Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin Connects with Family’s Storied History
After scouting locations for her latest music video, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin settled on a place with personal and historic resonance – the Long Island Gold Coast mansion of her great-great-grandfather, William K. Vanderbilt II. On March 23, Costin used the mansion, its courtyard and family living quarters – part of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum complex – as backdrops for the production.
Costin is a seventh-generation descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping and railroad entrepreneur who amassed one of the greatest fortunes of the nineteenth century. She is a singer and songwriter who has performed around the world and shared the stage with such notable artists as Mya, Tweet, Vanessa Carlton and the late Joe Cocker.
She has performed “God Bless America” at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and sung for huge audiences at Capital Pride in Washington, DC, and at Fashion Week in New York and Los Angeles.
“Filming at the Vanderbilt Museum was a great privilege and an incredible treat for me on a very personal level,” Costin said. “Since I moved to New York, which is so rich in my family’s history, I’ve taken every opportunity to explore it. It’s been a wonderful, eye-opening experience for me, but working at the estate and in the mansion on this project was the most extraordinary way to learn about – and even to live and breathe – a small piece of that history.
“The estate and mansion have been meticulously preserved just as it was when my great-great grandfather passed in 1944. Sitting in his old 1928 Lincoln Town Car, stepping through the doorway of the bedroom where my great grandmother and namesake spent her summers, was like walking through 70 years of time. I am truly grateful to the museum and its dedicated and gracious staff for allowing me to film my new music video there, and for welcoming me with such warmth and enthusiasm.”
The Museum’s two automotive artifacts – Mr. Vanderbilt’s custom-built Lincoln and a rare 1909 Reo Gentleman’s Roadster, a 1959 gift to the Vanderbilt from collector Harry Gilbert of Huntington, served as props for the shoot.
Directed by Paul Coy Allen, the video was produced for Costin’s new single “Lose My Mind.” The story is of an arranged marriage, Costin said, and looks at the societal pressures and family positioning that had plagued Vanderbilt women of the past, dating back to Consuelo Vanderbilt’s marriage to the Duke of Marlborough at the end of the nineteenth century.
Costin said the storyline is set in the early 1950s. The main character, which she portrays, is a fictional version of a Vanderbilt-like woman. Engaged to be married, she returns to the summer home where she grew up to prepare for her wedding, Costin said. There, she reunites with her first childhood love, a young man whose family had worked on the estate for generations. He is now the family chauffeur, Costin said, and their encounter causes her to reflect upon what it meant to truly be in love. Torn between her desire for true love and her duty to her family, she ultimately chooses love, and leaves her fiancée at the altar to run off with the chauffeur.
In the video, Costin wears her great-grandmother’s engagement ring. Consuelo Vanderbilt Earl (1903-2011) gave Costin the ring as a gift, and it served as inspiration for her new jewelry line, Homage.
Costin’s last single, “Body Needs,” released in 2014, broke the Billboard Dance Chart’s Top 5 and was her third Top 20 hit. Her first dance single, “Naked,” spent 16 weeks on the Billboard charts and reached No. 12. Her follow-up single, “Feel So Alive,” earned Costin Billboard’s No. 2 Breakout Artist honor. Over the past few years, her music has spent an accumulated 49 weeks on the Billboard Dance Charts. Her new, highly anticipated album is due for release on June 26, 2015.
Costin has been featured on some of the biggest television shows in Germany. In 2014, the prominent German news channel NTV (part of the CNN network), sent a film crew to New York to follow her for several weeks, and featured her on a six-part series for its show “Premium Lounge.”