‘Rent’ Star Brandon Victor Dixon Reflects on Red Carpet Looks

Brandon Victor Dixon, who starred as Tom Collins III in Fox’s live version of “Rent,” feels the power of the musical is in how love “transforms the disease of prejudice, xenophobia, religious zealotry, fear, the body, mind or spirit.” He explains, “Love doesn’t cure or eliminate everything, but it can transform it.” What Dixon’s been transforming is his wardrobe. “Symone Marie has been styling me [for] the last year and it’s changed how I look at myself and how people see me.”

After originating the role of Harpo in 2005 Broadway musical “The Color Purple” — and scoring a Tony nom — Dixon played Motown record label founder Berry Gordy Jr. in “Motown: The Musical.” The 2013 production, based on Gordy’s autobiography, received a Grammy nomination for musical theater album. “This was early in my ‘fashion career’ so I just went to Bloomingdale’s,” says Dixon. “A gentleman from the Caribbean named Charles slid me into this Gucci suit with a shirt-and-tie combo from Pink. It felt clean and classic at the time, and was a great feel for my first Grammy nomination.”

“This was my second Tony nomination so I rocked cerulean,” says Dixon, recognized for “Shuffle Along.” “You know, ‘Keep it blue if you’re not brand new!’ ” Vogue’s Anna Wintour assisted with Dixon’s look. “This was a custom David Hart tuxedo — made for me at the 11th hour with only a minor alteration,” he recalls. “Ms. Wintour suggested David Hart, and the team at Vogue — with help from Agentry PR — made it happen. David Hart and I are actually from the same hometown in Maryland, so we’ve become friends and I’ve worn him a few times. [He’s] always classic but innovative.”

Once Marie curated a closet for him, Dixon found dressing for these events to be far easier. “With her help, I’m both more ambitious and prepared when it comes to my looks,” says Dixon, who considers this green velvet Garcon Couture Emmy outfit she picked to be one of his favorites. “This one felt very rich. For my first Emmy nomination it was perfect: understated but it stood out.” Dixon, who played Judas Iscariot in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” also had a memorable night. “I didn’t win, but was a mini-part of [director Glenn Weiss’] marriage proposal during the broadcast!”

“The Critics’ Choice Awards are a little less formal so I appreciated the pop of the pink for the occasion,” says Dixon, nominated for “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He may have lost the trophy, but the night was a victory on the fashion front. “A number of guests at the ceremony — Patricia Arquette comes to mind — shouted ‘best dressed!’ as we crossed paths. I’ll take it!” says Dixon, who went on to star in another televised musical event in Fox’s “Rent.” “For me, [Tom] Collins has always been a bucket-list role. I played it briefly Off Broadway so relished the chance to do it on TV.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Related Emmys: Is It Time to Give Multicams Their Own Category? (Column) Here's Why Your Favorite TV Shows Weren't Nominated for Emmys Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content