INTERVIEW: ‘Ted Lasso’ Hair & Makeup Designer Nicky Austin
Apple TV’s Ted Lasso has captured the hearts of several locked-down nations and provided that comforting cuppa tea and baby-pink box of homemade shortbread that we’ve all sorely needed in the last year or so. The costumes, hair and make up all combine to help create these indelible characters who we have taken to our collective bosoms – Ted’s tache, Rebecca’s swoop of businesswoman barnet, Keeley’s WAG extensions, Jamie’s Ronaldo coiff and Trent Crimm’s magnificent mane – are all details that leave an impression. We spoke with Hair and Makeup Designer Nicky Austin about helping build such rich characters, who we now feel like we know and love.
I have to start by asking about Ted and his iconic moustache – did that come from Jason Sudeikis and how early on was it established that that would be his look?
Yeah – it was already established from when he did the commercials, which were years ago. When we spoke about his look, we felt like that had worked really well, he certainly was happy with it and people seemed to like Ted in the infomercials, so he decided to stick with it. We tweaked it slightly, but it’s all him, it’s all natural.
Rebecca has such a strong look, of course – her introduction is a rare example of her hair being down, but after that, it’s usually swept back in a variety of dramatic ways – I feel like she’s always making a statement with her hair. How did you help convey that she’s a strong, powerful woman through her hairstyles?
When we first see her, we were very aware that she’d been having a hard time in her personal life and like a lot of jilted spouses would do, they make an extra effort to look amazing, to hide the suffering inside. So, you see her at work definitely very polished, very made up, just to keep up appearances, to hide the heartbreak that she was going through. And then we do see her in more vulnerable positions, when she’s at home, we see her makeup-free, we see the casual girly side of her. But Rebecca wants to be taken seriously, she’s the owner of a football club now and she’s a businesswoman.
Hannah and I, when we talk about her look (and we do talk about it a lot) – it’s such a fabulous part for a woman in her age-range, as well. She’s very flattered and honored by the fact that she gets to play such an amazing character that’s her own age. She’s a single Mum herself and she’s gorgeous in herself and she wants to portray Rebecca in the best way she can. So we spend a lot of time discussing her looks, her makeup, she’s very much like Hannah is, naturally beautiful – she’s not in a Harley Street clinic or anything like that, that is her. I’m lucky, I’ve got a very beautiful lady to work with and her hair is a dream for a makeup designer to have, really, it’s all her, there’s no wigs – she’s just got gorgeous hair.
I want to ask about a couple of her makeup looks – the Charity Gala in Episode 4 – I feel like she’s going for a bit of revenge look there, with that amazing black and gold dress and the other one is in Episode 8 (the darts game at the pub) which is a rare example of her having a bold lip that goes with the red blouse she’s wearing.
On both of those occasions, her ex-husband surprises her, she wasn’t doing it as revenge directly because she didn’t expect him to turn up at the Gala. Rebecca knew that she’d be papped, so yeah, maybe there was that in her mind. But she’s also very aware when she’s going to be around Richmond’s investors and players. The Gala is a really big night for her – it’s the first time she’s hosting it without her husband and she needed to absolutely put on a front, so we went to town with that look. We gave her a completely different hairstyle and we didn’t do that again in the season intentionally, we just kept it for the Gala. That dress was phenomenal, she looked amazing that night because she was hosting and trying to raise millions without the usual backup of her ex-husband, although he turns up in the end anyway.
When she goes to the pub for the darts game, she was going to meet the Milk Sisters, who are shareholders in the club, again, so it’s a business meeting in an informal environment, but she is always (and she talks about it more in Season 2) aware of how Rebecca has inherited this club, which she now loves, but she’s very aware that she’s a woman in a very male-dominated sport. There aren’t many female football club owners, there’s only a few of them, so when she goes to meet them, she definitely goes to extra effort. So yeah, we went a bit heavier with her makeup and her hair is extra polished on those occasions.
Moving onto Keeley now. I believe Juno Temple had personal hair and makeup assistants on-set, I’m guessing the hair extensions were quite high-maintenance! I love that there is little difference between her “event” looks and her “everyday,” so even when she just turns up at the training centre, she’s frequently pretty over-the-top with her hair and makeup looks. There’s only one occasion where we see her differently and that’s where she’s wearing plaits at home. Can you tell me about creating Keeley’s looks?
Wait until you see Season 2, we’re having a lot of fun! I think she’s on about Look 21 at the moment and we’ve still got quite a few episodes to go, we’re really going to town this season. Juno is just a joy, she’s up for everything that could give any more insight into Keeley. We really have so much fun with her hair accessories and developing her look. Juno does have fabulous hair, but it’s probably quite obvious, we do add more hair into it. We draw a lot of inspiration from a few celebrities who we like to get pictures of – we try and colour-match. Keeley just always needs to look fabulous, there are occasions when she’s at home and she’s more casual, but like you say in Season 1, there’s just the one with the plaits. But even when she was in her hotel room with Rebecca, she still had an accessory in her hair, she was never “not done.” We see her a little more undone in Season 2, she’s at home a little bit more, as her story develops with her new relationship. But there’s always something with her hair, it’s never not intentional.
Moving onto the men now, did you always know you were going to base Jamie Tartt on Christiano Ronaldo – or at least I assume that’s who he’s based on, because he looks so similar? I like the fact that his hairstyle changes when he gets recalled to Man City, almost as if it’s a cry for help.
Jamie ended up being a more complex character than I thought he would be, but when I did my initial pitch, I only had the pilot to go off. I just thought “arrogant footballer,” I knew what I had to work with with regards to Phil’s hair and I found a picture of Ronaldo, Phil is just up for whatever, he’s such a great sport.
I turned around to Jason and said “I feel like, we have the barber shop scene especially and I really feel like we need to show Jamie’s transition from Richmond somehow in his look” and I asked “are you up for me changing his hair to a proper try-hard – trying hard to get attention, but actually getting it a bit wrong darling look?” And funnily enough, there was a match where Ronaldo had gelled all his hair down and made this 1930s pimp parting in his hair and he just looked….I mean, he got away with it, because he’s Ronaldo! (laughs) But I thought for that press conference when he’s in Man City gear and I just thought “yeah, let’s do it.” Phil was really up for it.
The viewers learn (as you go on and see his Dad and everything else) that there’s a lot more to Jamie than just the arrogant player on the pitch. He is craving attention, so changing his hair, getting his new tattoos going – he’s just starting his tattoo sleeve in Season 1 and it increases a bit in Season 2 – he clearly craves attention, so it makes sense to change his hair when he gets rejected by Richmond and has to go back to Man City.
Trent Crimm The Independent has a magnificent mane – obviously James Lance has great hair – but did you have to do much work to get his hair into that magnificent coiff?
No, that’s all James! I didn’t have an updated picture of him, so when he first came in for his fitting and he sat down, I went “Oh!” I went to Jason and said “just checking….” and he said “I love it, don’t cut it.” And I replied “OK, fine, if that’s what you want!” You know, when we were doing the press scenes – it became a little of a “who’s going to look after James’ hair today?” kind of thing. Because he uses it, he uses his glasses, he uses his hair – he’s very much one of those actors who works with what he’s got – he uses his hands. It makes so much sense because he’s playing a journalist and a brilliant character. He hasn’t cut it for Season 2, I mean nobody’s cutting their hair at the moment anyway, but it’s become – it’s him, isn’t it? There’s no way we could ever cut it off and it’s such a thick, amazing mane of hair – he could lose hairbands in that hair, he’s got so much of it!
The second series of Ted Lasso will launch on streaming service Apple TV+ 23 July 2021.
There will be more Ted Lasso interviews (with the show’s Casting Director and Production Designer) available exclusively in Issue #5 of the JUMPCUT MAGAZINE.