Crazy Rich Asians' Hairstylist Explains Exactly What Makes Hair Look "Expensive"
On the surface, the entire premise of Crazy Rich Asians sounds like a scene pulled straight from Pretty Woman: rich man meets independent, far-less-rich woman; they fall head over heels; some people just don't get it — you know how this ends. (It's worth noting that Constance Wu's character, Rachel Chu, is not in the same line of work.)
Yet, what makes this movie truly special isn't only in its all-Asian cast, but also that it depicts a not-so-far-fetched look into the life of Singapore's one percent. The divide between old money vs. new money vs. Asian natives vs. Asian-Americans is omnipresent, and if you couldn't tell by the fancy cars or $1.2 million jewelry, there may be another way to know: with the hair and makeup.
"New money people wanted to show off, so we made the hair and makeup very over the top. We could not have done that with Nick Young (Henry Golding)'s family. That side had a more classic look."
That was the job of the film's lead hair and makeup artist, Heike Merker. "We tried to differentiate the groups from each other," she told POPSUGAR. "With the new money people, they wanted to show off more so we made the hair and makeup very over the top. We could not have done that with Nick Young (Henry Golding)'s family. That side had a more classic look. The hair was perfect, and we never used too much makeup on a daily basis unless there was a party — but even then it was as if someone came in and did it for them."
When it came to lead actor Wu, Merker kept her beauty style on the minimalistic side, and then made it progressively fancier as time went on. "Rachel was just a normal working girl from New York; she didn't have fancy things, so we kept her makeup very natural in the beginning. Then when she traveled to Singapore, as she got to know the family members and got invited to the parties, we gave her more and more and more makeup. We also changed the hairstyle on her, making it more elegant."
As for what constitutes "expensive-looking" hair, she says it's simple: haircuts. "Rich hair is shiny. The ends are never dry. If you always cut your hair, the ends are always perfect." Wanna know how she kept the cast looking perfect while filming in the sweltering heat with 85 percent humidity? Merker is spilling all the tea ahead — and yes, it is crazy rich, indeed.