Interview with Randa Squillacote, M7 Hair Stylist (Season 2), July 1999

It was my pleasure to be able to speak recently with one of the hairdressers who worked on the second season of The Magnificent Season. Randa Squillacote took time out of her busy schedule to tell me about her adventures on the set. I want to thank her for all of the interesting information she shared and for our fun talk.

I began our conversation by asking Randa whether she preferred to be called a hairdresser or hairstylist. She said that hairdresser was fine. Randa's mother was a hairdresser, and Randa has been one for more than 25 years. She has been lucky in that she has always been able to make a living at her chosen profession.

Randa went to beauty school for her basic education but has had continual education from her various jobs within the industry. She worked as a hairdresser for 18 years in Connecticut. For six of those years, she had her own business. She always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, so she decided to move on with her life.

Randa left Connecticut and moved to Orlando, Florida, where she worked as a hairdresser at Walt Disney World. One of her duties was to work with wigs. She was at Walt Disney for about six years, and her experience there really helped her get a foot in the industry.

For the next two years, Randa worked at Ripley's Believe It or Not, which has its world headquarters in Orlando. She was head of the hair department, and she explained how the hairs had to be put into the wax sculptures one at a time.

Randa went back to work for Disney after her time at Ripley's. While at Disney, she got to work on Nickelodeon productions. She worked on the movie The Truman Show and moved to California about a year later.

Randa has been in Los Angeles for about two years. She told me that she met her mentor while working at Nickelodeon. Her mentor introduced her to Gary Walker. If that name is familiar, it's because he was the head hairdresser for The Magnificent Seven. He worked for Steve Beers when Steve worked on Seaquest. Steve's name is probably familiar as well because he worked on The Magnificent Seven as a director and producer.

Randa was unavailable, unfortunately, to work on The Magnificent Seven for its first season. She was available for the second season and worked on every episode. Gary was the key hairdresser, Randa was his assistant, and a third person helped as well.

I asked Randa what a typical day on The Magnificent Seven set was like for her. Randa said that call time was 4:30 am. They worked five days a week, Monday through Friday. She said she usually got breakfast on the set, got prepped for the day, and began styling the hair for the background people. She described them as the townspeople, the stunt people and stunt doubles, and the cowboys. This work including fixing their natural hair, as well as putting wigs on the stunt doubles.

Randa explained that the hair and makeup people all used the same trailer and that folks were usually in the three chairs at all times. The makeup people took care of the actors' moustaches and sideburns, not the hairdressers. She also said that the coffee was made in that trailer, so it was a real gathering place for folks. She explained that oftentimes, actors would be in there and rework lines in the script while getting ready for the day.

Randa had never worked with any of the actors before. She said that they were all very nice. She said that some of them would occassionally bring their families to the set. She described the environment as very spiritual and familial. She even talked about the softball team the cast and crew had, telling me that Andy Kavovit and Ron Perlman both played. Randa was the coach, by the way. She also discussed an incident where Andy tried to mount his horse and wound up almost being dragged. She said he was fine and was ready to do it again.

I asked Randa to describe each actor, and she sincerely told me how very nice each one is. She said that Micheal Biehn was very focused and professional. She said that Dale Midkiff would come in in the morning with his hair looking like Kramer's. She said he was very quiet in the morning and very soft-spoken. She said that Rick Worthy was very low maintenance and a hugger and kisser. She described Andy as very nice and polite. She said that Ron was just someone you'd want to hug, that he is very nice and played Santa at Christmas, sneaking into his trailer and out again to give folks their presents. She described Tony as very talented and nice. She said he had good ideas for script. She explained that his gold tooth was just for scenes, not real, and that he would carry it around and put it in for the scene. She said Laurie was also very nice and very talented.

I asked about the characters hairstyles. She said that the hairdressers only styled the hair, they didn't wash it. I asked why Andy's hairstyle was different this year. She said that Andy didn't want to fuss too much with his hair because it was so hot. She explained that Laurie wore a three-quarter piece everyday. She said that Mary's look this year was supposed to be really loose. She explained that they would fix the front of Laurie's hair and then attach the extensions.

I asked her about Eric and extensions. She said that this year, it was all extensions. She had to put them on everyday. It would take about 30 to 45 minutes in the morning. She would affix them from one nape of the ear to the other. She used a special glue to do it. It would take about 15 minutes at night to remove them. Eric would ususally have on his shirt and bandana for the shot so that he wouldn't have to put them on over the extensions. I told her that some fans had commented on his hair in Achilles, and she said that those were new extensions. She explained that extensions are real hair. The hairdresser gets ones that match the actors hair. And like real hair, which they are, the extensions were affected by the brutally hot weather.

Once everyone was prepped for the day, Randa would be on set all day, making sure everyone looked great. She described herself as a perfectionist, so she wanted to make sure everything looked right. She would leave the set around 8 pm.

Randa and I discussed the Wagon Train episodes. That episode was shot in Lake Peru, which is north of Los Angeles. She said that there were some wild fires down the road while they filmed. She explained that the whole episode, both parts, were filmed without one monitor. It was all done through the director and the hindsight of the photographers. She confirmed that Eric Close's brother was in the episode. We discussed the storyline a bit, and I told her that some fans weren't sure if they agreed that Vin would have an affair with a married woman. She said that was also a concern on the set, but that it had gotten worked out.

Randa told me that on the last day of filming, Eric got his hair cut really short, Rick has his head shaved, and Dale had his moustache shaved.

In practically everything Randa said, I could sense how close the cast and crew were. She called them a family, and it really sounded like they are. She said some of them had gotten together at Andy's place for the Fourth of July - including his pigs. She mentioned how they would go out, and still go out, to a jazz bar. Some of the actors, such as Rick Worthy, would go as well as crew members.

Randa said John Watson is a great guy. She explained that producers may not even know a crew member's name, but that John would always call people by their first names and ask how they were doing. He sent people Christmas wreaths at home. She even said that John would mention the fans and all of the support they were continually giving to the cast and crew.

Randa said the extras, while having their own little family, were also treated like part of the entire family that comprised The Magnificent Seven. She said that some of the people are staying in touch, like Andy's Fourth of July gathering, and that they still go to jazz clubs together.

Randa concluded by saying that working on The Magnificent Seven was the best experience of her life. I could tell in her voice that working on the show was a very special experience, and that no matter what happens to it, she has made life-long friends who consider themselves a family.

Randa is currently working with Gary Walker on the new Fox series, The Badland, which is scheduled to air Fridays at 8:00 p.m. et.

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