From iconic legends, rock stars and belles of the ball, Ruth Regina has worked with them all. A legend in her field, she is an 8th generation wigmaker who combines old world craftsmanship with modern technology. For the past 50 years, Regina has been actively involved in the film and television industry working with CBS, ABC and NBC since the â50âs, and her stellar career has led to numerous contributions.
She was the Make-up Director and Wig Master for the entire run of the Jackie Gleason Show in Miami Beach. Reginaâs credits also include involvement with film studios the likes of MGM, Columbia and Orion Pictures and productions such as The Bellboy starring Jerry Lewis, Scarface starring Al Pacino and The Feast of the Goat where she designed and made all the hair pieces for Tomas Milian who played Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, to name just a few.
Regina has donned her work on the likes of past Presidents of the United States, supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, and big screen actresses such as Jennifer Lopez, Marisa Tomei and Rosalyn Sanchez. She was also responsible for make-up work on the set of the Miss Universe Pageant for 14 years and coverage of the National Presidential Conventions. Regina was the first woman on the United States East Coast to receive screen credits for her work as a Make-up Artist, thus setting the precedence for other recipients.
As a hobby, Regina designs special hairpieces for manâs and womenâs best friends under her newest venture, Wiggles Dog Wigs, which has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Wendy Williamâs Show, Animal Planet to the Today Show.
| Ruth Regina and David Letterman
I got the chance to ask Regina a few questions about her career. Take a look:
Whatâs your most recent accomplishment?
My most recent Industry recognition took place May 10, 2010 at the Fountain Bleu Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where I received the Innovator Award from Intercoiffure US-Canada, a worldwide prestigious association for hairdressing and beauty.
What kinds of menâs hair pieces have you made that are especially interesting?
I have been actively involved in the film and television industry over the past 50 years working with all the major networks as well as many major motion picture studios. The characters brought to life through the actors I have collaborated withâutilizing hair pieces I designed and createdâhave been quite interesting. Some of these were done throughout the 8-year run of the Jackie Gleason Show, various movies working with Jerry Lewis in the Bellyboy to Al Pacino in Scarface and Striptease with Demi Moore.
For certain occasions, some gentlemen like to emulate the look of a particular celebrity or icon. We have made hair pieces that resemble Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Barack Obama and even Donald Trump.
What was your favorite wig you ever made?
Whenever I am involved in the creative process I am at my happiest. But I must say those closest to my heart are the clients who come to me due to hair loss through health issues. What touches me the most is helping the patients that are more concerned by the loss of their hair than their illnesses.
What kinds of special hair pieces for manâs best friend have you created?
The love of my art and my love for animals made an odd and unique coupling twenty years ago when my niece, Marlana, asked me to make a wig for her basset hound. Years later, I saw the luxurious accessories for animals such as tiaras, necklaces and designer carrying bags becoming popular and I thought, âWhy not dog wigs?!â
I design and manufacture the wigs specifically for canines, keeping their comfort the primary concern while adding a flair of distinctive fashion so appropriate and en vogue with pet parents who go the extra mile when accessorizing their little darlings. I dedicate Wiggles to all my fellow dog lovers and hope they enjoy our wears with a little humor and a lot of heart.
You combine world craftsmanship with modern technology...how do you achieve this?
I integrate the quality of long-standing, tried and true techniques used by the old masters with new, cutting-edge technologies that facilitate the making of a much more light-weight foundation. I also incorporated openings in the wigs so that a clientâs own hair can be integrated and blended in, when possible and appropriate. Clients wearing hair pieces for the purpose of adding volume, length or enhancements with highlights can do so without others being privy to that fact.
Also, long ago, hair pieces and extensions were pinned to the head through the foundation, which could damage it. Now clip on combs, simply referred to as âclip-onsâ, are available and eliminate this problem of the past. The main thing is to make the hair pieces and wigs as light-weight and natural looking as possible while creating endless possibilities in style and color to match the new techniques being applied permanently to hair. This means a client does not have to commit long-term and, in the case of hair thinning, can achieve the fullness and length they desire.
What steps should a hairdresser take if they are thinking about entering the wig making industry?
There may be schools that teach the craft and technique. Fortunately, I was blessed because my parents were in the business and taught me the profession.
| Ruth Regina and Judy Garland
| Regina's hair style on Jennifer Lopez for Elle Magazine.