Mary learned the nuances of design, couture, draping and construction from her muse, her Grandmother McLeod. Years later, she developed her technical skills at George Brown College, in Toronto and went on to the Ontario College of Art, Toronto (now the Ontario College of Art & Design) to perfect her drawing and visual communication skills.
During her 3rd year summer hiatus, she received a student grant to write and co-produce an educational film dealing with teenage sexuality. This being a student film, she and her coproducer performed every aspect of production. This is where she fell in love with movie making.
Upon graduation, Mary began looking for employment in the entertainment industry which proved to be a daunting task. But she had a strong background in figure skating going back to her childhood and she managed to land a position as head writer for 'STARS ON ICE', an ice skating variety show, hosted by Alex Trebeck. She spent two seasons honing her writing and production skills.Mary also received a 'Leo Award for Best Costume Design' for the LIFETIME Television drama 'TONI BRAXTON - UN-BREAK MY HEART'.
But Mary wanted to return to her first love of fashion, construction, research and design. With her acquired skills, she landed her first costumer job on a MOW with Henry Fonda. Over the following years, she honed her skills and became more educated in the cinematic process and the art of dealing with actors.
She had her eye on the prize.
Her debut as Costume Designer came with Bob Clark’s 'PORKY’S'. Mary continued to design for Bob on 'PORKY’S' and the holiday classic, 'A CHRISTMAS STORY'. She received GENIE AWARD Nominations for both 'PORKY’S' and 'A CHRISTMAS STORY'. In December 2018, Ms. McLeod was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, for her Costume Design work on 'A CHRISTMAS STORY'.
“My two favorite parts of production are prep and costume fitting. Prep is where all dreams come to the table and everything is possible. I adore the collaboration with the Director, Cinematographer, Production Designer, Set Decorator and Props Master. It is with this group, that we conceive the movie and set the blue print for production.
The Fitting with the actor is pure magic. It’s a room with a huge mirror, a couple of kenos, a dove-grey background and a digital camera. And it’s where every character is born. It is the ultimate trust and thrill between two professionals.”
Ms. McLeod has designed costumes for over 50 motion pictures and television. Her career has encompassed drama, comedy and musicals. She has had the honor of designing for notable actors such as, Al Pacino, Forest Whitaker, Sylvester Stallone, Theo James, Courtney Cox, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard, among others.
“I have the BEST job in the world. To see one’s work on the screen…the reaction of the audience. It is my fulfillment.”