Sharen Davis

 

In the fourth meeting of “The Green Room” series, an initiative created by Williams Theatre Department Chair Omar Sangare, Sharen Davis shared her experiences and reflections on her career in the entertainment industry as a costume designer with the attendees in a discussion moderated by Williams Costume Shop Manager Barbara Bell. Sharen Davis is a

two-time Academy Award and Emmy-nominated costume designer whose discerning eye for detail has created some of the most memorable costumes in film and television. Davis received two Oscar nominations for her costume designs. The first for Universal’s Ray, starring Jamie Foxx, Regina King and Kerry Washington, and the second for Paramount’s Dreamgirls, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson. She recently received her second Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes” category for her work on HBO’s Peabody Award winning series Watchmen, starring Regina King and Jeremy Irons. She had previously earned a nomination for her costumes on HBO’s Golden Globe-nominated series Westworld, starring Thandia Newton and Evan Rachel Wood. Davis won a Costume Designer Guild Award for Westworld and received over the last ten years four other CDG nominations.

Davis’ costumes have been featured on a number of groundbreaking features including The Pursuit of Happyness, Looper, Devil in a New Dress, Get On Up, Akeelah and the Bee, Seven Pounds, Rush Hour, Doctor Dolittle; and more.

Ms. Davis began as an acting major at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and eventually fell in love with the art of costume design. Remaining consistent with the other professionals that have been invited to “The Green Room,” Ms. Davis could not get away from the significance of finances in the entertainment industry, specifically in negotiating deals. Her favorite projects have been the ones to afford her the most creative autonomy, notably science fiction projects such as Equinox and Watchmen, as well as period pieces like Dreamgirls and Django Unchained. With Watchmen, Ms. Davis enjoyed that she was given very vague, simple concepts from which to build on; this was particularly enjoyable from her as a creative. She noted that one of the underlying benefits of her profession was traveling. Ms. Davis said she rarely stayed in Los Angeles, and a perk of this traveling was meeting countless numbers of new people and understanding more cultures. Overall, attendees of Ms. Davis’ discussion heard the importance of finding and enjoying your passion, as well as seeking opportunities for creative freedom.

– William Titus ’23 and True Pham ’23

Sharen Davis is a two-time Academy Award and Emmy-nominated costume designer whose discerning eye for detail has created some of the most memorable costumes in film and television.

Davis received two Oscar nominations for her costume designs. The first for Universal’s Ray, starring Jamie Foxx, Regina King and Kerry Washington, and the second for Paramount’s Dreamgirls, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson. She recently received her second Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes” category for her work on HBO’s Peabody Award winning series Watchmen, starring Regina King and Jeremy Irons. She had previously earned a nomination for her costumes on HBO’s Golden Globe-nominated series Westworld, starring Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood.

Davis won a Costume Designer Guild Award for Westworld and received over the last ten years four other CDG nominations. Davis’ costumes have been featured on a number of groundbreaking features including Denzel Washington’s FencesThe Great Debaters and Antwone Fisher; Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained; Tate Taylor’s The Help; Gabriele Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness; Rian Johnson’s Looper; and Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven.

Other notable credits include: Devil in a Blue DressGet On UpAkeelah and the BeeSeven PoundsThe Book of EliBeauty ShopRush HourDoctor Dolittle; and more.

Upcoming projects include Warner Bros’ King Richard, starring Will Smith and Liev Schreiber and Project Power, starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which premieres August 14th on Netflix.

The series has been established by Omar Sangare, Chair and Professor of Theatre. This event was made possible, in part, thanks to the Lecture Committee and the Oakley Center for Humanities & Social Sciences.

Special Thanks to:
Barbara Bell
Betsy Ware Fippinger
Randal Fippinger
John Gerry
Erin Meadors
Will Titus
True Pham
David Paul
Erica A. Hart
Patric McAndrew
Keith Forman
and Laurie Booth

“The Green Room: a peaceful space for progressive minds” is as a weekly informal conversation moderated by Williams professors and students, “The Green Room” will offer an opportunity for Williams students and community members to critically engage with the arts industries in which they someday hope to work, and learn from important leaders in those industries. The goal of this program will be to offer advice and mentorship resources to socially-minded, artistically conscious Williams students, but also to serve as a platform through which students can participate in a dialogue with leaders in the arts.

We’re inviting a diverse group of leading performing artists to join us in conversation over the course of the academic year, and we would love for you to be among them. “The Green Room: a peaceful space for progressive minds” will consist of serially-produced one-hour “episodes” in which speakers will be introduced, be given the opportunity to make a statement on your vision and advice, and later have a chance to answer questions from students. These discussions will take place via Zoom (or another interactive platform). All are welcome!