Elle Padron, one of MyGrads, was getting ready to interview for an internship at a major talent agency and wrote to me with a hair question. This beautiful girl is a natural brunette, but had taken to coloring her hair blue, but she wasn’t sure if it would impact a major talent agency’s decision to hire her and asked if she should color it back to brunette. I stress the importance of being authentic and presenting the “true you.” With that in mind, here was my response:
“Dear Elle- I remember you well and I LOVE your look. As you recall from class lectures, I have a bias toward people with tattoos, piercings, mohawks, faux hawks, blue/pink/rainbow hair etc.! Although I have none of these things (nor do I see any of them in my future), I tend to embrace friends, co-workers, students, and potential hires who have an interesting look. Rightly or wrongly, I make positive judgments about people with unique physical expression.
That being said, I am not the norm. I repeat: I AM NOT THE NORM! In many cases, your first meeting at a company will be with an executive in Human Resources. They are paid to make judgments about you for their company and you have no idea how this will be recieved. Don’t give them a visual reason to show you the exit door. Your individual style shouldn’t overpower your skill or personality, so in this case, err on the side of being a little more conservative.
I use Nicki Minaj as an example of this: we all know her raunchy lyrics, provocative attire, and the overall explicit nature of her persona, yet when she’s a guest on a morning talkshow, like “Kelly and Michael,” she adjusts her appearance to the occasion and wears a dress that covers her knees, elbows, and even her boobies. Her personality can come through even more, as we are not distracted by her fantastic, yet overtly sexual appearance—and that is what you should do as well: be YOU in the context of a grownup office environment.
If you are interviewing at a studio or talent agency, cover your tats, take out your nose ring, cover your toned abs (keep the crop tops at home), and make sure your hair is closer to the color you were born with. Ladies should wear heels, skirts that are an inch or two above-the knee or at the knee (keep your minis for the weekends), or pants that fit well. No need to start shopping at Ann Taylor just yet, but keeping it young and fresh isn’t just about showing skin. Men should wear a suit and tie. It’s that easy! Have a beautifully pressed button down shirt and make sure your shoes are shined. Get that? No sneakers.
So, my darling, go back to being a beautiful brunette while you are interviewing. Once you’re hired and understand the company culture, you can make adjustments to the above. Keep being YOU!
PS- As an update, Elle was hired to be an intern at WME-IMG and is now interning at Groundswell. Brunette or Blue haired, Elle is a star in my book. Like Elle, I hope you embrace what makes you uniquely you and apply for jobs where you will be able to work hard and shine!
Has your appearance ever impacted your ability to be hired? Email me and let me know.