From Love, Victor to S.W.A.T. to Penny Dreadful, Star Trek, Grace & Frankie, Scream Queens, Dave and so many more, if you own a television, you’re undoubtedly seen the hair stylings of Pavy Olivarez. We had a blast talking with this hair genius about all things career, his personal motivations, and his Emmy for the prolific futurist period drama that is Westworld.
BLNCD: How did you first get started in hair styling? Was television and film always your ambition?
PAVY: Believe it or not, my very first professional experience was at Glamour Shots. At the time I was not really thinking about TV or film as a career. I had my sights set on becoming the next Kevin Aucoin and diving into the fashion world doing makeup .
BLNCD: When you began working in TV around 2011, you were being hired for both hair and makeup positions. What made you take a more intentional step in the direction of hair?
PAVY: Well a little back story; in 2009 I got layed off of my position as a makeup artist due to the recession and decided to go to cosmetology school. During this time, I was beginning to get more opportunities to work on independent film projects and once I completed school I basically had a direction layed out. Upon receiving my licensing as a cosmetologist, I worked on a film that allowed me to join the union. I had trepidation because I didn’t want to leave makeup behind, but I knew as a hairdresser, it was a more abundant path for work.
BLNCD: When starting out, was there a particular mentor or experience that solidified your resolve to really make hair a career?
PAVY: There really have been many people in my life that have pushed me and celebrated me for my career. My very first film I did, I got to work with a makeup artist named Klexius Colby. He offered me the opportunity to be department head. He believed I was capable based on a couple previous shorts we worked on together. This experience was major for me and affirmed that I made the right decision.
BLNCD: In 2017, you won an Emmy for your work as a key hair stylist on Westworld. What was that experience like?
PAVY: This is very close to my heart. I got to work with a multitude of talented hair and makeup artists on Westworld. Receiving this prestigious nomination was incredibly humbling. When the presenter said our show, everything started moving in slow motion! Just like you would imagine the feeling of time stopping. A very exciting accomplishment! Westworld challenges me creatively, mentally, physically, and psychologically. I learned an immense amount of things about our industry and myself and I’m grateful for that.
BLNCD: Why do you think Westworld garnered so much attention for excellence in hair?
PAVY: The overall aesthetic was authentic and something I don’t believe had been seen in a while. I really attribute this standard to the Hair department. We kept all the actors looking correct in period looks. I know as a hairstylist in this field, I have a critical eye and my colleagues were passionate as well.
BLNCD: As a Hair Department Head, What sort of work goes into the planning and pre-production of a television show?
PAVY: The first thing is to have a true understanding of the story I’m going to help tell through the hair. When I can visualize who the characters are, I can then break down what the hair should be. I break down the script for cues that would dictate hair changes; wigs, stunt doubles, hair getting wet or disheveled. I also look for cues on the styling; dressed up or down, class of the character, age, time of year, hats, hair accessories… etc. Having clear direction from the writers and director is key. Besides the fun of creating hair styles, there are many administrative duties as well. Creating budgets, accounting for man power, having clear transparent communication with the UPM and producers, surveying upcoming shooting schedules for changes, and trust me, changes happen constantly. The other piece of the puzzle is skillfully assigning the right hair stylist to style the right actor. Keeping a very calm space in the hair and makeup trailer is a goal that every professional in my field should aspire for.
BLNCD: You’ve had many famous actors and celebrities in your chair. Are there differences to the way you approach celebrity work?
PAVY: For me, I treat everyone the same with respect and consideration for what is needed to achieve the character. As long as there is a mutual respect for my role in what I need to do with hair then everyone is equal to me. I think when working with celebrities, understanding needs and accommodation will always ensure a successful time with them.
BLNCD: What do you feel is the biggest misconception about the work that you do?
PAVY: Surely most of my colleagues may agree with this statement. It’s not always as glamorous as you think. There are many perks to being a part of this world that I am so elated about. The hard part however is the time and life experiences you miss out on at times because you may be shooting nights or on location or your weekend is devoted to styling wigs that play on a Monday scene. That’s the trade off to be a part of Hollywood.
BLNCD: What is your advice to stylists who are trying to break in?
PAVY: I think the best thing I can say is have a conversation with someone in the industry and understand what it means to work in tv and film, the expectation and sacrifices. Think hard if this path is better than the one you are on. For some stylists, from a financial standpoint, they may make more money working in a salon. For me, this isn’t about the money. I discovered purpose in being a part of the storytelling. I’m not saying I don’t have a great income. I am content. Not every stylist is a superstar nor are they recognized as such. I will say diligence and integrity will always elevate you and with a good attitude and no ego you will always grow.
BLNCD: What is the most rewarding part of the work that you do?
PAVY: Knowing the look I styled enhanced the performance. There is a feeling I get when something is just right with the hair and the actor can sense it as well. Sometimes they tell me and when it’s off, they don’t hesitate to tell me that either! I appreciate and welcome collaboration when this occurs.
BLNCD: What are you excited about these days? Where can we watch some of your recent proud accomplishments?
PAVY: Currently you can see my work on “Dave” both seasons available now on Hulu. You can view my upcoming work on “Love Victor” Season 3, coming in April on Hulu. “Players” on Paramount plus this spring, and be on the look out for my upcoming Musical Feature film by A24 “Fucking Identical Twins” .
Follow Pavy on Instagram @pavyartist