Yiran was speechless when he saw himself in the mirror. What gave you the idea for his bold new hair do and style?
Yiran immediately had Eurasian cool. I felt that he could take a major makeover stylistically that discarded the boy-cobwebs and was a really hip and relevant look that you might find in fashion magazines or the streets of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney or Melbourne. The clanger was that I had just come back from New York City and seen that look and loved it! It was in a store where I went to get my last minute bits for filming Beauty and the Geek and out he came, a fabulous, confident, striking guy who was taking care of the section I was in. He had that hair colour and I thought to myself that look has transcended the runways and now is relevant, filtered through street trend. Often that is how these things get endorsed. A new approach, interestingly enough the synergy of time and place came together in this way.
Rich’s transformation was incredible. The girls were blown away! What where your first impressions of him and what was your vision his new style?My first impression was that there was a certain ruggedness that comes with masculinity and then that crosses the line and it becomes perhaps a little bit unkempt. By that I mean that the five minutes it normally takes to get ready in the morning I honestly didn’t think was a priority for Rich. The looks inspiration is boy-band, girl-magnet sensation One Direction. It doesn’t mean that the goal was to try to be a carbon copy of that look but it’s that hip, British, eclectic, tightly fitted yet masculine look. When I first saw him I realised that there was confidence potentially blossoming. I had hoped that his frame would be able to carry the look and of course there is always that moment of OMG! what if this goes horribly wrong, but it is always important to go with your first instinct and his smile and posture said it all. The young ladies who he would be interested in attracting got the message loud and clear.
Jason is such a quirky and interesting character with a great love of the ‘70’s look, how did you approach his makeover?
I think that tall slim guys feel that somehow they need to bulk up and this is exactly what they shouldn’t do. I said to Jason “stand tall, don’t try and reach down to people let people reach up to you.” Once I reminded him of that he embraced that quirky, skinny, striking young man with a plausible look that was pure funk and soulful. Once his hair was cut his body language changed. He straightened up then the clothing and how it fell on his physique became a whole new fit. I was so hugely proud he understood about not trying to hide. If you’re a man or woman with extra height, be tall and be proud because that confidence is what is sexy and it is obvious. I really believe that he received that message loud and clear.
Chard’s look was quite edgy and very different from the other Geeks, what was your intention with his style?
Each look was really quite pronounced in its own way and very strong and defined for the rising stature of each of the gentlemen I was working on. We wanted to go post James Dean and obviously masculine for Chard and let him embrace that there are many ways to address individuality other than statements of hirsuteness. I don’t know many men that don’t like a leather jacket, slogan t-shirt and tight jeans but it doesn’t suit everybody. However I felt Chard’s physique could carry it – a mainstream male fantasy. Fortunately the fantasy became his reality and he identified with it.Was it difficult to convince any of our Geeks to lose their facial hair?
I am not here to convince anyone to do anything, I am here to say this is what I believe, that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to move away from what you know. If what you have been doing is not necessarily working why don’t you give this a try?
Do you think a lot Australian men are afraid of man-scaping?
I think man-scaping is a horrible word. It’s used to try and intimidate, it’s tongue in cheek and I don’t get it. It would appear that there’s a current trend for guys to have the option of grooming hair in places that might look unwieldy. It’s definitely a current fashion and clothing definitely supports that look. Apparently a lot of women love it but to me its not man-scaping that I am so focused on. It’s not feminine to want to take 5 minutes in doing what a guy feels he needs to do to look kempt.
Was there a Geek who you enjoyed working with the most this season?
Now you know that I am not one for favourites. To me that is a sign of a certain level of professionalism. Without trying to sound like maple syrup, there are things about people that somehow I can relate to more readily than others, but I always remember it takes some people longer to unfurl than others. I make sure that each of the geeks commands equal respect.
Was there a Geek this year that needed the most help in terms of their style?I don’t know, I think that is really in the eye of the beholder. People do ask me if these guys are ready to take quite drastic changes to what they came from during and after the show, is it pre rehearsed, do you tell them what is happening etc. The answer is that what is presented are some seriously challenged gentlemen who definitely seem to have lost touch with the balance of life. So quite honestly there is no such thing as one arbiter of this issue. It’s more about the approach, the attitude and making the changes happen quickly, which is what this show is all about.