Elizabeth Perkins on big hair, big wigs and why pounds of makeup can’t compensate for a life lived hard!
Even if you’re only somewhat up-do-date with the stockpile that is TV’s most binge-worthy shows, you’ve probably noticed that Elizabeth Perkins keeps popping up. She plays funny in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Marty Funkhouser’s new girlfriend; serious and stoic on This is Us as Mandy Moore’s mother; and “over-the-top” in Netflix’s Glow. Now, the new HBO mini-series Sharp Objects with Amy Adams also gets to count Perkins as a costar. Always the chameleon, the 57-year-old recently sat down with us to dish on behind-the-scenes beauty and style secrets from her most noteworthy roles.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Big debuted and, according to Perkins, the single-word title is also synonymous with her hair in the film. “‘Big’ was all about “big” hair. I have very curly hair naturally, but this was back in the day when Julia Roberts was queen and we all wanted the full-haired, scrunched look that she made so popular,” she says. “So, not only did we scrunch it with firm-holding gel, with my head upside down with a hair dryer, but I was also given a ‘root perm’ prior to shooting to get it as large as possible. The higher the hair, the closer to God.”
Perkins says since she was playing an animated character in the cartoon-come-to-life, all of the hair had to follow suit. “It was all about the wigs and getting them as high as possible to match the cartoon Wilma. They were heavy and fell over several times! We weren’t allowed to wear shoes though—even though we had cars, satellite TVs and shopping malls, shoes somehow hadn’t been invented yet.”
“I loved playing the evil Celia Hodes. Amoral, ruthless and conniving, her hair and makeup always stated exactly where she was emotionally. Long blond hair when she was successful, a harsh wig following her chemo therapy, and dirty, matted hair when she was in her downfall. Each morning in the makeup trailer we would assess where Celia was psychologically and style accordingly.”