In Do Revenge, Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes Put a Gen-Z Twist on ’90s Hair

In Do Revenge, Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes Put a Gen-Z Twist on ’90s Hair

Published September 17, 2022
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By Arden Fanning Andrews

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“An elevated Miami fantasy” is how hairstylist Katie Ballard describes the aesthetic she created with the help of Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes for Netflix’s Do Revenge. In the dark comedy, Hawke plays Eleanor, a wealthy outcast who comes together with Mendes’s character Drea, an insider experiencing a fall from social grace, all at the expense of their prep school enemies. Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Do Revenge reimagines the familiar thrill of a plot-driven makeover scene. “That was essentially what Jenn was going for—it’s set in modern day, but she wanted to recreate that ’90s teen film,” says Ballard, noting that 10 Things I Hate About You and Clueless were name-checked as references in the hair and makeup trailer and beyond.

Ballard, who also worked on Hulu’s Candy and Peacock’s A Friend of the Family, noticed immediately that Do Revenge’s cast members were some of her most valuable influences. To map out the visual arc of Eleanor, who transforms into an “it” girl to exact their revenge, Ballard made time to listen to Hawke’s ideas. “As I sat and chatted with Maya, the references that came up were actually her mom, Uma, and Taylor Swift,” says Ballard of what became “the most interesting part” of designing each character’s style. Hawke, who was filming Stranger Things in tandem, wore wigs throughout the film. A long brunette version that matched her natural hair color during her “awkward” phase in the beginning, and a bright blonde that Ballard notes represents her “coming into her power.” Hawke and Ballard referenced the iconic Pulp Fiction bob that Uma Thurman wore for the latter, but this time in a Swift-level shade of blonde designed by wig artist Robert Miller-Navarre. As a “love letter” to her favorite accessories brand, Ballard crowned Hawke in Lelet’s Scales headband for Eleanor’s transformation. “The scene where you see that switch, she’s sitting in the bathtub, and her hair’s slicked back, she’s wearing red lipstick, she’s got a glass of champagne, and that was a transitional moment for her, and after that, her look becomes a bit more edgy, maybe a little bit more rock and roll,” Ballard explains.

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Aside from the queen of Cruel Intentions, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays the schoolmaster, every cast member was younger than Ballard—and deep in the Y2K revival that has overtaken style codes in 2022. “They were all coming in asking for looks that were things that I did to my own hair in the ’90s,” Ballard says. Mendes, in particular, had her own on-screen visions. “For Drea, I came in with the original ’90s icons in my mind—Gwen Stefani, Drew Barrymore, Julia Stiles, Cameron Diaz, Alicia Silverstone,” says Ballard, who notes that Mendes is a style icon in her own life today, and brought in references that are influencing her style at the moment, like Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and Bella Hadid. For Drea’s character arc, soft styles like pigtails and tendrils slowly become more “snatched” as her nerves wind tighter throughout the plot. “It’s not a word that I used a lot until this film, but it’s basically just not a hair out of place,” says Ballard, who used Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment for sleek buns and polished texture to mirror the energy. “If you picture a really slicked, high 40-inch pony, that’s the epitome of the ‘snatched’ look.”

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For Rish Shah’s character Rush, an “artsy cool dude,” pastel hair was already something he and Ballard had experimented with on Miss Marvel before filming. To capture the right shade that contrasted the lavender in their school uniforms, Sky High by Good Dye Young offered a pale blue that felt realistic for his fade. “Right after we finished filming Do Revenge with him, he had a Vogue feature with his blue hair,” she says. For Ballard, this combination of talent and freedom of expression has been a long time coming. “I started my career working in print and fashion, so this was a big deal for me because I don’t always get to work with directors who are really knowledgeable in elevated fashion,” she says, adding that “Jenn knows her stuff.” They were able to deliver editorial looks on screen that will, hopefully, be as influential on future generations as the nostalgic scenes that inspired them.

Do Revenge is now streaming on Netflix.