Why Hair Length and Style Matter to Casting Directors

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019
Blonde woman getting her hair length trimmed.

At Central Casting, you have the opportunity to be cast in a variety of roles, from bikers, to ballerinas, to 1950s jazz club patrons. So how do our Casting Directors find people for such varied parts? One of the things considered when casting Background Actors is your look, which includes your hair length, color, and style. To help you figure out what kind of parts you’re right for, we answer some popular questions about hair requirements in job posts.

Why does hair length and style matter?

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what roles you can portray. For some scenes, Casting Directors may be looking for multiple types or diverse looks. In these cases, your hairstyle may not be as important as your portrayable age or the wardrobe you own.

Then there are scenes where Casting Directors are looking for very specific looks and may have requirements for hair length, color, and style. They could be looking for doubles, Stand-Ins, people who fit a certain time period, or are trying to match an established look of a show.

Please read job posts carefully and if hair requirements are listed in the post, only submit if you fit the description.

What are modern hairstyles?

Just like wardrobe trends, hairstyles are often distinct to time periods. When submitting for jobs, you may see posts that say “no modern hairstyles,” which usually means the Casting Director is working on a period piece or flashback scene. So while your pastel bob or curly fade may be perfect for projects set in 2019, they probably won’t work for shows in other time periods.

How do you know if your hairstyle is modern? Highlighting, ombre, or balayage dyeing techniques with natural or unnatural colors are considered too modern for most time periods. Also, contemporary braids, weaves, and extensions can make your look too current for period work.

But don’t some hairstyles come back around? It’s true that many modern hairstyles are versions of popular looks from the past, but they are often updated to fit the current period. Don’t forget that Casting Directors are also matching the aesthetic of a movie or TV series, so even if you think your modern look could fit a certain time period, it may not fit the production’s idea of that time period.

How should I style my hair for my casting photo?

When you register with Central Casting, we take a photo of you for our casting platform. This picture is used during the casting process and may even be sent to production. Our Casting Directors recommend wearing your hair down for your casting photo so they can clearly see how long your hair is. If you add additional photos in different looks, you can wear your hair in whatever style you prefer, but you should always have a photo in your file that shows your current hair length.

Small hairstyle changes may not seem like a big deal to you, but could matter to Casting Directors. Even an inch of growth on your hair may make the difference between you being perfect for or not fitting a role. That’s why we recommend updating your photo every six months or every time your look changes. If your look has changed and a Casting Director contacts you for a part, please let them know of any changes to your hair length, style, or color. They may ask you to snap a quick selfie so they can verify that your hairstyle works for the role.

Now that you know how to get cast with your hairstyle, find out how to register your car for TV work and the do’s and don’ts for submitting photos to Casting Directors.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Hair & Makeup