For our Stargazing column in the May issue, we spoke with Hair Department Head Frank Barbosa about the looks he created for New Line Cinema’s and Village Roadshow Pictures’ Sex and the City 2, a Warner Bros. Pictures release launching in theaters this month. (Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are reunited in the film, traveling to a desert paradise for a much-needed vacation.) Here, Barbosa, who is co-owner of Frank Antonio Hair and Makeup in Newport, RI, shares more behind-the-scenes details about working on set, and offers advice for hairstylists who are looking to break into film work.
Q: What was the inspiration for the hair looks in Sex and the City 2?
A: We worked hand-in-hand with Patricia Fields, the costume designer, and we married everything together. We did a lot of Halston-inspired hair where we had to use a lot of wigs, and we collaborated with the director, as well. The director had this vision; he wanted it to be very old-Hollywood-meets-new-Hollywood. He watched a lot of old films and got inspired.
Q: Did you do anything specific to distinguish the characters from each other with respect to their hair looks?
A. Everyone had their own style and their own look in this film. We really set Kim Cattrall [Samantha] apart this time. She has a lot more going on in the film than she did in the first film, so she has a lot of looks that she goes through. And Cynthia changed her hair several times in the film. We got to put a wave in it this time, which she really liked. I also used haircolor to differentiate everyone from each other, not just the main character girls but also other girls who they had to interact with in the film. We didn’t want any two girls to look alike on camera.
Q: What was your most memorable experience working on the set of Sex and the City 2?
A: My most memorable experience on the film was working with Liza Minnelli. She’s such an icon and she has this huge scene in the movie. She does her own hair and makeup —she’s always done her own hair and makeup all her career. She had two dancers with her and she sent them to my truck and had her guy ask me to touch them up to look like her. He brought me a photo and I did them to look like her. When they got to the set she thought they looked so amazing. I think that’s when she trusted me and said, “Can you call that hair boy back over here?” And ever since, I was backstage with her for the next few days helping her out. It was pretty amazing. She was really great and down-to-earth.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for other hairstylists who may be interested in working in the film industry?
A: If you’re really interested in getting into the industry you just have to apply yourself by apprenticing under people. I think the best way to get into the entertainment industry is to start off in the theater. That’s how I started, and that’s how a lot of us start, because it gives you the knowledge of period hair. I think it’s a good thing to come to this industry from behind the chair in the salon, so you know color and a lot of technical things that have to be done to the hair like texturizing. A lot of film stylists have send their actors to the salon to get prepped with a color or a texturizing service, but if you’re coming from behind the chair you have such an advantage over anyone else. It saves the director both time and money if you can do it all.
Photo credit (movie stills): Craig Blankenhorn