apocalypse. Gurira’s parents are Zimbabwean.

“Season five has been more challenging than usual, and you’ll soon see why,” she says, not willing to give anything away.

“But we roll with the punches. Being a South African, I know how to do that. That’s what we’ve learnt to do.”

The Heathfield, Cape Town-born Womble studied accounting at the University of Cape Town after matriculating in 1994. But she always wanted to be a designer and spent many school holidays working in her grandmother’s clothing factory and on international production sets in the

Mother City – where she met her American husband Caleb. He’s now The Walking Dead’s production supervisor.

October 31 is approaching, and the show’s cast and crew take Halloween very seriously. They dress up and award each other prizes for the best costumes. Her advice for those marking the spooky holiday this year?

“Zombies are always trending, every year,” she chuckles. “But reality TV couples are fun to do too. Whatever you decide to wear, though, just remember it doesn’t have to be about wearing the least amount of clothing. ‘Dressing up’ in a negligee is not scary.”

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