meet the maN behind the masks at the Tonight Show Starring jimmy Fallon

At first meeting Mario Martines he flashes an incredible smile you instantly feel at ease. He has that certain je ne c’est pas that makes you feel like old friends meeting up after several years of being apart. His gentle nature and honest eyes make him seem a bit shy and reserved, in a good way. His good taste and classic style is reflects in his character.

As the conversation grows I catch a sparkle in his eye — there’s a creative mind at work — always. He’s a visual person so we speak the same language instinctively, and dive in to a number of different topics, one after another, and he doesn’t miss a beat.

No stranger to the entertainment biz, Mario has been the head costume designer at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since it's return to New York City in 2014 where he  designs  hundreds of sketches including Ew with guests Miley Cyrus, Arianna Grande, and Taylor Swift;

Tensions with Carol Burnett, Martin Short, Steve Martin and Oprah. He also creates the costumes for video parodies  including Styx’s Too Much Time on my Hands with Paul Rudd and First Draft of Rock with Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

Before The Tonight Show, he was Assistant Costume Designer at Saturday Night Live for six years where he worked on costumes for many different SNL sketches.

He was head costume designer of Kath & Kim with Molly Shannon and Selma Blair.

Mario has styled NBC News  and MSNBC Correspondents… Joy Reid, Richard Engle, Shiba Russell, Kasie Hunt, Chris Hayes, and Steve Kornacki.

Mario is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a designer in the fashion industry for ten years. He lives in NYC.

Other design credits include:


Mercy, Royal Pains, and Spin City


Two Weeks Notice, Glitter, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Safe.


Saturday Night Fever, Flower Drum Song, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and Minnelli on Minnelli.

“You are never fully dressed without a smile” — Charles Strouse

Costume Design

For me, it’s all about the excitement of the creative process — working with the writers to create a character, and the anticipation of seeing the designs become costumes that help bring the characters to life.

“Clothes make a statement. Costumes tell a story. Mason Cooley

Behind the Scenes

When creating  for a nightly show, every department, to mention a few — writers, hair and make-up, costumes, art department, and graphics work hand-in-hand to create the perfect storm to make the magic happen for The Tonight Show.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Khalil Gibran


There are so many things that have inspired me that I would never limit myself to naming one specific place, time or thing, however, I draw from my life experience and approach each project from a new perspective, allowing the outcome to flow organically.” — Mario

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CREDITS: Photography by Andrew Lipovsky      |      Kevin Bacon / Beach Boys photo by Doug Gorenstein     |      Christmas Sweater & Football Promo Videos by Noah Gebstadt