SAN FRANCISCO —
As Hollywood gets ready for the 91st Academy Awards, the people behind-the-scenes who make some of the biggest movies possible are also getting ready– in San Francisco.
This includes a hairstylist to the stars and her unexpected connection to the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.
Tucked covertly away in a tiny alleyway in San Francisco’s Sunset District…an understated salon with some pretty big star-power. At one styling chair, a woman with bright red hair and bold lipstick is Mena Meade, a colorist and stylist for 21-years. While she herself may not be famous, plenty of her clients are.
Mena rattles off a few names as she applies color to a client’s hair.
“Trent Reznor, Ashley Graham, Chris Rice, Anne Rice…”
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Mena lives in San Francisco, but has been hired to style hair for various Oscars events in Hollywood for the past several years. This year, she will be back at one of the buzziest events of awards season: the Vanity Fair party.
“I’m not sure exactly who I’m going to be doing, it’s always a surprise, when I get there so we shall see! This should be pretty exciting!” beams Mena.
An agent first landed her the Oscars gig-and now had clients around the globe through word of mouth. Because of the number of stars-and the time crunch, things can get a little hectic.
“It’s crazy! It’s exciting and nerve-wracking, it fun and exhilarating! All of those things combined into a handful of hours.”
As luck would have it– the woman sitting in Mena’s chair today, getting her hair styled for the Art Director’s Guild Awards also has an Oscars connection. Her husband Aaron Haye is production designer for the Oscar nominated film Bohemian Rhapsody.
While not nominated for an Oscar himself, he was recently nominated for an Art Director’s Guild Award for his work on the movie. His job: to painstakingly re-creating every scene to make it as true-to-life as possible.
“The goal is to make the actors believe it and feel like they’re in a place so they can completely inhabit the role,” said Aaron.
This labor-intensive process took a team of about 150 people 7 months to recreate the 10-to-15 year time period of the film in London. They also had help from members of the band.
“They would come to the site and comment on just how bizarre it was to have their life reenacted before them! It was wonderful to have their input and I’m immensely proud of this film. I think we all are.,” says Aaron as he watches his wife’s color transformation.
Both Aaron and Mena are also proud of something else. Representing San Francisco on one of the most important nights in Hollywood.
“There’s talent around California not just SoCal!”
Aaron just wrapped up the latest Charlie’s Angel’s film in Turkey and Mena will be styling my own hair the morning of the Oscars. To watch the entire process on livetream, visit www.facebook.com/DionLimTV
Don’t miss the Oscars LIVE on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT on ABC.
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