Q&A – Gloria Ponce (Hairstylist)

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Mad Men-inspired ‘dos reigned the catwalk this year, from Jackie flips to mini-beehives. Gloria Ponce, the set’s hairstylist, sat down with AMCtv.com to discuss the confection-like curls and coifs that have viewers at home whispering, “How did they get their hair to do that?”

Q: Two of the final episodes of Season 2 were set in California. Did the location change necessitate different styles?

A: My research showed that California women looked very different from women in New York. New York styles were bigger and more stylized. LA was softer and just a little behind the times, more towards the late ’50s. They all had the same hairstyles — the flips, the pageboys, the French twists and beautiful chignons. The men weren’t so coiffed, and they’d stopped using all that slick gel. They were shaggier, longer, less side-parts. And Palms Springs was more European-influenced. The women were very high society, jet set people. The women had more elaborate chignons and French twists than New York women.

Q: How much did a person’s rank affect his or her hairstyle?

A: A lot, actually. Some of the secretaries are more simple, like
the secretary that Don fired. She came from the telephone pool, and
didn’t know how to cover for Don because she was so naive. We made her
hair a little dated, simple, and conservative. Contrast her with
beautiful, bombshell Christina [Hendricks], with her beautiful red hair
and those very stylish curls. You can also look at the divorcee down
Betty’s street — her hair is in a ponytail, because she’s a mother who
works. She doesn’t have time to perfect January Jones’ coiffure.

Q: A lot of us girls would love to roll out of bed looking like Joan, but it seems like her hair would take hours to perfect.

A: Not really! Get yourself a set of hot rollers and roll up your
entire head. Keep them on for 25 minutes, take them out, put your hair
up in a ponytail and pin the curls to your scalp. It wouldn’t be
exactly like Joan’s, but it would give you a beautiful flavor of her
style.

Q: Is Joan a natural redhead?

A: [Laughs] Yes, she is.

Q: Was it common for women to wear wigs?

A: All the time! That was definitely part of Midge’s character: She
was an artist who explored different types of wigs to make it
interesting for Don while they had an affair. Women also used falls,
which was false hair attached to a comb that women inserted on their
crown of their heads, which is what gave them that characteristic 60′s
bump behind their headbands. You never saw the comb — that was a big
no-no – -but they were very common.

Q: What ’60s grooming rituals would shock modern audiences?

A: The women would go to the salon once a week, and then they would
maintain their hair for six days without shampooing once. At night,
they would stuff their hair with toilet paper and little perm papers,
and pin their bangs with little clippies so they wouldn’t mess up their
styles while they slept. If women couldn’t afford to go to the salon,
they’d put their hair up in pin curls, wrap their heads with a scarf,
put on big sunglasses, and run errands until their hair had set.

Q: What’s the one hair product you can’t live without on set?

A: For women, hairspray. I use two different kinds. With men, I use
gel and strong hairspray. Back in those days, men were constantly
combing back their hair to keep it looking slick and put-together.

Q: How have the hairstyles changed from 1960 to 1962?

A: Betty has transitioned from the tightly curled 1950s hairstyle to
a little more updated hair this season. We put her in headbands and
chignons recently, and her hair is a bit bigger and more stylized
because she’s really coming out in 1962.

Q: Are you excited for mid-60s beehives?

A: Oh my god, yes.

Filed under: Fashion File, Interviews

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