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Behind the Scenes: “Gossip Girl” Hair Secrets

From Serena’s effortless waves to Lily’s sleek and proper updos, the hit series “Gossip Girl,” which airs Mondays 8/7c on The CW, has some of television’s most envy-inducing hair. We talked to Jennifer Johnson, the genius hairstylist behind all the looks, about speedy styling, sources of inspiration, and on-set challenges.

Easy Does It

I don’t ever do anything that complicated. Maybe it looks more complicated than it is, but I think hair can be done pretty quickly and it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

Messy Muse

I really love Bridget Bardot’s style. She was a little bit ahead of her time, because her hair was slightly more messy where everyone else’s was so perfect. I like hair to have movement and not seem sprayed to death. It’s more interesting to have texture than to have a perfect helmet of hair.

Free Styling

You don’t get too many TV shows where you get to be so creative, so it’s been a lot of fun. I collaborate with the costume designer, Eric Daman, and see what outfits he has the actors in. He sets the tone, and I finish the looks with the right hairstyling.

Redo the ‘Do

We usually take eight days to film an episode, and if we do a hairstyle on day one, we might not see that hairstyle again until we’re on day three when it has to be duplicated. As a hairdresser, it’s a little challenging sometimes because you create and you’re not thinking. And then you’re like, “I don’t even know how I did it.” You end up taking a lot of pictures so that you can go back.

Panic Mode

There is no hair cutting or hair coloring during an episode. I will say that some of the boys have done it—to my horror—but for the most part not until the episode’s over. They can do it in between an episode.

Like Family

The show is great because it’s become so much like a family. You go into work and if you’re in a mood, there’s always going to be someone to cheer you up. In five years, everyone has been through some craziness and some greatness and everyone is there for each other. It will be interesting to see what happens to everyone.

Photo: © and TM 2012 WBEI

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