Interview Charlie le Mindu

Een leuk interview met Charlie le Mindu gepubliceerd op Noisey. Haarstylist van onder anderen Lady Gaga, Lana del Ray en Peaches.

Charlie le Mindu

Noisey: When did you start hairdressing?
Charlie Mindu: 
I was 13. My parents are gypsies and I stopped going to school and started working in a traditional, grandmother-style hair salon. Then when I was about 15, I worked in a punk hairdressers in Bordeaux, where I learned about [cooler hairstyles]. I was 17 when I moved to Berlin on my own. I had no money and I couldn’t speak German or English, so I started doing haircuts for queers in nightclubs to make money.

That’s an unusual career trajectory. What was your strangest job?
I think it was when I used to shave the bears in the dark rooms at Berghain/Panorama Bar in Berlin. That was the weirdest hair-cutting job ever.

Charlie le Mindu

But now you sort out Lady Gaga’s locks. What’s the best look you’ve created for her?
The one in the “Bad Romance” video: she was wearing my lips wig backwards on her head. We were trying to recreate the looks from the McQueen catwalk [in Paris, 2009], but doing a different version, so it looked the same from the front, but it was my lips at the back.

What was the first hairstyle you fell in love with?
The one that struck me the most was Cher’s red wig in the “Believe” video. I was really young and it was funny to me because she looked like a drag queen.

Charlie le Mindu

Is that when your fascination with wigs and hair extensions began?
It was since I started hairdressing, really. I fell in love with them because I could create anything with them. Wigs can change the face of someone so easily and quickly. But I started making them in 2006, for Peaches. She wanted very long hair, to her feet. After that, I started to do different things. I made her a huge hairy monster costume and I created enormous wigs for her backing dancers, The Tranimals [on her last tour]. Peaches wanted to cover their faces so that they were genderless.

What’s great about working with Peaches?
I can do what I want every time. She’s so easygoing and creative, which is inspiring. She cares about her image, but she doesn’t care about being pretty. I think everyone should be like that. If a woman wants to be hairy, it’s normal, it’s just nature and there should be no judgment. They don’t have to get a bikini wax every day. I love punk and heavy metal music and heavy metal women like [former Runaways guitarist] Lita Ford because they’re strong like that too.

What’s the best wig you’ve made?

The one I did recently in the new Basement Jaxx video for “Back 2 The Wild.” It’s like a cone head with braids on it. It’s actually very African and tribal.

You’ve done a lot of work with musicians, are you picky about who you style?
I have so many celebrities that ask me every week—like big girl bands—whether I can do their hair, you know, like Essex girl style. But it’s so boring, I just can’t say yes. I prefer working with people that are more underground and are more open about their image, because then their hairstyle is more of a collaboration. And most importantly it’s the best shop window for me to the wider public.

Charlie le Mindu

But you’re not averse to shocking people? You’ve sent naked models down the catwalk before…
My specialty is to make wigs and for those looks I wanted the women to show that hair and nothing else. But it was really annoying that everyone was shocked about it. If you go to any museum, you always see naked people in art, but in fashion people are so stuck up and find it so scary. I love strong women that are proud of themselves and I just wanted to show that on the catwalk.

Charlie le Mindu

And for your other catwalk shows?
My first one in 2009 was scandalous too because I made a burka from rats and mice. I wanted to use fur, but I didn’t have any money so I went for the cheapest fur, which was from rats and mice. A friend of mine does taxidermy so we bought the rats and mice from the pet shop—they were dead, obviously, the snakes had eaten them—and then my friend taxidermied them. But it was a big scandal. If I had have used fox fur, no one would have said anything, but because I used rodents…

So there wasn’t a political message behind it?
No. I just needed to be cheap.

Has a job ever stressed you out?
Yes, the first one was when I went on tour with the B-52s. I was really excited about getting to do their huge beehives and I love their music. But when I arrived on the first day of their comeback, they refused to do the beehive and they just wanted really normal hair, so I was a bit disappointed. They just wanted really normal waves; it was nothing as amazing as their beehives.

Charlie le Mindu

Who of your clients has surprised you the most?
Lana Del Rey always wants to go bigger. I’ve never put so many extensions on someone’s head. I’m sure even Katie Price doesn’t have that many extensions!

Charlie le MinduBron: Noisey. Door: Kate Hutchinson

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