Two Hairstylists on Respect and Navigating Egos (Hint: It’s Not the Celebrities)

SCARLETT That has been my biggest insecurity. I create a look and immediately think: “It’s too simple. People will think I’m a hack.” It has taken me a long time to own it.

McMILLAN Let’s be clear: The celebrities are not the problem.

Bryce and I actually work with the same stylist. She’s good, but she always has some smart, esoteric idea, and I have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. Her references are always from the Renaissance or some 17th-century woman. I’m like, “Um, I’m from the beach.” Same thing with some photographers — they’ll go to some obscure intellectual reference, and I’ll have to say, “Please dumb it down.”

SCARLETT The photographers and the art directors, that’s where it can get more — how do I say this? It takes more finessing. The first time with a new photographer or a new stylist you’ve really got to find your way slowly. I let them come to me with their ideas and I process it, and do the best I can, while still staying true to myself.

McMILLAN You have to stay true to your authentic self. We don’t usually work in fashion — we work with fashionable celebrities. It’s different. Fashion people —

SCARLETT Can be very hard.

I’ve worked with incredible photographers, stylists, art directors. I’ve been in the room with legends. Most of the time, I’m there because the actress asked for me, which is a hard dynamic. Years ago, I did Claire Danes for American Vogue, shot by Steven Klein. Let me tell you, they didn’t want me there. I walked in and wanted to say, “I’m sorry you’re forced to have me, but trust that all I want to do is make you happy.” It was not easy. The photographer was nice, but the Vogue stylist tortured me.

McMILLAN Remember, the only moving part on a photo shoot is the hair.

SCARLETT Hair is the hardest job on set. If they don’t like the photo, the first thing they don’t like is the hair.