A lot of time — and money — went into Halle Bailey’s look as Ariel for The Little Mermaid. Camille Friend, the hairstylist who worked on the live-action film, opened up about creating Bailey’s under the sea ‘do and why it was important for the actress to wear her natural hair.
For the majority of Bailey’s career, the 23-year-old singer has sported waist-length locs. “I knew a wig just wasn’t going to work,” Friend told Variety in an interview published on Friday, May 26. “I went to meet Halle’s family. Her mother is spiritual and they are a kind family … I started to understand who she was and why the natural hair element was important to keep.”
With this in mind, Friend told Variety that she came up with the idea of wrapping Bailey’s tresses, so she wouldn’t have to cut or color the “Do It” artist’s own strands. This allowed Friend to also stay true to Ariel’s signature red crown.
“If we take hair and wrap it around her locs, we don’t have to cut them and we don’t have to color them. We can change her color without changing her internal structure. Her structure and her hair are her,” Friend told the publication.
From there, Friend created a 30-inch custom-colored piece that consisted of “three shades of red,” she explained to Variety. Then, the beauty guru added loose pieces of hair that allowed Bailey’s crown to “dance” and float while under water.
Creating the whimsical coiffure was expensive, Friend shared, telling the magazine: “I’m not guesstimating, but we probably spent at least $150,000 because we had to redo it and take it out. You couldn’t use it and we’d have to start again. It was a process.”
Bailey previously opened up exclusively to Us Weekly about her many water scenes, sharing, “For shipwrecks, they’d turn on the wave machines and turn on the rain and thunder and you literally felt like you were in the middle of the ocean.”
She continued: “[It was the] most exhilarating thing in my life.”
The Georgia native revealed that she underwent “intense physical training for three months” and “every single day I’d either be up in the airs on wires, in a harness or I’d be in the water all day.”
She added: “It’s the most shape I’ve ever been in my life. But that was the toughest part I think, having to be that strong.”