At her weekly news conference the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that welcoming a new administration felt like a “breath of fresh air.” She did so wearing a floral-print mask handmade by Designing Women and Young Sheldon actress Annie Potts.
With sewing partner Paige Peter, Potts began making masks early in the pandemic after production paused on Young Sheldon (she plays Connie “Meemaw” Tucker on that show) because they wanted to give back while offering something easy on the eyes. Through one of Peter’s political connections, they’ve been getting masks in the hands and on the faces of major power players like Pelosi, former California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Barbara Lee and newly installed Vice President Kamala Harris (though she’s yet to wear hers).
Pelosi has worn several, and Potts calls it a “very cool feeling” seeing her in the designs. Also giving a buzz: Potts and Peter have donated masks to help raise money for various causes including Anguilla Food Bank, food rescue group White Pony Express and a nursing home in San Bernardino.
“Maybe it was all those years of Designing Women, but I figured if we had to cover half our face, it might as well look good,” Potts tells THR. “Still hoping to see Vice President Harris wearing one soon. Wear your masks everyone — we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this thing!”
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.