When Jolene George watches wrestling, her focus has little to do with whether the combatants have a 5-star match.
She just hopes they look like a star.
Jolene is the head of the wardrobe department for TNA Wrestling. She helps each TNA wrestler and knockout make his or her own fashion statement.
From Zema Ion to Gail Kim and Madison Rayne, from Kazarian to Daniels, Styles and Aries, Jolene works her magic, designing, sewing and styling.
• How important is that look?
Jolene said the first time you see a wrestler, before you ever see him or her wrestle, you notice the attire as they strut to the ring.
She wouldn’t be too fond working with Goldberg or Malenko for obvious reasons, but there aren’t many of those these days. Each persona is fitted to the character inside the ring. Not as much fun, but at times, ‘simple’ can work.
There is creative, the writers, and creative, Jolene. Her sewing machine is her pen.
Changes and deviations. She noted the look for Magnus went through a transformation from his initial start in the company.
Talent will have ideas. Jolene helps create something that works for him or her. The backdrop on the giant screen as well as the lighting during their ring entrance play a role in her color scheme and design process. With Austin Aries, a cape just felt right.
Kazarian is someone who worked with Jolene via email, before she joined TNA She had her own website, geared to her craft. When she landed the job with TNA, she ran to Kazarian for their first in-person meet. He must have thought she was an overzealous fan and proceeded with caution, but once he learned it was Jolene (his fashion help), all was good.
Through her website, Jolene also corresponded internationally with Adrian Lionheart McCallum, a British wrestler, designing for him. How the Internet has changed things.
Working with Jolene, it’s a combination, a give-n-take to design the right outfit for a wrestler. The company and/or wrestler has an idea. It is brought to the table, laterally. Jolene’s table. She works with them, following the plan to a ‘T’ or making necessary changes (subtle or more) from her expertise of what will work or won’t. A creation is born. There are hits and misses, but the hits far outweigh the misses.
• Several years ago, through a friend living in Tampa, Jolene met Gail Kim. Jolene was working in a bridal store in Tampa, wedding gowns for high-strung brides. She thought about becoming a veterinarian, but in her senior year of high school in Florida, she opted for fashion, making clothes. After completing design school, she worked in Tampa.
Jolen started developing ring attire for Kim. It was a new experience, but she enjoyed it. Kim introduced Jolene to Christian, another Tampa resdient, and she patterned ring gear from his ideas. They are customers, and they are friends.
A wrestler will speak with her about their concept or discuss via email, sometimes with drawings, and she develops their idea. It’s an interesting process.
When Christian wrestled for TNA, Jeff Jarrett was impressed with Christian’s ring attire. Christian mentioned Jolene made it, and that she lives in Tampa, not far from Orlando, the home television for TNA Impact Wrestling and TNA pay-per-views. So TNA hired her.
Mainly, she deals with talent. “You’re hired. Now go see Jolene.”