And the winner of the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Contemporary Costume Design was, of course, a Minnesotan.
Lou Eyrich took home her fourth Emmy, for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” These Emmys were handed out Saturday, not to be confused with the Emmys passed out Sunday when John Legend joined the EGOT Club, or Monday when prime-time categories are dispensed.
Saturday’s Emmys should be of interest to Minnesotans because Eyrich was up for the costuming award along with Minnetonka’s Allyson Brown Fanger, for Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” and St. Paul’s Hala Bahmet, of NBC’s “This Is Us.”
Bahmet predicted Eyrich would win a few weeks ago when we first talked. “Oh, Lou! Lou won it,” said Bahmet Tuesday. I asked the three close friends what happened in Minnesota to engender such incredible success in Hollywood.
The former Emmy nominee for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” worked for Prince at Paisley Park on “Graffiti Bridge” while a student at St. Kate’s.
“We were all lucky to grow up in Minnesota and be in Minneapolis because that’s a community that really supports and nurtures the arts. We were surrounded by music, theater, literature, film. And maybe it’s partly the geography of Minneapolis and St. Paul — you don’t have to go far to seek any art form. I assumed it was like that everywhere, but in Los Angeles you have to make a little bit more of an effort. I feel like the Twin Cities was an arts incubator, growing and supporting myriad forms of expression. The community really encourages creativity — individual but also group projects. That’s a little unique in my experience. The climate, the long winters are a factor in contributing to rich diversity in the arts community. Winter and the short daylight hours taught us to prepare and be tough and work together, work hard, help your neighbor, and gave us time for introspection where we could write or create art or music. Winter has an indelible stamp on me. It’s my favorite season and I miss it. I’ve had people say, ‘Oh, you Minnesota costumers are so refreshing.’ I’ve thought, what do they mean by that? I think they mean we adhere to more traditional values like hard work, be true, help each other, respect each other — qualities that are not linked directly to art but help make us who we are.”
Eyrich is originally from New Ulm, has been nominated for eight Emmys and has won four. She has been nominated for nine Costume Design Guild Awards and won seven.
“I love Minnesota! I don’t know the formula. I think we all just happen to have the passion and we all ended up in L.A. and found our way together to make it happen. It is quite the coincidence. We knew each other when we lived in Minnesota. And we were all working in commercials at the time. I think a part of it is the Minnesota work ethic, which is very strong. There are a lot of costumers here. We call it the Minnesota Mafia. With Allyson and Hala and I, we all had each others’ backs when we moved here. We helped each other, we hired each other.”
Allyson Brown Fanger:
She has been nominated for three Emmys and two Costume Design Guild Awards.
“People say, ‘What’s in the water in Minnesota?’ I think Minnesota is beautiful and inspiring artistically. We all had to endure a lot of snow and elements so we became really good at working hard. I have kids in Los Angeles and I’m like, “You guys are such wimps!” They don’t have to do weather, put on snow pants. All that teaches you to work hard. We all came here with this good work ethic. We are honest. We always finish the job. Our business is so hard. It’s not for the meek. ... I do believe in the nature, art, beauty connection, just growing up in that beautiful place, being outside and seeing the snow, ice and the trees — that feeds creativity. Getting a start there, I started doing commercials and there was a weird window of time where there were a few movies there: “Mighty Ducks” and this Christian Slater movie, “Untamed Heart,” where I was the PA [production assistant]. I wanted to do more, something more creative. I wanted to do stories.”
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.