We sat down with Costume Designer Reilly Kizer to hear about his approach to designing a character that is relative to your own life experiences and perspective - creating a more realistic portrayal.
Why is the series titled Avocado Toast? (if you don’t know, take a guess!)
Because sex can be just as divisive as brunch, especially when you have to picture your parents doin’ it. (ew)
Tell us about your story in Avocado Toast. What were the main challenges and fears you had in your role?
Aside from the ever-lingering fear of a massive continuity error, my biggest challenge is always approaching character choices personally but from a very objective angle … you don’t get ever wanna get too lost inside their own head & subsequently, your own. A sort of “analysis paralysis”, if you will.
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I think that if you’re costume-designing a character (whether you’re building/altering a garment, styling or even just picking out a t-shirt / tank top,) it’s inevitable that the aesthetic choices you make for them will be an interpretation of your own personal tastes and style (& vice-versa.)
How much were you able to relate your own experiences to create your character? And how much did you have to research or imagine?
To speak again to the personal choices you make, I think that when choosing something for a character, you’re factoring in their emotional and economic state, personality and perspective and so forth. You’re empathizing with them on a very base level. That’s all relative to your own life experiences and perspective.
What aspects of Avocado Toast the series are you excited for an audience to experience or discover?
The characters are all flawed, nuanced and endearing in their own ways…I think we’re seeing more and more “anti-hero” type characters represented in Film and Television. It’s far more relatable and I think that you’re more apt to identify with and see yourself in characters that can be selfish at times, lost or searching for their own place in the world. It’s a more realistic portrayal of the human condition and the ups and downs we all experience on a daily basis as individuals.
Are baby boomers and millennials often having the same conversations but just using different words? Sometimes … I know everyone loves to poke fun at the “old folks” but I find these days, it’s getting easier and easier to get on the same page with the “boomers” in my life…so probably, yeh…I think that’s a pretty valid thing to say. At the end of the day, things like sarcasm and wit can be a pretty universal language. So, if you’re really listening, it’s never hard to get on the same page.
What makes baby boomers so awesome?
They lived through a generation that saw massive change & upheaval, (social, political and otherwise.) I think with any age group or demographic that comes before you, there’s an invaluable amount of wisdom and perspective to be gained if you’re willing to listen and pay attention. No matter whether it’s in conversation or observation, there’s always something to learn. History is a mirror.
What makes millennials so wonderful?
As a “generation” I find we actively talk about our feelings and ideals with a lot more frequency and candour than most. Given the right incubator, that can be a tremendous vehicle for change and growth.
Do you find it hurtful or funny when baby boomers refer to millennials as ‘snowflakes’ or when millennials dismiss baby boomer advice with a ‘Okay, boomer.’
Nah…I think I’m more apt to respond with an eyeroll than hurt feelings. Personally, I think it’s pretty funny. Kind of like how your parent’s get annoyed when you call them by their first name instead of “Mom” or “Dad.”
What are some of your favourite baby boomer slang or sayings and why? My mom says “Jesus MURphy!” a lot instead of swearing…I don’t know what the etymology behind that one is but I’d love to find out. It’s like when people say “OH sugar!” instead of what they really meant. (My own filter is far less existent.)
What are some of your favourite millennial slang and why? When I was in high school, we called everything “mint” & “Prostar” if it was cool…sometimes it still slips out. Does that count?
Sex, sexuality, gender and different kinds of relationships are depicted in Avocado Toast the series. Why is it important to continue sharing these types of stories today?
Sexuality (and sex/gender as it relates to it,) are such ever evolving concepts…I think a concept as fluid as sexuality can be hard for people to wrap their head around since it is ever-changing and evolving with us, as a culture and society. The. LGBTQ experience is different for everyone who lives it.
What was the hardest scene for you to do and why?
Probably dream sequence diner scene, just because there was so much going on. I really wanted it to make sense, aesthetically but it was also an edible induced dream sequence…So naturally it had to toe the line between campy and culturally referential, while still making sense as a figment of Molly’s drugged imagination and memory. It was also the most fun scene to do, simply for the same reasons.
Who is a major influence for you and on your creativity?
Ultimately, my parents. As long as I’ve been willing to follow through with it, they’ve supported every creative whim I’ve had. (Even the ones I didn’t follow through with.) That kind of support makes all the difference.
What's next for you as a creator?
Despite the horrible circumstances under which we’re all shut in, this time has been a blessing and I’ve had the luxury of spending endless hours in my studio nurturing and cultivating new & existing talents while giving credence to the projects I never thought I’d have the time or patience for!…I’ve always got my hands in more than one pot at once, so time will tell! ;)
IMDB: Reilly Kizer