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NYFA Welcomes Emmy-Nominated Celebrity Stylist Cheryl Marks For ‘The 20/20 Series’


August 24, 2020

On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of welcoming Emmy-nominated celebrity stylist CHERYL MARKS as part of The 20/20 Series, created by NYFA’s Creative Director of Filmmaking and Cinematography, Liz Hinlein. The conversation was moderated by Hinlein and was held virtually, allowing individuals to join NYFA and the special guests from all over the world.

The 20/20 Series, created by Hinlein, is a virtual pop-up event that takes us into the homes, hubs, and workspaces of an array of dynamic creative visionaries to allow for relaxed, engaging conversations on craft, creation and artistic vision.

Liz Hinlein (Left) and Cheryl Marks (Right) for The 20/20 Series

Cheryl Marks is an Emmy-nominated TV, Film and performing arts hair stylist. Her credits include the Disney+ original film Noelle, Hair Spray Live!, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Top Chef, The Bling Ring, How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), and The Voice, which earned her four Emmy nominations for “Outstanding Hairstyling.”

Marks spent 4 seasons on NBC’s The Voice and was the Hair Department Head for TV series Enlisted, Selfie, and Flaked, as well as the highly successful films Pitch Perfect 2 and Pitch Perfect 3. She has additionally worked on TV commercials for brands like Old Navy and, both with Elizabeth Banks.

Hinlein asked Marks to walk through her process for the global audience when walking on a new project, whether on television or film, and how she creates the looks for her actors. “For someone like Anna Kendrick, who I have worked with before (Pitch Perfect 2, Noelle, Dummy), I will collaborate with her first on a personal level...but my questions are always aimed towards the director about the script,” she shared.

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ (Hair by Cheryl Marks and her team)

“Sometimes the network can even get involved [in the approval process] if there are wigs or something like that. If I am hired on a project by the actor (like Anna Kendrick), I advocate for them if there is something particular they want. If I am hired by the network, I play the middleman. It happens all the time and sometimes hair is never smooth sailing.”

In some cases, Marks isn’t just on set working with her actors and the director, but she can be in charge of a whole team who oversee tasks like “taking care of the continuity book, the hair pieces, creating mood boards” and other portions of production many do not consider involving hair for the production. “I learned that, especially on bigger films you have to turn over some control and trust your team.”

For the Pitch Perfect films, Marks notes how lucky she was to work with the team she did and they have been constant collaborators ever since. When asked what exactly she looks for in her team, Marks shared: “When looking for hairdressers, I am looking for someone who is collaborative, strong with hair, and has a hair speciality {good with wigs and certain hairstyles).”

Cheryl Marks preparing an actress on set

When asked about the difference between working on a television series and working on a scripted series, Marks shared that it comes down to the time for preparation. “Every week [for television], you may get a new script and you need to constantly prepare, whereas a movie becomes your baby and you know the script by heart and there are generally no surprises. Movies aren’t necessarily easier, but they are easier to anticipate.”

At the end of the conversation, Hinlein thanked Marks for sharing her expertise with the global audience and Marks closed by encouraging aspiring stylists in their career journey:

“Start with a salon and get your foundations strong (hair cuts, etc). Start slowly and work on low budget films. It’s easier to ease into it rather than going in cold; develop your skills before jumping in.”

New York Film Academy would like to thank Emmy-nominated stylist Cheryl Marks for joining the NYFA global community to discuss behind the scenes production for The 20/20 Series, created by and moderated by Liz Hinlein.

To watch the full conversation, view the video below or watch on our Youtube channel.

These guests are not faculty and do not teach at NYFA, but they have appeared to share their stories and experience with our students. As guest speakers are scheduled based on their availability, NYFA cannot guarantee whether a guest speaker will visit during a student’s attendance or who that guest speaker may be. This guest speaker forum is not part of any NYFA curriculum and attendance at guest speaker events is purely voluntary. Students should be aware that guest speaker events do not represent a job opportunity nor are they intended to provide industry connections.

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