Which is a more employable hair colour - Blonde or Brown????

  • User Deleted

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    I just wanted to know from any ladies whom have toyed around with their hair colour,which one makes you more employable??? Please state why!

    • 8th Jan 2009
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  • Andrew Lawden

    Actor

    the two most employable colours are ;-

    talent

    and

    hard work !

    xxx

    • 6th Jan 2009
    • 1
  • Morna Young

    Actor

    I was told that more castings ask for brunettes... blondes tend to be more labled like "the blonde bombshell", "blonde surfer girl" - don't know how true that is but..?! I considered colouring mine but really don't think it would suit me! xx

    xx Morna

    • 6th Jan 2009
    • 2
  • User Deleted

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    I was encouraged by my Agent to dye my platinum blonde hair back to it's natural brunette and it definately started to get me seen again for work. In the UK brunettes do seem to be required for more roles, especially dramatic, leading or challenging roles as opposed to blondes, which is a silly cliche and totally unfair to blondes but I'm glad I went dark again in the end.

    • 7th Jan 2009
    • 3
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    not really going from dark to blonde is a long process and bloody expensive!

    • 7th Jan 2009
    • 4
  • User Deleted

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    Yes, for women with long hair it is also incredibly damaging to keep switching. I say stay brunette but be willing to go lighter for a role (or cut it all off as I once had to!) But then you have to expect Casting Directors to have the vision to be able to see you as a blonde or brunette... which they often can't... but that is another subject entirely.

    • 7th Jan 2009
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  • User Deleted

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    I am naturally blonde so I dont think any other colour would suit me so I am sticking with blonde, however I have often worried this is hindering me. A friend of mine is also an actor and she was blonde and changed to red for a role. Since changing she has got a lot more work. Now whether this is because she changed the hair for a pretty decent lead role in a well circulated feature film and the high profile of the production has helped her career or the hair has helped I couldn't say but I know one thing, she hasnt gone back to blonde!

    xxx

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 6
  • Cheska Hill-Wood

    Actor

    What's wrong with red?

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 7
  • User Deleted

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    I think red hair is lovely, my sister is a redhead incidentaly, however as Red is a less common/more special hair colour is that cutting yourself out of castings too?

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 8
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, two (analytical!) thoughts:

    1. In terms of the general population, it seems probable to me that a majority of people in this country have hair that is standard blonde, mousey brown or brunette. Black hair is marginally less common; red hair is invariably less common (because it is less common genetically); strawberry blonde hair is pretty uncommon. This is just to do with the genetic origins of the population as a whole; in different European countries, you would find different proportions in the ascendant - in most Meditteranean nations, for instance, being black haired is the default, and being blonde is pretty rare. This situation tends to cut both ways; it can be the case that, because a colouring is common, you are far more likely as an actor to face heightened competition from others who are very like you in superficial appearance - I believe that's it's generally felt (with what justification, I'm not sure) there is nothing that the (British) industry is more overinundated with than blonde haired, blue eyed, 20 something young women. From this perspective, being, say, a redhead can be of great benefit because it helps you to stand out from the crowd. But this can be a double edged sword - it is also more likely that casting directors will cast 'conventionally' in 75% of situations, and this often means going for 'representational types', unless a character is meant to be extraordinary. In this country, that probably means that most 'everyman/everywoman' parts will go to blonde haired or brunette performers, because having black or red hair is seen as immediately distinctive. I myself have fairly non-committal brown hair (although it shades into ginger and blonde, so I can safely say it's actually multi-coloured :) ), but thanks to genetics, I do possess what they call in the trade an 'interesting' face (i.e. one that looks not remotely British) and my casting works in exactly the same way - I am not thought of as an 'everyman' actor because I don't look like the majority of people who live and work in this country. It might be a different story in a different country.

    2. There is (however we sometimes pretend otherwise) a set of specific characteristics that we associate culturally with certain colours, and hair colour and eye colour do come into this, because we judge characteristics in a story partly on the basis of what the character looks like. Blonde hair is a light colour (as is light brown), and also (as I said above) these are common hair colours for Brits to possess. They seem to connote a certain amount of 'innocence', and an 'everyman' quality - and a large number of heroic characters or victims are cast from among those who have hair of this colour. Black hair, or gingery hair, frequently seems to be felt of as more villainous (I am often told I look villainous because of hair and eye colour) and is felt to be more 'foreign' to British eyes. Ironically, if you have strawberry blonde type hair, you can often be cast as ice-cold and merciless type characters as well. Red hair is cliched as being the mark of a 'feisty' and 'fiery' character. It shouldn't be thought that I'm suggesting that any of these characterisations are remotely accurate, but that people do work on the basis of casting according to 'storybook' characteristics (or, if you prefer, on the basis of the 'four humours', Shakespeare fans!) should not be ignored, when you are shifting hair colour. It may quite possibly net you more offers, but they may be offers for different types of characters to those you are used to. This sort of thing works across the board in the industry - men are less likely to change hair colour frequently, but they do go clean-shaven, grow beards, grow hair long, shave themselves bald - it all alters the way the casting is thought of, even though it's exactly the same person performing the part!!

    That may have all been a bit unhelpful in terms of the original question, of course.

    My feeling on *that* is: do what makes you feel happiest. If you feel the need to reenergise by changing something about yourself, and that this in turn will buck you up and give you more confidence about selling yourself, then it can only be good for your career. In its own terms, I don't think changing hair colour makes a *massive* difference to your saleability - and, as I said above, the truth of the industry is always that something that makes you stand out (such as dyeing your hair screaming red, for instance) *will* invariably gain you attention, but probably not land you many more parts because you are being seen as ultimately *too* specific. There may be infinitely more competition amongst the 'blond haired standard', say, but it will still be probably one of them who will land the part, over and above the individual sporting the 80's fro or the buzzcut. What changing hair colour may do is make a difference to what you are considered good for *representing*, and so it's worth thinking about all that when you undertake it.

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 9
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Actually, I *still* don't think I answered the question, reading that back. Which is more employable - blonde or brown? I'd say, if it's a choice between the two, it probably makes minimal difference. These are both 'standard' colours, pretty much. Perhaps brown is marginally less common, and that might help your case a little. I think it is true that you seem to get people thinking they can give you 'deeper'. 'more thoughtful' parts if you are brown haired (again, these dyed in the wool assumptions).

    Not that I know much about changing hair colour, however, but I think, because going from darker to lighter is always easiest, people who are bottle blonde tend to look more 'natural' - i.e. you are less likely to assume blonde isn't their natural colour, unless their roots are showing. I think it's often hard to dye brown, without it *looking* dyed - and while there is nothing wrong with that, it may affect casting in a different way to bearing a natural head of brown hair. Dyed black and red hair always seem even more obviously 'done', and all of this does affect the way your 'type' is judged. Wigs seem to retain popularity throughout the industry for many uses, and I assume it is not just because they are less damaging long-term than frequently colouring the hair, but because, provided they're fitted well and of good quality, they tend to look entirely natural.

    I seem to have gone off topic again, I'll shut up now.

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 10
  • User Deleted

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    Lee...you should be a teacher! Thank you for your essay...very helpful. I completely concur!

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 11
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    It's always been my fall back, as a matter of fact...I was going to be a university lecturer/tutor once upon a time, but I got fed up when I realised that modern universities value research over and above teaching.

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 12
  • Matthew Wade

    Actor

    I always thought it was the lecturers that saw teaching as a necessary evil that allowed them do reseach or write books...it certainly seemed that way at senate and academic review committees......

    As per usual Lee is pretty accurate. It invariably comes down to perception of types. But its also a question of fish size and pond size. Like Lee, I'm not exactly your trad british casting, so it instantly means 80% of roles I can't go for (certainly in screen work and more often in theatre than it should be)...however, there is less competition for the percentage I can. I think striking redheads have a similar situation in some ways. It comes with pre-conceptions and doesn't fit in as well with stick types.

    However, its worth remembering how much a change of colour can change your appearance. My G/F looks completely different with black as opposed to dark blonde hair, and it changes the appearance of her face and her casting. So until you go there (or do a photoshop trial run!) its hard to tell.

    Personally, most people look best with their natural hair colour (though unusual combinations - blue eyes dark hair, green eyes with v dark or v light hair etc can be very striking). Some like Hattie Morahan are lucky that they look amazing with both and dark, but many of us don't suit a colour change. Imagine me blond!

    In the end its mostly what you are most comfortable with, and then character considerations after that.

    • 8th Jan 2009
    • 13