Waco Chat

Mandy Yarbrough

By Kevin Tankersley

Costume Designer at Waco Civic Theatre

“I just love putting together beautiful pieces of clothing and mixing textures.”

I am a part time everything. I’m a part time designer, part time creative. I also own a chalk paint company, Vignettes Chalk-Style Paint, and I work part time at Craft Gallery.

My best friend Kelly MacGregor got me started. She’s amazing. She’s also part of the Waco Civic Theatre. She was going to be directing “Steel Magnolias”, and she said, “Mandy, I know you can dress yourself. I know you would do a great job at this. So can you please be my costume designer for ‘Steel Magnolias’?” She also had costume design experience because she has a background in theater and music. She taught me how to costume and then I just kept getting asked to costume others, so I guess I did something right.

I really enjoy putting pieces together (in costume designing). And I think it’s kind of like interior design for people. I love interior design as well. I just love putting together beautiful pieces of clothing and mixing textures. My biggest part that I love about costuming, though, is to help the actor be their character. That to me is the biggest part of why I do it. I won’t put my people in stuff that they don’t like, and that’s unusual. A lot of costumers will just be like, “You wear that. That’s what you wear.” I could do that if I had to, but I would prefer for them to like what they’re wearing so that they can act great in what they’re wearing, because if you don’t like something, if you feel you don’t look good in something, you’re not going to do your best.

My helper is my daughter, Courtney. And she is amazing. She has an eye for fashion as well. Sometimes she’ll say, “What do you think about this?” And I’m like, “Yes.” I bounce ideas off of her all the time. She’s pretty much at every place that I go when it has to do with costumes. And she helps me shop for pieces, too.

Mandy Yarbrough’s creativity isn’t limited to just what theatergoers might see on stage during one of her productions at the Waco Civic Theatre.

“My (personal) style is creative, and a little bit eclectic,” she said. “I don’t have any specific style that I gravitate towards. I love accessories. And I really, really like to just express myself through my clothes. I like to piece things together. So, I guess I kind of costume myself.”

And she also costumes her jeep, a blue Gladiator. It’s adorned with mermaid scales all over and a mermaid tail on the back, along with some other holographic art. And Yarbrough’s cell phone case? It’s shaped like a cowboy boot, and way too large to fit into a back pocket.

“This is totally me,” she said. “And I did not get this just for ‘Oklahoma!’. I had it weeks before, and it’s totally impractical.”

Mandy Yarbrough was the costume designer for “Oklahoma!”, which just wrapped up a run of 10 shows at the Waco Civic Theatre. It was at least the seventh production for which she has costume designed there, and she’s also worked on shows for other theater companies in the area. She’ll next be costume designing “The Girl on the Train”, which will be at Waco Civic Theatre Nov. 3-5 and 9-12. Yarbrough grew up in San Antonio and studied interior design in college. She’s lived in Waco for about 17 years and is mother to Sam; 20; Courtney, 19; and Brendon, 17.