North welcomes its newest Head of Costume Design


Aaron Spetter-Goldstein

Costume design teacher Natalie Chaidez’s studio sits next to the Theatre Ink production board.

Aaron Spetter-Goldstein

From a very young age, costume design teacher Natalie Chaidez has loved anything and everything involving theater. Starting off in local productions, Chaidez made her way into North’s theater program, where she can be seen coordinating actors’ wigs, hair, and makeup from her office just outside of the auditorium.

This fall, Chaidez began her first year as North’s costume design teacher and makeup coordinator after costume designer Ruth Talvacchia retired. 

“She’s such a great teacher. You can really tell that she cares about her class,” said sophomore Ana Nunes, who took Chaidez’s Introduction to Costume Design class earlier in the year. 

According to Chaidez, her goal is to inspire students to become passionate about costume design through the course.

“To get the chance to start students’ interests early in costume design and teach students how great costumes are is amazing,” said Chaidez. “I love being here. Everything about this job is so much fun.” 

Chaidez hopes to maintain and improve on Talvacchia’s work. “She had a great rapport with her students and I want to continue that. I want students to know that they can come to me and they can talk to me,” said Chaidez. “The most important thing to me is keeping up that feeling of we are all here together. We are working together and being sort of a costume family almost,” she added.

Chaidez started participating in theater productions at six-years-old. “My aunt had told my mom about a theater company so she put me in there and I loved it,” she said. “I kept telling her I wanted to do it over and over again, and then when I was in my next big production that’s when she knew that was my calling.”

As she entered middle and high school, her passion for theater only grew. “When I graduated high school I actually knew I wanted to be a performer,” said Chaidez.

While attending Sacramento State University, Chaidez dove into the world of theater and costume design. “My film professor really influenced me to pursue the writing aspect of theater,” said Chaidez. “He really supported my love of costumes because he knew not only was I really good at it, he knew I loved it.” 

After graduation, Chaidez pursued a career as an English teacher. “In California, they don’t really have a credential for theater teachers.”

While searching for a new place to work, Chaidez learned about North and was immediately interested in Theatre Ink’s strong and successful theater and costume department. 

“To the students who want to learn how to make their own costumes and are not sure where to begin, I want to tell them, just jump in headfirst,” said Chaidez. “Pick an outfit you want to make and try it. Don’t worry about where you’re going to wear them, don’t worry about what events they’re going to be for, just make costumes.”