Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter continues to inspire Springfield residents

Ruth Carter wins Oscar, long-time Springfield friend inspired
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 10:57 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA. (WGGB/WSHM) - Springfield native Ruth Carter made her dream come true as a costume designer in Hollywood and was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” We spoke with one of Carter’s longtime friends on how she continues to inspire her community in western Massachusetts.

Vanessa Hall, Beaute Within Day Spa owner said, “When she comes in town, she’s coming off a high only we can dream of.”

Ruth Carter was born and raised in Springfield with a passion for design. That dream turned into reality when Carter moved to Los Angeles and met director Spike Lee. It was during her time working with Lee that she received her first Oscar nomination and this year she’s up for the fourth time at the 95th Academy Awards, a milestone her longtime friend and hairdresser Hall is proud to see.

“I see her hard work just really paying off. I’m in tears, everyone’s in tears. We sometimes get together to celebrate her,” said Hall. “Her very first movie she did with Spike Lee. We were just excited you know, like here we go. And I’ve watched her movies as time has gone on.”

Carter is nominated for costume design in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” She was the first African American to win an Academy Award in that category for her design work in the first Black Panther film. Hall told Western Mass News her friend faced some challenges when it came to designing some of the scenes in the popular Marvel movie.

“She spoke about how hard it was for her to create the underwater scenes. And they still look like the costumes,” said Hall. “She’s doing things that are unprecedented. But she studies her craft. She studies it intensely, getting all the information. And I think that’s noble. You study to show yourself approved.”

However, she said everything Carter has done in three decades working in the film industry has been done with a genuine passion.

“Her love, her love of our African art, of African design to bring it together as real and as authentic,” said Hall. “She believes in authenticity to a fault, and I think that’s amazing.”

Hall is living a dream of her own as well, as she owns Beaute Within Day Spa in Springfield. She told us seeing her friend grow and flourish in her career has helped her to do the same as she continues to expand her business.

“She has been such an inspiration to my life and my business,” said Hall. “She’s been an integral part in what I’ve done and the growth of what I’ve done and the completion.”

When Carter’s in town, she comes here to her friend Vanessa for all of her hair and spa treatments here at Beaute Within Salon.

“I fit in there somewhere to give her a little bit of rest, relaxation with her hair and nail spa services,” said Hall. “I try to be her girl Friday whatever kind of support she needs.”

Hall is excited to see what design Carter will be showing off on the red carpet at this year’s Academy Awards.

“She has talked with me and shown me different designs,” said Hall. “She talked to me about how she’s come up with many designs for movies. And even what she’s going to wear on the red carpet. What she thought about it. What she wasn’t sure about it. And I always tell her you’re the first of firsts it doesn’t really matter always do you.”