HOLLYWOOD — Nobody understands the need for good hair days better than industryites.
Among the over-the-top behavior ankled E! topper Mindy Herman was accused of by her underlings was getting a hair and style makeover on the company dime. Observers attributed her indulgent behavior to the pervasive sense of entitlement in Hollywood, where grooming — particularly when it comes to hair — is king.
Stars bargain to get their hair stylist signed on for TV shows and movies they’re filming, sometimes requiring producers to fight through red tape to get a guild waiver for nonguild stylists. They also stipulate they be flown in for junkets on the company jet.
High-level execs can be even bigger divas about their tresses.
“They are as demanding, if not more,” stresses stylist Jonathan Antin, whose new BevHills salon, Jonathan Salon, is the focal point of Bravo’s “Blow Out” reality show. “Don’t forget, they make the stars.”
Antin, who trims and prunes David Geffen’s pate, has been known to snip away on clients while they conduct negotiations. Col’s Amy Pascal is known for getting her hair blown straight before she makes a deal. Insiders say if her hair’s curly, your deal’s dead.
Every stylist is a cell phone call away for hair emergencies — and there are always hair emergencies. Hair stylists make midnight set calls to fix bad dye jobs or early morning house calls to dress tresses for those supposedly unstaged paparazzi photos for the glossies.
Because flattery will get you everywhere in this town, publicists and other star handlers sometimes imitate the styles of their clients. “Sometimes they get lost in it,” says V2V stylist Kim Vo, who’s known for having helped start the straight hair perm craze of the last year.
Producers and directors sometimes change looks as they change projects. A lot also depends on the studio a person works for. Anything goes at DreamWorks, while at Warner Bros., “they’re still in that Brooks Brothers” mode, according to stylist Eric Scott. Paramount is also considered uptight, but with MTV chief Tom Freston now at the helm, hair seems destined for a redo.
Stylists say music people are the most adventurous and can get away with almost anything. Writers are trendier than programmers and D-Girls, preferring vintage ’20s and ’30s hairstyles with clean-cut tailored waves that require less maintenance.
Femmes intent on keeping their locks just so drop by the salon as much as three times a week to get their hair blown out straight or wavy. “We have a lot of BlackBerry action going on in here,” laughs Frederic Fekkai senior stylist Jessica Tingle, who styles ABC Network prexy Anne Sweeney’s hair in a classic do. (Simon Cowell also drops by for trims.)
Now that metrosexuals are out in the open, men are spending as much money as women on their hair — ranging upward from several hundred dollars each week or $2,500 for a full day. Cost is rarely a consideration.
“When you experience the best and you can afford the best, you have the best,” says Barry — “just Barry” — Reitman of Juan Juan in Beverly Hills who once had a Saudi prince fly him solo on the Concorde to style his hair.
Many men regularly get their brows waxed, mannies and peddies (manicures and pedicures for the uninitiated), and laser hair removal on their faces so that their stubble grows in perfectly scruff, in addition to a cut and color.
For balding men, a close cut is replacing the shaved head. Certain male executives show their creativity with a soul patch or goatee, but stylists don’t necessarily recommend that form of facial hair expression.
“It’s all about your stylist being honest with you,” hints makeup artist Gina Veltri.
Antin says he’s bringing back the mullet — in a modified form he describes as “a mullet meets a faux hawk” — prompting a shocked rival stylist to predict it will ruin Antin’s career. His reality show, in any case, is off to a slow start.
There has also been fallout — as in hair literally falling out — from last year’s straight perm craze. The harsh chemicals applied to colored or damaged hair can burn strands off (as it did to “Gilmore Girl” Lauren Graham during the show’s last season), forcing desperate calls to the experts for hair extensions to hide losses.
“I’ve had girls call crying, in tears. Some girls wouldn’t leave the house,” says Scott, whose expertise is extensions. “That whole straight perm thing was a boon to the business. So many people got it, and their hair started falling out.”
More hair is a big trend even for those who haven’t lost their real hair from hairdos gone amok. Paris Hilton, Beyonce and Jessica Simpson all wear extensions, but Tingle warns they can be addictive and cause the opposite effect intended.
Extensions tend to cause the hair to break, thinning it out, requiring even more extensions in a never-ending downward spiral that can send the user into midnight calls to their dealer hitting them up for more. Hilton bobbed her hair earlier this year because of thinning but still uses them.