A Conversation with

Camille Friend-Soto

If you've admired the period-perfect coifs of the ladies in The Help or wondered about Sam's bright white hair in Django Unchained, you have Camille Friend-Soto to thank. The hairstylist has teamed with Hollywood bigwigs like Quentin Tarantino to create classic silver screen looks. She took some time away from her current work on Captain America 2: Freezer Burn to gab about her on-set experiences and dish on her secret for warding off humidity-induced frizz. Hint: It involves an Oribe product.

How did you get into the business?
I come from a family of hairdressers, so hairdressing is in my blood. It's what I've always wanted to do. When I was a little kid, my grandma used to show me how to click the curling iron.

How did you start working on films?
Honestly, I fell into it. I'm from Tempe, Arizona, and when I came to L.A., I was working with a hairdresser from New York. One day, somebody called me to work on a movie卆nd that was it. The first movie that I got to do was A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996).

What was that experience like?
Scary. It was fish-out-of-water syndrome. I was really fortunate that I went to do the movie with people that I knew. I learned about cutting, I learned about wigs, I learned about big diva movie stars. It was really a great experience.

How is working on set different from setting up shop in a salon?
Film is different from the salon because a lot of times you're recreating a time period or an atmosphere, and you have a lot of people to answer to. You have the client, the studio, the director, the producers厃ou have to be very flexible. I tell people who are trying to get into the biz a few things. I say know your craft really well. Be good at everything: hair color, styling, barbering. Be good at all of it so when you come in to do something, you're an asset and people will always see that. And don't focus on the money; focus on being excellent and doing hair to the best of your ability. The money comes, but you just have to work at it.

What was it like to work with Quentin Tarantino on Django?
The opportunity to work with Quentin Tarantino was one of the best experiences I've ever had. He is truly an artist. He's so smart, and he loves the process of filmmaking, as I do. It was so great to have someone who really cared about the process and how it all looked. When we were testing for Sam's old-age look, we camera-tested about seven times. Usually we only get to do it one, maybe two, times. Quentin allowed us the time to develop the look, and it was always him encouraging us to keep going and to do a great job. He's a cheerleader for hair and makeup.

What about working on The Help梙ow fun was that?
Again, it was a great experience. All the ladies were absolutely lovely. It was great going to the South桰 love big hair and I love period hair. Taking those characters from the book and really creating a whole look for each lady that was totally different was a lot of fun. Take the looks of Emma [Stone] (Skeeter), for example. In the book, she had this hair that was out of control. This is a fine line when you're doing film. We could have done it where it looked like an SNL character. But we couldn't do really crazy hair; we had to find the fine line between representing the hair and creating a look that people would want to watch for two hours.

Nearly all of the stars have blown up since then. Has that been exciting for you?
It is really exciting to see everybody's careers take off. It was really a proud moment when Octavia [Spencer] won the Oscar. I did her hair, and she gave me a shout-out on the red carpet. It was just amazing. So many people called me. You don't get many times that an actress actually says your name!

What are some of your favorite Oribe products?
I love Oribe products. I love the presentation. I love things that look beautiful. They're high-end, they're classy and the products do what they say they're going to do. I cannot get enough of the Dry Texturizing Spray. I love it. You can spray it on all different hair types, and you get instant movement. That's one of my favorites.

Have you used Oribe products on set?
I'm a big proponent of Imperm閍ble. We started using that on The Help. We were in Greensboro, Mississippi; that heat is extreme. With humidity, part of the trick is not allowing the hair to be too dry. If it's too dry, it absorbs all the moisture in the air. My trick is to add some moisture and then lock it in with the hairspray. I also liked using Supershine Moisturizing Cream.

What are you working on right now?
I am working on Captain America 2卆nd that抯 all I can tell you. Honestly, I can抰 talk about it梚t抯 Marvel!

What's next for you?
I love doing education, and I love teaching people. There are so many things梕specially with what we do in film梩hat people don't know. That's something I would like to explore.

-- MOLLY FERGUS

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