I'd like to preface this post with the disclaimer that I will be making an offensive amount of Lizzie McGuire puns, and I will not apologize for it.
A few weeks back, I received an email from a publicist I work with frequently. The subject: "Exclusive Beauty Interview." The body read as follows, with no punctuation: "Can you chat on the phone today briefly." This is PR code for "I've got something big for you, but I can't document it." (And also, "I'm frantically typing this.") Frankly, beauty exclusives are hard to come by, and the term "exclusive" is used so frequently that it's kind of obsolete at this point. The internet has ruined all hopes of ever keeping a major beauty launch under wraps — plenty of brands have been forced at the hands of Instagram to reveal collections several months ahead of a major launch because someone happened to snap an embargoed mailing or got paid to snap photos that they could leak on social media. So I went into the conversation with low expectations.
It was then the clouds parted, the sun shined brightly on my heavily rooted head, and I learned that Hilary Duff was going to be working with hair care and color brand Joico on their new line of blonde-centric products, Blonde Life. She was going icy blond — a departure from her own heavy roots she'd been sporting — and they wanted to offer us the opportunity to not only film the transformation but meet with Hilary as well.
Needless to say, I was absolutely beside myself. This is what dreams are made of, amirite? I have written about this time and again, and at the risk of sounding like an extra from Mean Girls, at 13, I heard Hilary Duff used Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray, so I bought Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray. I was a middle school plebeian without a Disney paycheck and had no business buying rose water with my hard-earned allowance, but as a fellow Texan and devout Lizzie McGuire fan, I knew she wouldn't steer me in the wrong direction. (And maybe she was paid to hold the product during a pedicure, but clearly I didn't care.) Almost 20 years later, here I am, still using it to spritz away dry skin the political climate has sucked out of my dermis.
Fast-forward: the day has come. Hilary is getting over 200 foils put in her head by Riawna Capri, co-owner of Nine Zero One Salon on Melrose Place. You know Riawna: she works with the TV starlet set: Emma Roberts, Julianne Hough, Nina Dobrev. She's worked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and even gives Steven Tyler extensions every few months.
We're set up in the downstairs blowout area of the salon, separated from the hustle and bustle of salon floor upstairs. The glass doors and windows have been covered with beige paper to keep the paparazzi that followed Hilary after dropping her son of at school from getting a picture, and also, presumably, from gawkers. Hilary is unphased as I walk in: she's catching up on her phone and conversing with Riawna and the assistants. She's comfortable, having worked with Riawna time and again.
Our crew had been filming for about three hours when I showed up at 1 p.m., having come from an earlier interview with Kerry Washington. (I know, I know.) The PR and Joico team were milling about as Riawna applied approximately 200 foils to Hilary's head; they set up a nice area of sweets with The Blonde Life written in icing. Lunch was catered from Heirloom. This was as LA as it gets: a fabulous party of sorts, being filmed, of one Hilary Duff getting the blonding of a lifetime.
My job is to interview people. That doesn't mean I don't occasionally get nervous or giddy. I was trying my best to sedate my inner fangirl and also praying to God she liked me on a personal level. I asked my producer how she was. "She's so sweet. And normal. She's been talking to me," she said. And thank god! Because I couldn't handle it if Hilary Duff was a diva.
Full disclosure: I didn't talk to her much while she was in the chair. I know how I am when I get my hair done: it's like yoga. It's where I zone out. I stare straight into space or gossip with my stylist or colorist, then I get a toe-curling scalp massage and nearly fall asleep during the blowout. (Just me?) But after the big reveal happened, I casually plopped myself down in the chair next to her and got on my phone. Before I knew it, we were chatting about Younger, being from Texas, and our love of queso.
Here's what I have to say about Hilary: she was even more wonderful than I could have imagined. I feel like she was a person who hasn't been jaded by Hollywood. She's got a good head on her shoulders and when she speaks to you, she looks you in the eye and treats you as if you're just as important as someone she's known for years and legitimately cares about. Even though I might never see her again, it was fulfilling as a fan (and professional) to know that people are the same on and off camera.
During our filmed interview, we covered everything: how her new color reminds her of Lizzie McGuire, that photo of her kissing her son ("This was so annoying to me!"), and yes, those Disney Channel commercials.
Check out the full interview above, and let me know your favorite part in the comments section below.