If anyone knows how to get the right shade of red for black hair, it’s Camille Friend. The Oscar-nominated head of hair, whose credits include “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” experimented with adding color to Lupita Nyong’o’s hair, and now she’s doing it again. This time, it was for Halle Bailey in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” But doing so didn’t come cheap.
My challenge was to take Disney’s most iconic redhead, Princess Ariel, and create a look for Billy that would work. Moreover, maintaining Bailey’s natural hair was an important requirement that she had to fulfill.
A longtime gymnast, Bailey wanted to stay true to her black heritage. And keeping her wig-free would herald an important moment for Billy’s acting and identity, as the film introduces Disney’s first Black Ariel (and the first black princess in a live-action film).
talk with diverse, The friend says it started with Bailey’s roots. “I went to meet Haley’s family. Her mother is spiritual and they are a good family.” “I’m starting to understand who she is and why it’s important to keep the natural hair element in,” she adds.
Disney and director Rob Marshall had no qualms.
Once a friend had approval and understood this, the creation process began. “I look at the shape of the face, the color of the skin, the color of the eyes. And what color her costume will be.”
His friend was determined not to cut any of Billy’s natural hair or use a wig. “I knew a wig wouldn’t work,” she says.
Friend’s dilemma was creating the iconic red-haired princess look without cutting Billy’s quarters. The wrapping process took 12 to 14 hours. She says that Billy was a “soldier”, and that his friend had cut the process down to a reasonable time. She says, “Haley places it down to her waist, more than 24 inches. And putting it in a wig would look crazy.”
She returned to play with the red. “If we take the hair and wrap it around her places, we don’t have to cut it and we don’t have to color it. We can change her color without changing her inner hair structure. Her structure and her hair is who she is,” says Friend of her thought process.
The 30 inch long hair was colored and fused with keratin tips. “It’s three shades of red,” says Friend, who found the hair at Extensions Plus in Chatsworth. “I don’t make guesses, but we probably spent at least $150,000 because we had to take it back and remove it. You can’t use it and we have to start over. It was a process.”
Once she figured it out, she had to deal with the water elemental. “Locs don’t float,” says a friend. And the hair needed to “dance” when Ariel was under the water. solve it? Add loose pieces of hair.
When Ariel lost her voice and transitioned into a human, Friend changed her hair slightly, to show Ariel’s weakness. “She doesn’t know what it means to be human.”
The hair was straighter with a slight beachy wave. A friend says she used a GHD elliptical iron. “I still want to feel like an ocean wave.”
As for Ariel’s hair flip when she got out of the water, Friend wasn’t prepared for that — coronavirus and scheduling conflicts kept her from completing the movie. “Tiffany Williams jumped in there and took the movie the rest of the way… That’s what I know, Haley did the hair flip, and it was helped with CGI.”
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