As a diligent chronicler of the style on "Girls" -- and frequent commenter on the show's many daring hair looks -- I jumped at the opportunity to attend a "Girls" viewing party this Sunday with the show's lead hair stylist from day one: Sherry Heart. She was joined by surprise guest (and wearer of the show's most OTT hairstyles), Zosia Mamet, a.k.a. Shosh.
Before the event, which involved snacks and drinks, "Girls"-themed hairstyling (I got a side braid), a Q+A with Mamet and a screening of the latest episode, I chatted with Heart about research, making hair accessories a thing and Jessa's incredible locks. Read on for our interview.
How did you end up on "Girls?"
I had a girlfriend who did a pilot and she said, 'Sherry I’ve recommended you for this pilot it’s about four girls,' and I immediately thought, oh, another 'Sex and the City'-type show. They said, 'Well they’re going to be living in Brooklyn and they’re kind of on the hipster edge,' and I thought, oh that’s fun and new. I didn’t think anything on TV had been out like that so we did the pilot and it got picked up.
What kind of research do you do?
Mostly the research I do for the show is just to see what girls are wearing on the streets of Brooklyn. I will take what I see off the street and do my own spin on it. Maybe I’ll see something cool on the runway and tone it down a little bit for 'Girls' because I try to do their hair as if they’d done it themselves, so there’s room for taking things down and making it a little messier and occasionally doing something really quirky.
Are you coming up with and executing all the hairstyles yourself?
All things have been okayed or talked about with me. Sometimes [other hairstylists] help with ideas. Sometimes they come up with a part of a hairdo. It varies. I’m doing all the girls now so basically my key [assistant] does the boys.
That must be fun.
I keep waiting for a spin-off with the boys called 'Boys' with Adam, Ray and Elijah, and maybe you could put Marnie’s boyfriend in there.
It would be the new "Entourage." So speaking of fun hairstyles, Shoshanna has become known for having the most creative hairdos. How have you kept that going now that her hair is short?
Right now she’s trying to get back into the work force so she’s cut her hair off into a bob. She’s trying to tone it down but still has that quirky fashion sense. I’ve always thought of Shoshanna as a character that looked at a lot of magazines and then maybe would see something fun and do her own spin on it. You have to think how you think the character thinks, by what the character says or how she’s dressing. It’s all a big cocktail of many, many different things [that influence] why you would do a character’s hair the way you do it.
I've noticed she's been sporting a lot of hair clips and other accessories.
I thought this season we would tone down the braids to show that [the characters are] evolving and moving on. We did little waves to Shoshanna’s bob and I thought accessories, just really accessorizing, could be the thing this year. The thing with Shoshanna’s hair is she’s got a heavy bang and we don’t want it hanging in her face so we put these really cute clips in the side of her hair to kind of hold it back but add some pop to it. I’ve always liked a lot of accessories, but when I was doing a lot of braiding it’s not like I could put a lot of accessories on top of that. Now that [her hair] is a little bit streamed down we’re doing a lot more accessories.
What about Hannah? She also came into the season with a new cut.
When she came into season four with that, I thought, oh it’s very '20s, like the bang and bob. I thought it suited her character. You just cut it into a style and basically it’s done and she doesn’t even need to really blow dry or anything. I thought it was a great no-nonsense kind of hairdo for her going back to school and just not having a lot of time to do her hair.
And Marnie? I feel like her hair has been looking a little better?
We wave her hair out a lot but I’ve been trying to do different waves for different seasons. I figure she’s trying to get into a music career and I was trying to make it a lot more rock 'n roll, how Marnie would think rock 'n roll is. That’s the thing we always have to do first is say, 'How would this character interpret what they are?' There’s nothing rock 'n roll about Marnie but she’s trying to be with her music career so I decided to do more messy, just-got-out-of-bed waves, but still styled.
How do you do it?
I wrap the hair around the curling iron and I’ll go both directions. I’ll do it back then forward then back and it gives it a little bit of fullness instead of going the same direction.
In general, how does being on the show dictate the actresses' hair and vice versa? Are there any requirements for what they can and can't do?
While they’re on the show they tend to only get trims. Occasionally I will trim it or they’ll go to their hairdresser. They really aren’t allowed to cut it or change color unless the storyline requires it.
They do a lot of things as you’ve probably noticed outside of the season. As soon as they’re done with a season, they’re like running to the colorist. This year, three of them dyed their hair blonde.
When the stars do that, do they consult you first or tell you?
No, with Shoshanna she just kind of cut it off and I didn’t know anything about it because they weren’t working. I saw it and was like, that could be a nice change. I don't mind. I don’t want them all to have short hair, I’d like to have some variety, but yeah I don’t mind that that happens at all.
Has growing out hair ever been an issue? Like with Lena for instance?
Hannah, I always think, doesn’t know how to do her hair at all. I think the bang and the bob is the best example of Hannah getting a really good cut that suits her without her having to do much to it, but when she tries to do her hair it doesn’t always work out so well, so it turns funny. I’ve always thought her haircuts were appropriate for the season that we were doing. You could turn it into something very Hannah or you could dress it up a bit, but it's never been difficult keeping her hair the way it’s supposed to be for that.
And Jessa? She seems like her hair must be a dream to work with.
If I could have just maybe about five of her hairs it would make my hair so thick. She’s got a great head of hair. She’s growing it really, really long right now. She gets these coils and it’s something that’s happened since her last child was born. If you brush that out it creates this really great wave and then I’ll stick a curling iron to it to wave out the other stuff. I love being able to do what I want to her hair because it’s like I’m a painter and she’s a palette.
How much time do you have to determine the hair looks? What kind of preparation can you do?
I have to see clothes. I’ll meet with Lena and the wardrobe designer and see what everybody’s thinking and what direction... I have my ideas but it’s all dependent upon what direction Lena wants to go in. So much in TV is last minute. We might get a script a few days before an episode’s supposed to begin [shooting], so the wardrobe designer is out shopping for clothes and that kind of thing so it’s really hard to plan for. A lot of the stuff we’ve come up with is seeing the clothes that day. We work fast. Those girls, they all look so cute in whatever we do really because they’ve got the youth that just looks good.
Who's the most fun character to do?
I would have to say Jemima now because of all of her hair. There’s so much I can do with it. My favorite [hairstyle] is on Jemima from season two. I crimped her entire head out and I did a half-gibson. It was half up, half down with some chopsticks thrown in.
Have you noticed that styles you've done on the show have become popular on the street?
The whole braiding trend, I felt like we were leading the way for that, especially on TV. I could totally be wrong but I noticed a lot of shows then started doing it afterwards. Then, I started seeing it on the street a lot. I always liked braiding and then I was given a TV show where I could actually do that, so I was just letting loose.