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White Home Correspondents’ Dinner Host Tamara Keith on Her Customized Gown

White Home Correspondents’ Dinner Host Tamara Keith on Her Customized Gown

White House Correspondents’ Dinner Host Tamara Keith on Her Custom Dress

ELLE’s sequence Garments of Our Lives decodes the sartorial selections made by highly effective girls, exploring how style can be utilized as a software for communication. In her personal phrases, Tamara Keith, NPR White Home correspondent and host of this 12 months’s White Home Correspondents’ Dinner, takes us behind the scenes of the {custom} robe she had made for D.C.’s largest evening.

In 2020, my household began doing a film evening. My dad and mom, my brother, and my husband and I’d watch a film, after which do a Zoom name afterward to speak about it. Such a pandemic exercise. It was not my first time seeing Broadcast Information, however for no matter motive we determined to look at it once more.

For so long as I keep in mind, I’ve felt an actual kinship with Holly Hunter’s character, Jane Craig—I each relate to and resemble her. She’s pushed, with this extremely sturdy and maybe indignant sense of what journalism must be. She has a real dedication to journalism ethics. Her character is a TV producer, however I work in radio. Typically, we have to get the sound of one thing. Just like the sound of cows mooing or the sound of the door opening. Persons are at all times saying, “Oh, let me recreate that for you.” I’m the one who replies, “No, sound is reality and you may’t simply recreate it.” If the cows aren’t mooing, the cows aren’t mooing. We are able to’t make them moo.


Re-watching Broadcast Information planted a seed in my thoughts: I ought to put on the identical gown that Jane wore to the White Home Correspondents’ dinner within the film.

still image of holly hunter from broadcast news

’Broadcast Information’ screenshot

jane craigs dress in broadcast news

’Broadcast Information’ screenshot

I’m this 12 months’s president of the White Home Correspondents’ Affiliation, which signifies that, for higher or worse, it’s my dinner. I picked the comic, I’m writing the entire scripts, and I’m mainly the host of the dinner. I advised one among my fellow WHCA board members in regards to the concept to put on the Jane Craig gown and she or he cherished it. So after plenty of Googling, I discovered what I believed is likely to be an analogous gown on eBay.

It was actually shut. However it wasn’t it. It was too small and tea-length, as a substitute of floor-length. The neckline wasn’t fairly proper. It was from the Eighties, and the material had not held up nicely.

On a whim, I despatched a word and a nonetheless from the film to a neighborhood wedding ceremony gown and night put on store referred to as Zoya’s Atelier. They do {custom} clothes and vital alterations. Amy, who manages the shop, was so excited. She mentioned, “Listed here are three wedding ceremony clothes which have an analogous neckline. Let’s strive them on, let’s work out the one which’s proper, after which we’re going to get it made within the material that matches the film.”

London-based designer Suzanne Neville custom-made the material. They used a picture from the film to measure the polka dots and made positive it matched precisely. I didn’t hear something after that for a very very long time. I began to get nervous. However behind the scenes, magic was taking place.

My first becoming was on March 29. I’ve had three extra since then. We acquired the bow into the correct place, put some further lining inside to make the waistband extra comfy, and hemmed for size. It’s simply so good. I can’t recover from how shut it’s to the gown within the film, and the way nice it feels.

I begin my foremost speech within the dinner speaking in regards to the gown and what the film did for me after I first noticed it as an adolescent. It confirmed me what a profession may appear like—that there was this place far, far-off the place information is life and the place folks take politics and journalism very critically.

A part of my purpose with the dinner and my speech is to convey to the general public that we’re all simply common folks with goals who’ve in some way ended up on this massive ballroom sporting massive ball robes and tuxedos. The gown represents a dream of a profession that, in some way, by exhausting work and plenty of luck, truly occurred.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

Headshot of Rose Minutaglio

Senior Editor

Rose is a Senior Editor at ELLE overseeing options and initiatives about girls’s points. She is an completed and compassionate storyteller and editor who excels in acquiring unique interviews and unearthing compelling options.

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