Passionista Terry Ann Gordon — Costume Designer for Rita, Reba and Fran
Three-time Emmy Nominee Terry Ann Gordon
Last summer we were invited to attend the Intern Mixer at the Television Academy. As researchers and interviewers for the Foundation, we thought it would be a great idea to go and support the up-and-coming TV professionals. When we arrived, we were immediately drawn to a woman with impeccable fashion sense and an infectious smile. She introduced herself as Terry Ann Gordon.
As we began talking to her, we discovered her flare for style was a product of her career as a costume designer. We spent the rest of the evening being regaled with stories of her years designing wardrobe for country singer Reba McEntire, working with Fran Drescher on The Nanny and Happily Divorced and dressing Hollywood legend Rita Moreno on the Netflix reboot of One Day at a Time.
When we decided to launch The Passionistas Project Podcast, Terry was one of the first women we thought of. Her passion, not only for her work but for sharing her experience and skill with interns and students, made her an ideal guest for our show. When we contacted her, she humbly gave us a list of other (in her words) “more deserving candidates.” But we knew she could deliver the goods.
In the interview we discovered that she discovered her love of costumes as a kid dressed as a witch for Halloween. She grew up in the arts and theater and ultimately attended Carnegie Mellon to get her MFA in costume design.
She got her first big break working as the men’s clothing designer on The Nanny and was nominated for three Emmys for her work on the show. From there she transitioned onto Reba where she formed a life-long friendship with the country singer. She hit the road with Reba in 2001 designing her stage costumes (including the one in the photo above). Most recently she helped dress Reba as Col. Sanders for the latest KFC campaign.
In addition, she has worked on other shows like Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place and Malibu County. One often overlooked credit on her resume was making puppet costumes for Sid and Marty Krofft (our personal favorite credit for obvious reasons).
In our podcast interview with her, she talks about the strong women she who have influenced her, overcoming obstacles along the way, setting and meeting goals and finding the humor in everything she does. She has spent much of her recent years passing her knowledge along to her students at USC and says her proudest moments are seeing her students succeed in the industry.