Lovin Those Locks!

This weekend there was a Locks Of Love charity event put on by Tony Pedregon Racing at the summit Racing NHRA Nationals in Norwalk Ohio. Supporters lined up to have 10 inches or more cut from their hair to be used to create wigs for those who have lost their hair due to medical ailments. There were also auctions etc to raise money for Locks Of Love. The idea for this event came from Tony’s young daughter, who gave something around 10 inches of hair herself!

This got me thinking about a trip to India that I was supposed to take in March of last year. Seems like a stretch I know, but stay with me here.

One of my brothers lived in Bangalore for 3 years, running operations for an international bank. I had planned on taking my little guy for a visit at the end of that 3 years, thinking he would better remember and absorb it all if I waited til he was 7. We were all set to go after months of teaching my boy about India, feeding him the cuisine, and getting him all prepped, when wouldn’t you know it, my brother had to move back to Sydney a month earlier than originally planned. The trip had to be cancelled, and we didn’t get to go.

I have had a fascination with India for many years. I find the culture intriguing, love the food and the people and the history. From an artistic point of view I think the women are incredibly beautiful, I love their saris, their make up, the inner strength and peace in their faces. And I love Bollywood.

Anyway, with my great love of rituals and pageantry, one of the things I had planned to do while in India, was to travel to Andhra Pradesh to Tirupati, to Tirumala, the world’s most visited site of pilgramage.

Everyday between 50, 000 and 100,000 take the 2 1/2 hour walk up the mountain to the temple, and wait hours for a 5 second viewing of the sacred Idol.

There are some 3000 steps to take. (like I would have ever survived that!)

I may have some facts confused here, but it is my understanding that Lord Venkateswara, one of the forms of the hindu god Vishnu is in residence at the temple.

Many of the pilgrams top the visit off with what is called “tonsuring”. The women wear their best saris, in shades of bright pink, orange and turquoise, and line up for hours outside the temple’s tonsuring room to have their heads shaven, in the belief that by doing so the God will grant them their wish. Some get tonsured as a sign of gratitude for blessings in their lives, and historically the act of tonsuring is done as a sign of completely surrendering one’s ego at the feet of the lord.

Both men and women get tonsured, and little kids too.

This family sits patiently after being tonsured. (I would still be complaining about the walk up…) Sometimes after the weight of such long, thick hair is removed the women get dizzy and have a hard time standing back up.

The hair is collected, washed and treated and sold to become wigs and hair pieces. Temple hair as it is called, is considered to be the highest quality hair available. The glossy, healthy, waist length hair has never been treated with anything harsher than Ayurvedic soaps and oils, and becomes the most lush, exquisite hair extensions and pieces.
There is such a huge market for temple hair that approximately 500 tons of it is harvested and sold at auction from Tirumala each year at top prices. The temple consequently has extraordinary wealth, which it pours back into the community.

I am sure some of the wigs and falls that I own must have come from temple hair. Maybe not from Tirumala, but from any of the temples in India that perform tonsuring.

So I missed the trip to Bangalore, missed staying at the Leila Palace, missed staying at my brother’s beautiful home, missed touring the sites with my sister in law and their much loved driver, Ramu. Seeing it all thru pictures just isn’t quite the same.

I know that the spectacular visual impact of India and its people would have left me so inspired.

But inspiration can also come in the form of a pint sized little girl who not only was willing to give up her own hair to help another, but also had the drive to make an event out of it, get her family involved and raise money and collect hair for Locks of Love.

I don’t know if they are still taking donations, but if you would like to help check out www.tonypedregon.com

If you would like more information about Tirumala check out this great blog by Esben Agersnap at www.eagersnap.blogspot.com

The Bra Tree

Recently I was at a convention and stumbled across a booth that was quite intriguing!

Actually, it was all the lingerie on display that caught my attention. Beautiful bras of all colors and fabrics, displayed in a way that made it so easy to see each piece. The different shapes and styles each standing out from one another in a clean, uncluttered way.
Now, I have a love of lingerie that although is not as extreme as the shoe thing, is still somewhat overwhelming. (A girl should always have fresh cut flowers, killer lingerie, and endless high heels…), so I was so busy checking them out that I didn’t realize the booth was selling the display device and not the garments themselves

Its called the Bra Tree, and works on the principal that you hang all your bras. I recently aquired some extra drawer space, so haven’t made the leap, but isn’t it cool?

You can check it out at www.bratree.com

The Anatomy of a Photoshoot

Have you ever wondered how a fashion shoot goes down?
Well, on the off chance that you have, I’m going to walk you through one that I did recently.

The shoot I’m going to show you was for a fabulicious feather vest that was just to die for.
The photographer was the amazing Kelly Cappelli, the hair guru was the genius Will Zecco, the model was Tamara Anthony, (one of those ridiculously beautiful girls who also happens to be fantastic fun) and we shot it at my favorite studio out here, Studio 5.

Now, the lovely Tamara is a brunette, and when we were looking at the vest, and at the concept

for the shoot, we thought it might be really cool to put her in a blonde wig.
Prior to a big shoot happening, there are meetings with the creative team (us) and meetings with the client/ad agency/marketing people etc all seeking out a meeting of the minds.

The vest was very pale, starting out white and graduating color to a soft pink. I didn’t want to overwhelm it or detract from it with a solid or strong lip, so I opted for a very dark and dramatic eye, and a soft wash of mouth.
Tamara has one of those amazing faces that you can do anything with, and she always looks drop dead gorgeous, so that gave me a lot of freedom.
I have bags of lashes, and in this case chose to use a really cool pair by Make Up Forever.

At this stage we were in what I consider ‘preliminary make up’. The framework is all set, but once hair is completed I know I may need to do some adjusting. Once we have her under the lights we run some test frames to see how it all looks, and I make any final adjustments needed before we start shooting.

So the beautiful brunette now heads over to Will to get wigged up.

The vest is hanging on the rail behind Will

Will is super clever with hair, and can really do anything you can think up. He can also create hair that can withstand anything, including fans blowing high speed, wild dancing, hanging upside down – you name it.
Did I mention that along with some big gleaming diamonds he’s a girl’s best friend?

I love watching him work!

Now we put Tamara under the lights, and Kelly starts working her magic. Kelly has the most amazing creative vision. I love love love shooting with her!!!
I can stand right behind her and watch over her shoulder, and still be completely wowed when she sends me the images to look at.
In her mind’s eye she can see so much more than the rest of us. She can paint her world with light and shadow and texture, and frankly, thats a huge part of what makes her such a brilliant and highly sought after photographer.

I can’t show you the final pictures of the vest, but I can show you a couple of the make up images.

I so love what I do! Its pretty cool when you get to do fun things with inspiring people and call it work.

Isn’t life fun?

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