Roxie Hodenfield has been Walker’s hair department head since day one. I had the pleasure of speaking with her – enjoy!
So please tell us as hair department head, what are you in charge of slash what do you do?
Well, when we start an episode we generally will get a script and I am the hair department head so I just manage the hair. I don't work on the facial hair or any of that just the hair on the head. I'm very collaborative with the makeup department and a lot of us have worked together since Friday Night Lights. We're a very tight knit group that we are friends outside of work. We have a very, very close family relationship with all of the hair and makeup department.
We will read a script and then we'll determine what's happening in the script -- is Walker distressed? As we designed his look I gave him his haircut and we were zooming with our show runner and producer Anna Fricke and Lindeay [Liberatore] from the studios. And we have Steve Robin, he's is our on-set show runner, executive producer.
So everybody's watching. I give him a haircut and we take it in stages and try to determine the right length for what we can get away with as a professional and what would break the boundaries a little bit and being able to still have a little bit of fun with the hair. So that's the length it is what we came up with. Cause I cut it about three times, like oh a little bit shorter shorter. So that was our base of getting started when we did the pilot and all of that then. But there's enough length there that when we have distressed moments we can break it up a little bit and shag his hair out a little bit and give him some rough edge to him. It gives us a little bit of flexibility with that.
So a lot of my job is just designing what we do for each character's looks according to what is happening in the episode. And then we have stunt doubles and so whoever needs a stunt double I have to match that hair, whether it's a wig or if it's a person that has the same type of hair or a color of the hair. And we do the get as close as we can to making their head look like our actor's head. Exactly. So it allows us to, to actually film more and film closer and get more footage of stunt stuff. So for me that's a fun challenge. And then we maintain haircuts and we film very fast. I think we started off as nine-day episodes, and now we're seven-day episodes. We do a lot of handheld, we move very fast.
So we're prep while we're shooting this one. I'll start prepping the next episode. We just started this one today. Episode 12. I have meetings with the producers and we discuss what new characters or day players are going to look like. And everyone is so beautiful and there's so many people that just look beautiful, CW-ey. Sometimes we have to distress them or take them down a little bit to just give 'em a little more edge and not look too glamorous. But that's always kind of a challenge too as well, just to try to get them to make somebody who's naturally beautiful not look so perfect, perfectly imperfect. And that's a fun challenge. So along those lines we do that. Or if I do hair color, I have to color Jared, keep his maintained as he's getting a little bit more gray.
We help maintain it. And he's kind of like, he's actually posted himself with the color on his hair.
He’s not really vain. He is such the perfect human to just be lead number one actor, executive producer, friend. He's just this really an all around wonderful number one who just sets a great tone for the production. We have a lot of fun. We don't work 18-hour days, we have the occasional long day every now and then, but we actually have family, a lot of this crew have family and we can have a life. And I've done those hard shows. I've done the big brutal 18-hour days and whatever, temperature, weather. But the writers on this show, they adapt to weather conditions, they help, we have issues we've figured out and the writers will rewrite something to adapt to whatever situation is needed. So there's so much collaboration and partnership with just across the board in all the departments. So it, it's just a really fantastic project to be a part of.
It sounds like a fabulous set. I've talked to already a few people -- the cinematographer, just people who've worked on the set of Walker and it just sounds like an amazing place to be. Of course, I know Jared from Supernatural and that was also very family oriented kind of set. And it thrills me to pieces that Jared has brought that kind of sense of family to Walker -- it doesn't surprise me. Jared is a ball of sunshine.
Yes. And in fact just a moment ago the actors were just having fun and cracking jokes and chitchatting. So they all just like, okay guys, we gotta work, get back to work. But it's nice to have that kind of atmosphere where you can actually feel relaxed, but still stay on top of your job and not be so stressed -- everything's so just uncomfortable to go to work.
I enjoy coming to work. I'm been doing hair for over 30 years and I love my job and I love to cut hair. I love to color hair, I love to change it up and design different looks and periods. It's a very satisfying, fulfilling opportunity also just to be able to stay here at home in often where I live, but I work other places. But having a senior in high school being home made it that more appealing to just be able to have a family life and being able to be there for my daughter.
Jared is known to be extremely charitable -- most recently, he has been raising money for the Wounded Warrior project. I will be following suit and am donating $5 from each of my Walker keychains to the Wounded Warrior project! https://asyouwishcustomdesigns.com/shop/ols/products/walker-logo-keychain
How has everyone's hair changed over the years other than Jared's gray hair?
Well let's see, Jeff Pierre's hair has gotten a little bit longer. We're let him be a little more hip, but he got a little bit of length on the top. And of course we have Ashley now who's Cassie and one of the differences, she wears her hair down a lot. That was a big challenge at first because she's a little more tomboy and doesn't wanna be as straight laced as Mickey was.
Mickey was very tight and by the book and Cassie's so much more loose and relaxed and a risk taker. She's just a little more free spirit -- and even the kids, they grow up and then we just adapt to their age group and what's going on. in another one of the ladies Chelsey Fiske, who works in my department, she my key and she has high school kids and I have high school kids and so we can get the vibe of that world.
It helps us on the show and our costume designer and just with what they're wearing and they step it up with like, oh we can pump up a hairstyle for Cas on this episode because she's going to gala and she's really looking put together and hot -- so we can play, I think it's a good balance and being able to do just a basic contemporary look. But then we have moments when we can step it up and really go a little bit more outside of the box and do something more fun and it's all according to the episodes. And then when we do flashbacks and we have dirt and blood and we're dirty, the soldiers up and sweat 'em up. So it helps out a lot of texture and grit to their look. But it's kind of that dirty, sexy hot look that everyone loves, oh so much.
One of the things about Jared -- it's hot here in Texas. Carla, who is our department head makeup, she will have fans for him that wrap around his neck and sometimes when they won't grab the fans until the very last minute and so sometimes those little flippies will out and I'm like, ah, I can't get to them.
So what do you enjoy most about working on Walker?
I think the cast and the crew, just the family environment and we're making entertainment entertaining and fun and having a group of people that you go to work with on a daily basis and it goes across the board with all of the cast members. Everyone is super lovely. Molly Hagan's amazing. Mitch is amazing. They're true professionals. They do their job and they respect us and we don't have any primadonnas or people with egos that there's just no room for that because everyone's so down to earth that it makes a really collaborative, fun job. We get to make entertainment and people really love the show and I think just coming to work with this family is the best part of the job.
It's never boring because you're always have one episode that's a little more chill but then the next one's crazy. So you gotta get everything prepped and start finding wigs and figuring out. But sometimes you don't even know what the actor that's cast yet looks like. And so you can't double them with a wig or don't know how you're gonna double 'em until a day or two before so that's my challenge for the day. There’s so many reasons and why I love working here. I think that's the most exciting part of my job is just being able to work with this cast and this crew. I'm about 80% of this crew has worked together for probably 20 years or more. Wow. It's like the Alamo. So there's lots of friendships beyond coworkers.
So what is the most difficult thing that you have to deal with? You already spoke about weather, that sort of thing.
Texas is very humid. So that is actually one very big challenge. The humidity in the summer -- I mean it starts to get hot here probably by May start to get really hot. And then June and July and August are just ridiculous. Hot over a hundred and we're fighting Jared's sweat like crazy. So there's got big AC units on set ready to keep for him nearby and just towel drying his hair trying to, I resist blow drying it a little bit because of the heat.
I figured whether would be one of the issues. Last but not least, do you have any behind the scenes stories that you can share now?
We have lots of good moments and when there's somebody's birthday and he knows that it's their birthday, he will like stall and then the cake will come out and he'll just be like, oh wait, never mind, hey and it’s so and so’s birthday. And he will be the hostess with the mostess and spread the word and will all sing Happy birthday. And he's very generous that way. Yes, those are the really genuine heartfelt moments when even after he'll will just speak to everybody as a crew and make sure he lets everyone know how grateful he is for the job they've done and the appreciation that he brings to our crew. And it's very, it's so much appreciated. Appreciated by this crew knowing that he cares about how hard we work.
Everyone loves to hear and especially me, loves to hear how it's so awesome knowing that Jared is that kind of guy -- he presents himself very caring and empathetic and generous and it's so nice to know that he actually really is that way.
Absolutely 100% is just and cares about his family so much. His wife and kids and just everybody that encounters. It's very loving energy that you get from him.
And I have to say he gives the best hugs.
Yes, he does. We get a hug every day. I get a hug from him every day. He walks in the trailer, he gives me a hug and my team.
I love how open he is with his fans. I mean he must get tons of notifications on all his social media channels and I know that he spends so much time going through and commenting and stuff and I think that's awesome.
Yeah, he really does do his best to stay connected. I think he had some moments on this where there was a lot -- he was a little bit overworked cuz especially with Walker Independence happening, he's doing a lot more in the producing world.
Another fabulous interview Carol, thank you so much for arranging it & against it with us. And thank you to Roxie for being so open.