Finding designers willing to dress her wasn’t always easy for “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones. “Maybe because I’m tall, maybe I’m not the regular size — which is not that big,” she says. “I’m [a] 10, 12. I guess it’s big for a Hollywood size, but I’m a normal-sized woman.” The two-time Emmy nominee navigated the fashion world with help from stylist Brian McPhatter and designer Christian Siriano, whom she credits for making women feel comfortable about their shape and size. “I always knew I liked clothes. I just didn’t know how to translate that as far as dressing myself.”
When no one would outfit her for the premiere of the “Ghostbusters” reboot, Jones took to Twitter. At the time, she wrote: “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for [a] movie. Hmmm, that will change, and I remember everything.” Now, she recalls that it wasn’t about trying to “start something,” but “we were on the way out to look at some dresses at the mall, like at Macy’s.” Jones checked her phone hours later and saw the tweet had blown up “like wildfire” — but also that Christian Siriano had responded with a “wave” emoji. Together, they created Jones’ dream dress, inspired by the 1976 film “Sparkle.” She later paid it forward by passing the gown along to Bob the Drag Queen.
Jones joined “Saturday Night Live” as a writer in 2014, and shortly after, became the oldest cast member ever hired, at 47. “I’m funny and I’m real and just probably doing something that they’d never seen before,” says Jones, whose skits took a personal turn when she addressed the hacking of her website. For her first Emmy nomination, she collaborated with Siriano on this black dress. “That was just me wanting to have something really dramatic and see-through, because I had been working out, so I wanted to show off my body.” Her castmate Kate McKinnon won. “I’m kind of glad I didn’t win because it made me step back,” Jones says. “I was just too tied up in knots about it instead of enjoying what was going on.”
Jones loosened up the following year, when she presented with RuPaul. “He was like at a party!” she says. “I was so nervous [but] he was just like, ‘Yo, have fun! This is fun!’” Her enthusiasm was palpable when she announced limited series actress winner Regina King’s name. “It’s so amazing how people react to me — I’m just a regular person. This is how regular people watch the Emmys.” Jones wore an iridescent suit by Siriano and had prepped a speech in case she took the trophy this time. “I didn’t have any pockets, so I had my speech in my bra. And I remember that I was so hot, and I was sweating, so the ink went onto my breast. When I took it off, I had ‘God’ on one breast and ‘Lorne [Michaels]’ on the other one!”