As many of you regular readers know, I have a small obsession with reality TV shows relating to beauty and fashion. Of all the shows I watch, however, I consider America's Next Top Model to be my guiltiest pleasure (please don't judge me for my weakness for cheesiness and catfights!). The show is known for its bizarre, over-the-top makeovers and fashion shootsâ€”many of them involving crazy hairâ€”so I was thrilled to be able to chat with the show's head stylist, Christian Marc, and get some behind-the-scenes info on how each 'do is conceived. Christian, who has a background in fashion, has been working on the show since Season 5 (we're now on Season 12). He's in charge of the hair for every shoot, and he meets with the producers, including Tyra, and his staff before each one to plan out exactly how the hair will complement the concept. "It can either be very creative or very simple," he told me, adding that for TV purposes, he often has to push the envelope and make the hair very theatrical.
My favorite episode of each season is the makeover episode. Being a little gun shy about change myself, I get a weird pleasure out of seeing the models squirm as their
hair is chopped off or bleached or given extensions. Christian told me that he meets with Tyra a few times before they do the makeovers to show her examples of what he wants to do and collaborate on ideas. "It takes a while to create each look," he says, "but it's fun to make over the girls and give them a huge transformation." Since the episodes are generally filmed in a high-profile salon, Christian says that the most difficult thing can be explaining his vision to the various stylists and colorists who will be working on the models. When I asked about the models' reactions, he said, "The girls don't have a choice, and hair is very difficult to part with, so many of them have a hard time. They get more comfortable with their new looks in time, though." When I asked for inside dish, he told me that this season, Fo (my current favorite) took two or three weeks to get over her hair being chopped off. So what about the makeovers gone wrong? "Sometimes I regret my choices, but you have to take risks," Christian said, adding that he can touch-up styles between episodes or make tweaks as needed. In my opinion, sometimes it's those risky styles that can really make the model stand out.
When we were done chatting about the show, Christian also filled me in on some other projects he's working on, including a pilot for another makeover show with the two Jays from ANTM and a styling school he's opening in LA with a session stylist from Paris. The courses will give tips for shoots, including working with shape, texture, updos and extentions, to people in the industry who want to learn more about styling. Stay tuned for more details on that ...