Janelle Monáe's 2022 Met Gala Look: All the Behind-the-Scenes Details! (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
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Met Gala 2022: Get Ready With Janelle Monae (Exclusive)
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Janelle Monáe is channeling timeless elegance at the 2022 Met Gala. ET was exclusively with the 36-year-old actress as she got ready for this year's event at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she explained how she's putting the gilded glamour theme, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, into action through her Ralph Lauren look.
"Gilded glamour is the theme for this year's Met Gala, and I would say that [my outfit] is gilded glamour, but in the future," Monáe teased. "... Once you look, there is going to be a lot of things dancing... glistening, a lot of just diamonds from the earth. Black diamonds."
Choosing Ralph Lauren to dress her for the event was easy for Monáe, who praised the brand for how they've "always stepped up and embraced me and given me suiting when I could not even afford suiting at the time."
"We have a wonderful, wonderful relationship, so going with them to this even makes it more special to me," she said. "As an artist, I love creating, I love collaborating... If I could just take one [dress] right now, this one would probably be the one. It is timeless, future, past, now. It speaks to so many different decades and centuries."
Once her designer was chosen and the theme was announced, Monáe began her research.
"I thought, 'What has Ralph Lauren done? What do I feel like could be timeless, that speaks to the past, the present and the future?'" she recalled. "I looked at some of their archives. [I saw] a look that I really loved, but I was like, 'What if we made it in the future and I put my Monáe touch on it? What does that do?'"
"As soon as I saw the archives, I knew what I wanted," Monáe added. "I knew that I could make it timeless, and make it even more special. I am like, 'This is it.'"
Three fittings was all it took to get the dress perfectly sized to Monáe, though some last-minute details were still being completed hours before the event was slated to start.
"Ralph Lauren has the best of the best, that's why they've been able to be this timeless brand that stays around decade after decade," Monáe explained of her calm throughout the situation.
Monáe told ET that she's able to maintain her cool head by finding her center as activity buzzes around her.
"Sometimes it is just taking 15 to 20 minutes and just going over the things that I am grateful for, people I am grateful for, the experiences I am grateful for, the relationships I am grateful for, the health that I am grateful for, and just grounding myself in something real and that matters," she said. "As much as I love dressing up and being creative and all of that, even with fashion specifically, I always say, 'It is the people who make the clothes, not the clothes who make the people.' So, who are you? What are you bringing to this experience?"
The actress added, "I have to have a good soundtrack... Anything that makes me feel cinematic and like I am in a movie, because that is what this dress is going to give you."
Monáe added that "it won't take long" to get her glammed up for the event, as she does many of the preparations ahead of time.
"I did a lot of prep. I tried to do prep the night before, so if I have to get a pedicure, a manicure, I get that done," she said. "I do my makeup testing the night before, so I know what I want my face to look like that day, so it is not a surprise."
As for what her makeup look consists of, Monáe teased, "We're going with something again that fills that gilded glamour, but in the future, something that feels timeless."
"I think we wanna always look back and be like, 'Wow, that was timeless. You could put this face in any era and it just works,'" she said. "We're keeping it simple. I don't like to wear a whole lot of makeup."
As everything came together, Monáe felt nothing but excitement and gratitude for the night ahead.
"I don't take this so seriously. I'm always about having fun, that's the main thing. If it's not fun, I'm probably not gonna show up for it," she told ET. "I'm super excited about tonight... I'm so cool inside. I'm so excited. I'm so happy to just be alive right now."
Entertainment Tonight is on the red carpet, so keep checking back with ETonline for more coverage from fashion's biggest night.