Marina Toybina Interview: ‘The Masked Singer’ costume designer
Marina Toybina has three seasons designing the outrageous costumes on “The Masked Singer” under her belt with a fourth on the horizon, and she has one fear. “It’s such a challenge for me because how many more animals are left to create or how many more characters can we produce?” she told Gold Derby during our Meet the BTL Experts: Costume Design panel (watch above).
The four-time Emmy winner, who gave us Left Shark (one of her Emmy wins), probably needn’t worry about limited creatures, considering she came up with eventual winner Night Angel for the third season. And perhaps what’s most impressive and memorable about the crazy costumes is that it’s not merely just a costume of an animal or object itself. The Kangaroo is a boxer. The Rhino is an aviator. The costume is wearing a costume, adding a whole other literal layer of fun and absurdity.
“I think this is such a great platform to do something different and not just stick to the idea of, you know, this is just a one-dimensional costume,” Toybina explained. “I love that I get the freedom to create this extension of the characters and also visually stimulate our audience and not just bring forth a kangaroo, where everyone knows what a kangaroo looks like. I could leave it without a costume, but at the same time, with that particular character, it was like, ‘What does that represent?’ It represents strength, power, fighter, and from there, let’s create something really unique and create a boxer with rhinestone gloves with this intricate, child-like face that’s on the mask. So I try to find a balance between the reality of what I’m researching and the fantasy world that I would love to bring to the stage.”
A full costume takes three-to-four weeks to make, and there is constant overlap between individual costumes depending on when a celebrity is cast and conversations that come from that. “Some of the masks I fabricate and dress them up. Others, we do house paint and then create all the airbrushing on top. It’s a pretty crazy process trying to get it done,” Toybina said.
And in case you’re wondering how they go to the bathroom in that ridiculous and sometimes oversized gear, Toybina has that covered as well. “Every single build that we do is considerate of all those obstacles, whether it’s going to the restroom, whether it’s being able to sit down and take off your mask, I make sure everything is designed in pieces, even if it’s a cylindrical costume or something slightly overweight or bigger,” she revealed. “We make sure everything has easy closures so they’re not stuck in this forever. There is somebody that is always assigned to them that can assist them on the stage.”