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The Price of a Paycheck

January 21, 2013

We all do it. We all make big sacrifices for small paychecks. I am amazed at how the small voice of self-worth and reason inside my head  often becomes stifled when I’m faced with an opportunity to make a little money.

A few weeks ago I was called in for a day’s work on a little show you may have heard of… Mad Men? Truth be told I don’t watch the show, but I always oogle at the costumes and hair when I see commercials or publicity photos. They called me in because I had short hair in my headshot on file and I matched the size requirements for costumes. A few days later I went to a scheduled fitting, still a week out from our day of on-site shooting. This is one of my favorite things I’ve done in Los Angeles tv/film work. I was a human paper-doll, standing in my undies as two costume girls filled my dressing room with different 1967-era outfits and dressed and undressed me. Not only were all the costumes, accessories, and shoes vintage, I even had vintage underwear they had me wear under my clothing! Mad Men’s award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant sat in on most of my fitting, and picked my final looks for the shoot day. Very very fun. In another life I would love to be a costume designer or even assistant. There is something so delicious about piecing together period looks.

After wardrobe approved me I was escorted to the hair and make up trailer. The hair stylist took a picture of me on her iPhone and sent it to whoever was in charge of hair for the show, and then waited for a response telling her how my hair needed to be styled. Apparently my hair was not the same as it was from my picture on file because the hair-lady wanted it chopped off. They told me it was my call – I could get a haircut then, and work the single day on the show. Or I could keep my hair, that I had been trying to grow out for the last 5 months, and not work. They also didn’t like my modern, so-cal blonde highlights, and said I would need to dye my hair a solid blonde to cover them if I wanted to work on the show. Maybe I should have thought about it; maybe a lot of other girls would have kindly turned down the offer and walked away, but GOSH DARN IT I’M A SUCKER and I said “screw it, let’s go!” and chop-chop went the 2.5 inches of beautiful hair growth I had worked so hard for. That night I stopped by the beauty supply store for hair dye, and said bye-bye to my expensive highlights (I guess they needed to be redone anyways..). Another girl came into the trailer shortly after I did and had a freak-out right before the stylist started cutting her hair. Needless to say she did not work on set next week because she wasn’t willing to get the haircut.

Turns out that almost every single girl working on set that next week (there were at least 25 of us) went thru the same traumatic hair-cutting experience. And honestly it was worth it because the Mad Men set is truly magical; a lovely crew, kind cast members, and the attention to historical detail is INSANE! But the experience made me think about what other things I would be willing to do for just a single day’s work. Or maybe a week or month’s work… Have you ever changed your appearance or made an expensive purchase or taken a long journey for something that seemed small to other people? These are the choices that make us artists. The dedication to our craft that separates the dreamers and the doers.

And now, please enjoy a sneak peek at the haircut,  the awesome hairstyle and the perfect 60’s makeup from my day on set!


And please! I want to hear about sacrifices you’ve made. Comment below!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. The College Theatre Dork permalink
    January 21, 2013 6:14 pm

    You look great! My one and only experience with changing my hair for a show didn’t look so good…in the future, I’ll remember not to dye my hair black or get a tan.

    But for money? Is something I’m seriously contemplating right now. To work for a theatre this summer, getting a paycheck (!) or to take an unpaid internship that will allow me to study acting?

    • California Triple-Threat permalink
      January 23, 2013 10:45 pm

      If it was a school show then I would be timid to trust someone else’s decision on my hair!
      Hmm… can you still learn from your (paying) job? Decision time!

  2. The Growing Artist permalink
    January 22, 2013 12:45 am

    Loving the new ‘do! I have definitely experienced this before. I had worked on a film, and the hairstylist wanted to cut and highlight my hair. I didn’t want to do it at first, but I agreed to it. The hairstylist said she was only going to cut 2” max off my hair…. Well, she ended up taking off 4-5”, and the highlights didn’t look natural at all. I was really upset at first (though I didn’t show it). I too had been working really hard to grow my hair out, and it was hard to see my efforts go to waste. I eventually got over it. Luckily, it was during the summer- so I just tried to think of it as a free summer ‘do! Not sure how eager I would be to go though that again. I guess I would have to analyze the situation and see if the job was worth it.

    • California Triple-Threat permalink
      January 23, 2013 10:43 pm

      Oh gosh, your hair experience sounds so much more traumatic than mine! Yeah, I don’t think this is something a person can do that often, but occasionally it can be fun. 🙂 My hair is starting to grow out again quite nicely.

  3. Angela permalink
    February 3, 2013 7:43 pm

    I had ten inches cut off of my hair for Pan Am. So glad that I did! So much fun.

    • California Triple-Threat permalink
      February 3, 2013 9:10 pm

      Yikes! That’s a huge change! I’m glad you were happy with your decision. 🙂 I used to read your blogs on, do you still blog there?

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