A CD Explains Why Your Hairstyle Matters in Auditions

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Q: Does your hairstyle matter when you audition?—@shakira_smith2003*

Your audition starts the moment you walk into the room—or, if it’s a self-tape, when your video begins. Many people think the only element being considered is the scene you perform, but that’s not true. Casting directors take advantage of every interaction with an auditioner—at least, I do. I look for how you present yourself and how you interact with those in the room. If it’s a self-tape, I watch your communication etiquette. So, yes, your hairstyle definitely matters, too. 

Here’s an example: I was holding auditions for the lead role of a charming businessman in a feature film. I scoured talent websites, hand-picking actors I thought looked the part. When an actor showed up with messy hair, wearing sweats, I wondered if it was the same person I saw in his headshot. I tried to look past it, but his clothes and hair were so unnecessarily unkempt that it was difficult to see him as a suave businessman. Even the director made a comment after the actor left, saying they wished he’d taken more care with how he looked, because it was hard to see him as the character and to know if he even wanted the part.  

READ: How to Audition

Your hair is going to change all the time depending on the role. Something that can help is to have a neutral hairstyle when applying for a range of roles. You may have heard not to dress in a costume for an audition; it’s the same with your hair. You can suggest a character with what you wear and how you style your hair, but it’s good to avoid a wild hairstyle.

There is an exception! If you’re currently in a role and you can’t change your hairstyle, and it happens to be a bit bolder and an audition pops up, please still go. Make a note to the CD that you’re in a project and can’t change your hair yet. This will work in your favor, because it shows that you’re a working actor and you are willing to change your hair for a role. 

Whatever your hairstyle, remember to have fun with the audition. Your love for acting and passion for each chance to perform comes through and contributes to the CD’s decision. 

*Submit questions for our Experts on Backstage’s Facebook or Twitter accounts or via our forums page at backstage.com/forums!

This story originally appeared in the March 18 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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Charis Joy Jackson
Charis Joy Jackson is an actress, casting director, director, and producer. She’s been working in independent film for 10 years and teaches an intensive three-month acting school.
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