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"Shriek or Chic" Contestant Joelle Samaha on Inspiration -- and Her Favorite Halloween Costume Ever

Joelle Samaha just graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she focused on intimate apparel, bridal, and evening wear. Now she's vying to design Martha's Halloween costume for 2014 -- and looking for inspiration wherever she can get it.   


I always knew what I wanted. At the age of 5, I knew I wanted to wear dresses with pantyhose and “shoes that made noise” (a.k.a. any shoe with a slight heel).


My conviction became stronger as the years went by. In high school, I had the same mentality. I loved dressing up but could never find anything I loved in stores. The only choice I had was to make my own dresses.


Then came prom. Shopping for dresses was a nightmare, to say the least. I made both of my prom dresses, and they were a huge hit. Little did I know this would be the start of my career.


I love making women feel beautiful. I feel like I have a great understanding of a woman’s body, and I know how to accentuate the good and mask the imperfections.


Another thing I love about fashion is that it makes people happy. There are so many serious things that go on in this world, and fashion is a way to have fun. Even if it means putting on a pretty dress with “shoes that make noise.” If it makes you smile and feel good, then I know I have done my job. The joy motivates me.  


But of course, like any creative person, I sometimes experience a creative block. Just ask any designer, author, songwriter, photographer -- you come to a point where nothing new is brewing in your mind. It feels almost like a mini-breakdown. To deal with these emotions, I take a step back, reevaluate, and try to envision what I want the end result to be. I seek out inspiration by either surfing the web for pictures or quotes or listening to music. Sometimes I need to just call it a night and wake up with a fresh mind. I know it will always come together in the end.  


My favorite Halloween costume was last year's: I was a peacock. It was the first costume I'd ever made, and I had a lot of fun with it. I used these beautiful feathers for the bodice, both regular black feathers and peacock feathers. I made a huge tutu with a long tail made of tulle. It was simple, but I saw results quickly, which I loved.


Basically, I don't look at clothing as pieces of fabric; I see a piece of clothing or a costume as a masterpiece. I love seeing the transformation come to life. 


"Shriek or Chic: Martha's Haute Halloween Challenge" premieres October 7 right here on Check out the trailer below!