Join me as we celebrate the exceptional talent of Arlene Martin, one of the lead Hair and Makeup artists represented by The Spin Style Agency. Arlene's creative brilliance has earned her a nomination for Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling at the 2023 Emmys. In this interview, Arlene shares insights and experiences as the Department Head Hairstylist on P-Valley, giving us a glimpse into the artistry behind the show's iconic hairstyles.
Darcie: Arlene, let's start by talking about how you approached the unique hairstyles in P-Valley, considering the show's distinct characters and setting.
Arlene: To capture the essence of each character, I immersed myself in the scripts, blending Katori Hall's direction with my creativity. It was a collaborative process, that resulted in a masterpiece every time.
Darcie: Share with us a memorable or challenging moment during the hairstyling process for P-Valley.
Arlene: Yes, there was a particular moment when we were instructed to produce an ice blonde wig for one of the characters. Ice blonde is one of the hardest colors to achieve in a short amount of time. We proceeded to lift the wig through a coloring process to high blonde (almost white) and the hair just melted off of the wig into the sink. Despite three attempts, we had to opt for a synthetic wig, a humbling experience for this perfectionist.
Darcie: I love how obstacles can spark innovative solutions. Facing challenges sparks creativity and resilience, leading us to find unexpected solutions. I love this virtue in you, Arlene!
Darcie: What trends or techniques did you incorporate to capture the characters' essence?
Arlene: Researching 90s-early 2000s hairstyling in New York, Detroit, and Chicago inspired the avant-garde looks, finger waves, and UpDo styles that defined urban cultural hairstyling. These cities were the originators of urban hype cultural hairstyling.
Darcie: Your dedication to historical accuracy and the urban hype genre truly shines through. The hairstyles became a visual storytelling element in themselves.
Darcie: How do you stay inspired and keep up with the ever-evolving world of hairstyling in the entertainment industry?
Arlene: My artistic gift is innate; inspiration stems from any form of art. Whether a unique hat or abstract art, I can transform it into a wig style. Passion, and my intrinsic gift to create, fuels my continuous growth.
Darcie: Your passion shines through in the artistry you bring to each hairstyle. It's evident that your innate creativity and dedication are key to your success in the ever-evolving world of hairstyling.
Darcie: In the fast-paced world of television production, how do you ensure the continuity of hairstyles across different scenes and episodes?
Arlene: Continuity is very important to every production and it is imperative to have the right key hairstylist on your team. Your key hairstylist is like your second brain. The Key is also in charge of continuity, making sure each actor has the proper hair style for each scene. I am very strategic in choosing the right people on my team.
Darcie: P-Valley has received acclaim for its authentic representation. How did you collaborate with the creative team to ensure the hairstyles reflected the cultural and narrative nuances of the show?
Arlene: I collaborated closely with the production team, receiving directives on wig designs and colors. Subsequently, I engaged with my team daily, providing clear instructions on styling, coloring, and construction. Rigorous research, script references, and open communication were vital elements ensuring the success of our hair department. The seamless coordination within the team, driven by comprehensive information sharing, played a pivotal role in achieving success across all aspects of our work.
Darcie: Any advice for aspiring hairstylists in TV and film?
Arlene: Keep chasing your dreams – they're like flames inside you. Some will fan your passion, making it a blazing fire. Others might try to extinguish that flame. Surround yourself with those who fuel your passion. Your passion for what you do will be your guiding force that will push you. Let your strong drive guide you, even when you're tired or feel like giving up. Your destiny in undeniable so I say run into your destiny.
As we applaud Arlene's exceptional contribution to P-Valley, we eagerly anticipate the outcome of the 2023 Emmys where she is nominated for Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will take place at the Peacock Theater in LA live on January 6th, and the ceremony will air on Fox on January 13th, 2024. Tune in to witness the potential victory of Arlene Martin and the entire P-Valley hair team. Don't miss the chance to be part of this exciting moment in hairstyling history!