SAN DIEGO – A local San Diego artist and costume designer was commissioned to create this year’s Super Bowl Bling Ball.
Emily Graily, a San Diego resident and the artist behind the ball, was brought on to design a commemorative football for this year’s big game, after pictures of a blinged-out ball she made to honor Rihanna’s return to performing with this year’s halftime show went viral.
“It got so much buzz that the host committee of the Super Bowl reached out to me and asked me to make one, but with their logo instead,” Graily said to FOX5SanDiego.com. “It was done on a whim, just for fun, and it’s nice to know that my creativity reached such a large scale.”
Graily’s Bling Ball was used on last night’s NFL Honors ceremony red carpet, with football stars like Brock Purdy and Nick Bosa posing while holding it.
The ball took about three days for Gaily to bejewel, applying thousands of rhinestones by hand to the skin of the football based on the design she worked to create with the Super Bowl host committee.
“They let me know the settings it would be in and I made sure that (the design) would shine bright in those settings,” she said. “It was very challenging, but I knew it was going to be rewarding in the end.”
Graily is a costume designer by trade, previously working as a costume design assistant at the La Jolla Playhouse.
She got into costume design as a high school student at La Jolla High, later attending UC Santa Cruz for it.
It was her costume design that originally got Rihanna’s attention: during her 2016 Anti World Tour, Graily recreated Rihanna’s iconic pink, fluffy dress from the 2015 Grammy Awards and wore it to one of her shows.
“I was really drawn to her music and her personality,” she said of her admiration of Rihanna. “I always feel inspired by her always switching up her personal style or her music.”
Pictures on Instagram and Twitter – as well as Graily’s front row seat to the show – got her work noticed by the singer, bringing her backstage to meet her.
About six years later, that love of Rihanna helped propel her to an opportunity she never expected or dreamed of.
“I’m super honored to be a little part in Super Bowl history,” she said. “It’s nice to know that my creativity reached such a large scale.”
Super Bowl LVII is set to start at 3:30 p.m. (PT) this Sunday on FOX.