So you’ve booked stand-in work, and you know you match the hair color of the actress. But how will her hair be styled?

Some actresses always wear their hair styled in the same exact way. But for other actresses, their hairstyles change depending on the scene. And you may stand in on a project for two or more actresses with different hair types and hairstyles!

On some sets, DPs and camera operators are not very strict about the appearance of the stand-in. But on other sets, they can be very particular about appearance–from color cover to high heels, hair color shades to hairstyles, etc.  While you may not feel that matching your hair is necessary for some sets, for the sets that are more meticulous about their stand-ins, it is best if you can imitate the hairstyle of the actress for lighting purposes and camera setups.

So what aspects of hairstyling should you consider while standing in day-to-day?

Note:
These tips are for working  day-to-day with your current hairstyle to imitate the style of the hair of the actress you will be standing in for. For more tips and information about changing your current style to match your hair to an actress for a stand-in gig, see “Stand-in Hair for Women: Changing Your Hair for Stand-in Work.”

Hair Length

If the actress has short hair (above the chin as in a bob cut, pixie cut, etc.), hair length may be an important consideration when booking a stand-in.

If you have much longer hair than the actress you are standing in for, your hair length is something the DP will have to keep in mind when lighting you.  When you have long hair, the DP may look at how it falls across your shoulders, how far it falls down your back, etc. This can change how they set up the lighting, especially with lighter hair.

If casting got the OK to book you, then your hair length should not be an issue on set. Just make sure your pictures are up-to-date and you are not being booked off an old headshot when you had a much different hair style.

Bangs

Bangs can make a difference with lighting too. I stand in regularly for an actress who currently has long, sweeping bangs across her forehead. Last week on set, I heard the DP mention how he wanted a particular light set, saying it will look different on the actress compared to me because she has bangs and I do not. This was a difference between the hairstyles of the actress and me that the DP had to keep in mind; I have never been asked to cut my hair to match hers.

On the other hand, if you do have large bangs that cover most of your forehead, you may want to consider pinning them back or to the side if you are standing in for an actress without bangs.

Hair Framing Your Face

As I mentioned above, bangs can make a difference for lighting. The light interacts differently with hair than it does skin, whether it is bouncing off of it or absorbing it. So you should also think about how your hair frames your face compared to the hairstyle of the actress you are standing in for.

It may seem like an insignificant detail, but how your hair frames your face can make a difference if your hair is falling by the sides of your face or is pulled back away from your face.  On a long term stand-in job, I saw the DP repeatedly come up to another woman I was standing in with and tuck her hair back behind her ears. It was always done in a friendly manner, but it made me realize how much this small change you may not think matters can be important for lighting purposes.

Ponytails and Up-dos

You may arrive on set and find out that the actress you are standing in for that day will be wearing her hair pulled back or in an up-do. It is a good idea for you to pull your hair back too.  Your hair doesn’t have to look just like the actress’s, but it should mimic the general style of her up-do (pony tail high or low, bun high or low, or half-up half-down).

Also note if her hair is completely pulled away from her face and/or off of her neck. Keep a few hair elastics, bobby pins, and clips in your bag when you go to set so you’ll be ready for anything!

Do you have any thoughts on how your hair should be styled while standing in? Do you have any experiences or tips to share? If so, please comment below!