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Quirky Costumes: UC Student Has Cool Co-op with the Conan O’Brien Show

Fashion design student Jenna Mason is back from her second co-op semester where she worked behind the scenes on the Conan O’Brien show.

Date: 7/18/2013 9:30:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Jenna Mason

UC ingot   University of Cincinnati fashion design student Jenna Mason never thought she’d be behind the scenes in Hollywood when it comes to training for and pursuing her career.
But that was before her two recent cooperative education terms in Los Angeles, working as part of the costume team for Conan O’Brien’s late-night show.
There, for instance, she might make an urn full of ashes costume for a skit titled “Mascots That Shouldn’t Slam Dunk.” Or, she might just as easily work small scale, making costumes for dogs for “Puppy Conan” skits.
Jenna Mason
UC's Jenna Mason behind the scenes on the "Conan O'Brien Show."

Mason, 21, of Pickerington, Ohio, who will start her senior year at UC this fall, states that the best part of her co-op in Los Angeles was the chance to learn so much in working with non-traditional materials in terms of fashion as well as the chance to work with the costume team under UC fashion alumna Linda Ciarimboli.
Says Mason, “The whole team became my mentors. I could ask them for anything in terms of advice or help, so it was a great learning experience. I also had a lot of fun. It was a new adventure every day, and I made lifelong connections with the people I worked with. I would love to end up in the costume industry when I graduate.”
She adds that her studio classes within UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), also stood her in good stead when it came to the fast-paced work environment of the show where it was sometimes necessary to produce a costume related to topical news or a writer’s idea within hours.
“At DAAP, we learn to work fast in pressure situations and to work well in a small-team environment. Between my experiences at the university and on ‘Conan,’ I can honestly say I can now work with any time crunch and sew needed garments or costumes much more quickly,” states Mason.
One thing that UC didn’t prepare her for were the challenges of working to costume dogs, which, according to Mason, was probably the most challenging part of her co-ops: “It’s challenging to make costumes for dogs given that they move around and won’t sit still, but it was also an amazing experience working with animals.”
  •  Apply to UC’s undergraduate program in fashion design.