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HOW TO Break In To Movie Hair With Sacha Quarles

Maggie Mulhern | February 29, 2012 | 3:38 PM
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Sacha Quarles is one of the most sought after lead hairdressers for film. Most recently he was responsible as the department head for Something Borrowed among others. The icing on the cake was when he was given a “card” (the big credit in the beginning of a film) for Wall Street 2…the film where he received plenty of kudos for transforming actress Carey Mulligan… taking her from predictable long tresses to a fresh pixie. “It was perfect for that role,” says Quarles. “It gave the character the edge she needed.”

Men In Black 3 is coming out this spring and Quarles was tapped for the lead, transforming the actors and thousands of extras for this “flashback” film. “That was an exciting challenge,” says Quarles. “Being asked to take so many people with present day hair and bring them back to the 1960’s was a real test for my team and myself.” That team consisted of sometimes up to 45 hair professionals on set and behind the scenes. The Sacha Quarles resume is so much fun to read: stints as key hairstylist for many seasons of the tv hit Sex and the City, personal for Josh Brolin, Robert Deniro, Catherine Zeta Jones, Tom Hanks, Ginnifer Goodwin, Anne Hathaway (it goes on and on) as well as multiple Emmy nominations and awards.

HOW TO Break In To Movie Hair With Sacha Quarles

I have the chance to hang out with Quarles now and again, and whenever I introduce him to a professional hairdresser, he is inevitably asked “How did you get in to this” followed by “How can I get in to this”? We decided to sit down and get it all on this video so that we could just direct everyone to this piece.

Knowing we had just ten minutes, we realized there were too many things we could cover. What we didn’t get to chat about was the number of hours a film hair lead must dedicate to the craft. “It’s important that stylists know that the hair team is the first on the set, and the last one off,” he says. “The hours CAN be crazy.” Quarles points out that a hair lead is usually booked for MONTHS and must live at the film location. “Forget about watering your plants,” he says, “let alone going to your daughter’s ballet recital. This is a great job for someone willing to travel and not locked down in any particular city.” Gia, Quarles’ Brussels Griffon, travels with him wherever he goes. “She fits in right at my feet on the plane,” he says.”She loves staying in the hair department and loves meeting the celebrities.” I’ve visited the trailer with Quarles at Men In Black 3, and it’s Gia who is the star attraction. Move over Will Smith…Gia needs a sip of water.

What we’ve learned is that to even get on a Sacha Quarles team or on any movie is that you need to be a member of the union: On the site, anyone interested will learn about the importance of membership and how to join. To be eligible, you must be 18, licensed and experienced. That is the “Catch-22”. You need to have worked in film, commercials, television or theater to be eligible. However, often you NEED to be a member of the union to get many of these jobs! Quarles recommends looking for the non-union gigs at local news organizations or check into new media/internet opportunities. If you do get in, there is a hefty one time initiation fee of $3,500, but Quarles believes it is worth it. “If you love what you do as I do, it is a wonderful professional that is artistically and financially rewarding. It has been worth every sacrifice I have made to get where I am.” Stay tuned for Men In Black 3, coming out in late May. I know I will tune in…even if it’s just to see the Sacha Quarles designs.

Follow Sacha on Twitter @hairbysacha

Check out Gia and her celebrity friends!

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