5-minutes with Antebellum’s Yolanda Mercadel
She has worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest films, including: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Planet of the Apes, 12 Years a Slave and Green Book – just to name-drop a few. Fresh off her stints on Antebellum (Janelle Monáe) and Reminiscence (Hugh Jackman) we had a quick Q&A with hair maven Yolanda Mercadel on becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought-after hairstylists.
Where were you born?
Los Angeles, California.
What was your childhood dream?
To become a make-up and hairstylist for the movie industry.
So, dreams do come true?
Absolutely! The key is sticking to what you believe in, no matter what anyone says. Only we have control over our own destinies.
Which female has been your biggest source of inspiration?
My aunt, she is an actress and my idol. During my childhood, several movies were shot at our home. Watching my aunt perform in front of the camera was it…I knew I wanted to do makeup and hair one day.
What TV shows or films inspired you growing up?
TV shows: Bewitched, I love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie, Brady Bunch and Good Times. As for films: The Wiz, Valley Girls and Silence of the Lambs.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes. My grandmother, Pauline Mercadel. She is my go-to person for everything!
How do you decide what to work on?
I generally like to pick genres I haven’t attempted before. Whether it’s Benjamin Button, Terminator Genisys, Alex & Me or even Green Book; all these films couldn’t be more different to the other.
Green Book is one of my all-time favorite films. How did you get involved with the project?
Mine too. I got a call from Green Book’s department head, Geordie Sheffer. I had worked with her many years ago on Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. once I heard the concept, I knew I had to be a part of it.
How did you go about designing the hair for Tony Lip and Don Shirley?
The 1960s were heavily influenced by the working classes, music, independent cinema and social movements. Geordie Sheffer and I looked at various hairstyles from the era. We then compared notes, cut out pictures and collaboratively created a huge board. Finally, we discussed the looks with the actors. It was an absolute pleasure working with both Mortensen and Ali.
What do you enjoy most about being a hair designer?
The fact that no two heads are the same, I enjoy being challenged. I enjoy learning and crafting new hair techniques. I enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy collaborating with other make-up artists, designers and special effects mavens and coming up with something really beautiful and creative.
You’ve wrapped up the hotly anticipated Reminiscence with Hugh Jackman. Can you give us a teaser of what we’ll see this coming April?
I cannot say much about that film because it’s not in theaters yet. But I will say Hugh Jackman was amazing to work with. I feel the film will open many people’s eyes.
What’s your favorite project so far?
So far it has to be American Horror Story. I enjoyed working with Angela Basset, Kathy Bates and Gabourey Sidibe.
What type of project would you like to work on next?
I would love to do a suspense drama, I love working on those types of films, perhaps because I enjoy watching them. I loved Jodie Foster’s look in the Silence of the Lambs. The subtlety of her appearance greatly enhanced her powerhouse performance.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to become a hair designer?
Do not be afraid, practice makes perfect! Play with your family and friend’s hair and go buy yourself a mannequin head.