The Series Regulars was very happy to connect with Jerilynn stephens, the head of the hairdressing department for NBC’s The voice and HBO Max Legendary; She and her team have been nominated for both shows in the Mixed Hairstyle category (she has had 10 Emmy nominations to date!). Her accomplishments speak for themselves and if you’ve seen either of these shows you know how amazing she is at her job. -some of the looks in Legendary are EPIC!
Check out our conversation below!
How did you get into this particular field?
Honestly, I met someone who changed my career forever! By meeting a hairdresser and two makeup artists; at the time i was a great asset in the unorganized world and for them to hire as i was in charge of both hairstyling and makeup. They took a chance on me and hired me on their projects. My first big break was the Hallmark movies and The Swan, a reality TV makeover show. This is where I fell in love with reality shows and the rest, as they say, is history!
What is the workflow between makeup and hairstyle for the variety shows you are working on, The voice and Legendary, especially when you are dealing with so many applicants?
Logistically, we always work from an organization chart with Legendary. It was much easier for our hairstylists to keep track of what we were doing with each house and candidate with the theme and hairstyles. The only way to do it is to have a schedule, so people know how much time they spend with each department. Anything beyond this time is a blessing!
Our collaboration between hair, makeup and wardrobe is so essential in making an artist anything, or who he wants to be. Usually we listen to the artist and how he wants his character on stage to be displayed; then all the departments rely on the creativity of each other. The Legendary Pop-Tart episode is a good example. It started with the creative input of the Maisons, then continued through to the wardrobe, hairstyle and make-up. Together we all built their amazing vision and helped bring it to life for the stage.
How did you approach the challenges with COVID-19? What kinds of changes did you have to make and how did you collaborate / innovate to do your job?
For The voice, we started in July 2020 and we were one of the first competition shows to resume filming with a large number of contestants. We have taken COVID security protocols very seriously. We were tested three times a week, wearing barber jackets, a KN95 mask, a surgical mask on top and a shield or goggles over our eyes. We disinfected with a 70% alcohol spray between each person. Also, for this show, we couldn’t spend more than 10 minutes with someone in our chair. I had to think outside the box to make it possible for us to get the looks we wanted for the live shows. I therefore obtained permission to move the candidate from one chair to another without exceeding our 10 minute rule which was legally required. Our hair and makeup rooms looked like a scene from Dexter! (laughs) There is a video that Stacey Morris, Amber Maher and I shared with our 706 local (guild) hairstylists and makeup artists that shows exactly this procedure that we created.
For HBO Legendary, it was a different process to create the looks. We had the same COVID security protocols except for the lack of time constraints. We were able to achieve all of our looks and everyone stayed healthy!
Congratulations on the Emmy nomination! How does it feel to be nominated again?
Each appointment is a blessing and an honor. This year in particular, it was more amazing to be able to get two appointments as Head of Hairdressing Department, especially with all the new safety challenges we faced. As a department head, my goal is always to embrace diversity and empower the artists who stand by my side. This always results in our best work. Bigger and better than we ever imagined. So these Emmy nominations mean a lot.
The Voice and Legendary are both great examples of how the job is as good as your team, and I’m so lucky to have the best team of amazingly talented hairstylists by my side in these nominations. Each creative was chosen because of their talent and the skill they brought every day. I am so proud of the work we have all accomplished together.
Legendary is a very special show and represents so much, how does it feel to be nominated for your work on this particular show?
I am most proud of this nomination. It was the ultimate show for us as creative hairstylists. It also means a lot to me as it fully embraces diversity and has a representation of talent on screen all the way down to those working behind the scenes.
The job we did was exceptional and we all had to think outside the box. I loved working with the candidates and helping bring their visions to life. It really is a highlight of my creative career in this industry.
What types of series / films would you like to work on but haven’t had the chance to do?
When my son finished high school and went to college, I would love to make great movies. I’m a storyteller and I love what I do, so I would work on any genre. For me, it’s all about the characters and the story that we try to tell as creatives.
What does a typical day on the set look like for you?
Every day is somewhat different, so it is difficult to explain what a “typical” day looks like. As a manager, I have to make sure everyone has what they need to be successful, and that includes making sure everyone has the information and supplies to do what we’re all trying to achieve. to accomplish collectively. There’s a lot of “Jerilynn, can you watch this?” or “Jerilynn, can you come over here?” ” (Laughs).
The voice and Legendary are both performance-based shows – how do you factor in things like sweating and travel for hair and makeup?
Sweating for Legendary was very different because we were working with wigs. At Legendary, we danced, freaked out, spun, and in addition it’s live to tape, so there are no redos! Our team talked about different ways we could try to keep the wigs on, especially on people with little or no hair. The answer: ACE Bandage has become our best friend! And we’ve tried different methods and ideas like this, going outside the box and being super resourceful, to make it work.
What is your creative process when creating looks for candidates?
It’s a big collaboration. We not only speak with the talent of their vision, but we also have other departments like wardrobe and makeup, and even sometimes producers and networks, come in to put the whole look together!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I take a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram and the catwalks. I am inspired by what I see on a daily basis from people, peers, friends, family, colleagues!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love everything about him! I like to be a team leader; I like being able to turn someone into a star; and most of all, I love being part of someone’s journey and helping them become what they want to be on stage or in front of the camera. It’s all very fun!
Any advice for aspiring hairdressers?
The five “F” words to manifest your life! Figure outside what you want is number one. Then you need To concentrate above; where your concentration goes, your energy flows! Three: Intrepid Actions. The universe knows you are serious when you take action. To feel it already exists, it is already yours. And Faith, trust and know that it will happen. I talk more about it in my book.
To learn more about Jerilynn Stephens’ work as a hairstylist and life coach, check out her website by clicking here.