Costume Designer, Jo Katsaras, first garnered worldwide recognition when she garnered an Emmy® nomination for her striking costumes in Oscar® winner, Anthony Minghella (“The English Patient”) on the HBO/BBC pilot of “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency“.
Jo was born in Cyprus in 1966 and has been living in South Africa since she was 5 years old. Growing up as an immigrant in the vibrant 70’s lifestyle in Johannesburg has given Jo a rich cross-cultural influence to her work. As a child she showed a natural talent for cutting patents; often she would get friends to lie down on a piece of fabric and cut around them.
Jo’s frequent visits to Cyprus during her childhood, and her British education at The English Grammar School in Limassol, Cyprus exposed her to various cultures, a global view, and an intense fascination with foreign lands.
After completing her schooling at the National School of Arts in Johannesburg, Jo seriously considered a career in architecture, but instead chose to travel the world before furthering her studies. It was through her father’s insistence that she get a qualification that she could fall back on, that changed the course of her life.
Taking her natural talent to the next level, Jo enrolled at Fashion school, and, given her ability to draw, sew and cut patterns, she completed a three-year fashion diploma in only one year. Returning from her travels, Jo entered the world of fashion working as a Senior Designer at a large clothing manufacturer. However, she soon discovered that her true interest lay in composing individual wardrobes. For her, designing unique clothes that define a character was far more challenging on a creative level than turning out mass garments.
Film, therefore, was a natural progression for Jo who found ultimate expression for her creativity through this medium. After making her debut as a Costume Designer in the South African box office hit, “There’s a Zulu on My Stoep,” (Yankee Zulu in the international market), Jo broadened her career in the entertainment industry by working in Commercials and Television.
Jo is renowned for her use of colour and texture in costumes, and her inherent understanding of the film medium led to a meteoric rise through the ranks and within eighteen months of entering the film industry, Jo tackled her first production as a Head of Department.
Jo’s motion picture credits include “Mary & Martha” starring Oscar® winner, Hilary Swank, helmed by Australian filmmaker, Phillip Noyce, whose ”Rabbit Proof Fence” accumulated a slew of global film awards. Jo’s other movies are “The Borrowers” with Stephen Fry; “Half a Yellow Sun” starring Academy Award® nominee Chiwetel Eijifor (“12 Years a Slave”), and BAFTA winner, Thandie Newton (“Crash”); Sony Pictures’ ‘Running Wild’ helmed by Jean Jacques Annaud (“Seven Years in Tibet”); Village Roadshow’s “Tarzan and the Lost City” (with Casper van Dien); the South African box office phenomenon,“Mr. Bones”; and the Disney IMAX feature “The Young Black Stallion”.
This was followed by multiple award nominee filmmaker, John Boorman’s “Country of My Skull”, with Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche; and Alcon Entertainment’s “Racing Stripes”, with Bruce Greenwood (“Double Jeopardy”) and Hayden Pannieterre (“Heroes”).
In 2007 Jo worked with Anthony Minghella on the HBO and BBC pilot of “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” starring Jill Scott, Anika Noni-Rose, Colin Salmon, Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowa (“Selma”) and Golden Globe® winner, Idris Elba (“Luther”).
In 2008 Jo continued the work she had created on the “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” starring pilot show and designed 6 more episodes, and in 2009 she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Costumes for a Series at the 61st Emmys. She was also invited by The Costume Designer’s Guild of America to exhibit those costumes at FIDM in Los Angeles in July of 2009 alongside her fellow Emmy nominees.
Jo’s further Award recognition includes a nomination by the Costume Designer’s Guild of America for “Outstanding Contemporary Costumes” (2010). In April 2010, Jo received the Madame Figaro “Woman of the Year” award in Cyprus.
“To work on films was to enter a world of fantasy,” says Katsaras. “You are given the opportunity to create fabulous costumes for unique characters. I love the idea that one can distil an entire character into their costume and the results are preserved forever on celluloid.”
Jo’s Television credits include Damon Lindelof”s (Lost) HBO series “The Leftovers” starring Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler and award winning actresses Carrie Coon and Regina King and is presently designing the post apocalyptic AMC show “Fear The Walking Dead” starring Kim Dickens, Colman Domingo, Frank Dillane, Alycia Denham Carey, Reuben Blades, Lennie James, Jenna Elfman, Garett Dillahunt and Maggie Grace.