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Rita McGhee’s career in wardrobe started with her obsession with storytelling and clothes. The designer went to Howard University to pursue her passion and took classes in costume design.

But her success story is anything but an overnight sensation.

McGhee paid her dues in the industry by ironing clothes and straightening up around the school’s theatre. After learning the ins and outs of wardrobe design from her college experience, she moved to LA where she worked with Ruth Carter, who is still her career muse to this day.

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Some of her career highlights are working on films like Mo Betta Blues, The Five Heartbeats, and Chiraq—which she called a ‘God experience.’

Although her career is hectic, McGhee feels most at peace at home. As an island girl from Guam, the designer finds comfort and security in her family.

McGhee stays focused by relishing in being a Black woman in fashion.

As she explains, “…being an asset of loving who you are, I’m a Black woman with short hair in fashion. And I love it. I love people. I love color. I love the difference.”

For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.