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Jenny Beavan, ‘Mad Max’ Costume Designer, on Oscars Drama: ‘I Don’t Mind if They Didn’t Clap’

Empowering women. Jenny Beavan, the costume designer for Mad Max who wore jeans and a biker jacket to the Oscars 2016 on Sunday, February 28, insists she’s holding no grudges against people who didn’t feel like clapping for her.

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And while she accepts that her outfit, which she says was an homage to the movie, might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, the British designer hopes her win makes people realize that you “don’t have to look like a supermodel to be successful.”

Jenny Beavan wins an Oscar for her work on 'Mad Max'
Jenny Beavan wins an Oscar for her work on ‘Mad Max’

Beavan was thrust into the headlines in the days following the 88th Academy Awards when a video of her walking past a host of big names on her way up to the stage to collect her Oscar went viral. The reason? None of the celebs, including four-time Oscar-winning director Alejandro Iñárritu and Spotlight director Tom McCarthy, clapped, and other members of the audience were seen giggling and smiling before raising their hands to belatedly applaud Beavan, whose outfit appeared to be the object of their disdain.

But while Iñárritu, for his part, insists he meant no harm by his delayed response, explanations are evidently unnecessary for the self-assured Beavan, who has no regrets about her unconventional choice of Oscars attire and no desire to please everybody all of the time.

“I am British with a slightly rebellious character; I always have been,” Beavan told The Hollywood Reporter about her fashion decisions. “But, actually, in truth, you’ve seen me. I’m short, I’m fat. I really would look ridiculous in a gown. What I was actually wearing at the Oscars was sort of an homage to Mad Max — a kind of biker outfit. And George [Miller] loved it. The [vegan] leather jacket had the Immorten Joe symbol on the back and I was just giving a little wink to Mad Max.”

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Beavan even took responsibility for the lack of clapping, saying she walked very slowly up to the stage, and has no problem with the fact some people weren’t clapping the whole time.

“It is so easy to trip, even though I was wearing a sensible pair of boots, I just wanted to take it slowly,” she added. ” And, honestly, I didn’t clap the whole time [during the ceremony] — your hands get tired. We had done a huge amount of clapping by that time. They didn’t have to! I don’t mind in the least if they didn’t clap. I felt really good, I felt the warmth, I was so proud of doing the film for George and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, really.”

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While she admits the social media reaction to the video has been “frightening,” the 65-year-old designer hopes that if the furor does one thing, she would like it to reinforce the message that looks aren’t everything.

“I really do think things will all calm down, but the only thing I would like is for my outfit to have a positive effect on what women feel about themselves. You don’t actually have to look like a supermodel to be successful. If that could be a takeaway, I think that would be a good thing. It is really good to have a positive feeling about yourself, because then you can do anything. People don’t have to clap for you; they don’t have to like the work.”

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