Superfans of The Office should know the name Kim M. Ferry.
One of the great celebrity hair stylists in the entertainment industry, Ferry worked as a member of The Office’s hair and makeup crew for eight of the show’s nine seasons. She’s the woman who perfected Pam’s signature curls, the person who had the honor of massaging peanut butter all over Steve Carell’s head in Season 4’s “Night Out” episode, the mastermind behind the wigs you saw throughout the series, and so much more.
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Since Ferry booked a job on the science fiction series Babylon 5 in 1994, she’s gone on to work as a hairstylist for a variety of movies and television shows, including Pretty Little Liars, Stuck in the Middle, ER, Bunheads, Veronica Mars, and more. Over the decades, Ferry has worked with many different casts and crews, but to this day she considers The Office her “best job ever.”
Mashable spoke with Ferry about her time on The Office, along with some of the most memorable hair moments from the series. We also chatted about how she’s using her Instagram account, @hairferry.kim, to engage fans and help keep the show’s memory alive.
In a phone interview, Ferry explained that she was still working on Veronica Mars when executive producer Kent Zbornak reached out and asked if she wanted to work on a show called The Office. “I’d worked with him on one or two shows I think before that, and we had a pretty good relationship. So that’s kind of how I got invited,” Ferry said. “I have to say that the first six episodes [of The Office] I did not do. I wasn’t part of those. But Season 2, definitely.”
When Ferry joined the show for Season 2 she was excited to make a few changes. “I sat down with all the actors and talked to them about their looks. You know, ‘What do you want to move forward with? What do you want to change? How do you feel?’ That kind of thing,” she said. Those honest conversations led to one of the show’s greatest glow-ups: Michael Scott’s new hair.
Goodbye, Gordon Gekko. Hello, Michael Scott.
“Season 1 was a different hair department head, so I didn’t have any control of that. But when I knew that I had the job they sent me some tapes of the show, and when I watched the tapes I was like, ‘Oof.'” Ferry said. “I felt like it was a very severe look on [Steve]. I wanted to talk to [him] about it, and that’s the first thing I did. He was like, ‘Yeah, I definitely want to change it.'”
Steve Carell in Season 1, Episode 3 vs. Season 2, Episode 8.
Credit: Mashable composite: NBC via Getty Images
As for why Carell’s hair looked so noticeably different in Season 1, Ferry says the style was done intentionally. “What I was told was that his character in the first six episodes — basically they were going for like a Gordon Gekko [Michael Douglas’ character in the 1987 movie, Wall Street]. They wanted it to be slick. But I felt like it made him too, I don’t want to say creepy, but it wasn’t flattering,” she explained. Ferry already knew and loved Carell, because they had just worked together on the 2003 comedy, Bruce Almighty, so she wanted to make Michael Scott “a little more likeable.”
“[Steve’s] a good-looking guy. I wanted to showcase that… and really make him look well-groomed and a little more put together,” Ferry continued. She further elaborates on Carell’s monumental hair transition in Andy Greene’s oral history of The Office, but essentially, she re-styled it, did some blow-drying, and added a little lift to create the much softer image of Michael Scott that fans know and love today.
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The saga of John Krasinski’s wig
Fixing Michael Scott’s hair wasn’t the only lasting impact Ferry had on the show or its cast. During Season 3 of The Office, John Krasinski asked to wear a wig when filming the last six episodes so that he could star alongside George Clooney in the 2008 football film, Leatherheads. The Leatherheads role required Krasinski to cut his hair, which Office showrunner Greg Daniels wasn’t on board with, so he shut down Krasinski’s request. Rather than turning down the role, Krasinski went to Ferry for help, and the two teamed up for a top-secret wig operation.
Ferry recalls Krasinski coming to her with his dilemma, and though she felt she was putting her job on the line, she said yes. “He paid for the wig — a human hair wig made by a friend of mine, Natascha Ladek, who’s the best wig maker in town,” Ferry said. “She came in to do a secret little fitting for him, she made the wig, we got it, and it looked amazing. [Krasinski] came in a little later that day, and I had the wig hidden in a little secret spot ready for him. When it was just him and I, I put it on him, and then he went out and filmed.”
Instead of following the plan — which was to wait until the next morning to reveal the Halpert hairpiece — a wig-wearing Krasinski drove straight to Daniels’ office after shooting and made his case for starring in Leatherheads again.
“I very crazily and nervously grabbed my bag and jumped in my car,” Ferry recalled, explaining that she followed Krasinski to Daniels’ office as soon as she learned he’d left. Once she arrived, the door was closed, and she was told that Krasinski was already chatting with Daniels and Zbornak. While she nervously waited for an update, B.J. Novak walked over to her and said, “Hey Kim, is this about John’s wig?” Ferry was terrified that Novak and the rest of the writers knew about the stunt she and Krasinski had pulled, but before she could come clean, Novak said, “Well, I’ve gotta tell you… I just saw John and I feel like we’re gonna know if it’s a wig or not.”
“I’m thinking like, uh huh. He doesn’t know John’s wearing [the wig] right now,” Ferry said. “So it made me feel better. And I was like, ‘Well, that’s interesting.'” Just then, the door opened and Ferry was summoned into Daniels’ office. “I literally turned to B.J. and said, ‘It was nice working with you BJ,’ and I see Kent, and I see Greg sitting at his desk, and John is kind of sitting next to him, and I see the wig off sitting right in front of Greg,” she said.
Credit: The Office / NBC / Netflix
“The first thing Greg said was, ‘Wow. You guys have balls,’ and then goes, ‘but I have to say I didn’t see that coming.'” Ferry explained that Krasinski had walked into the office with the wig on and pitched all the reasons why Daniels should let him wear one on the show. “Greg kept saying, ‘No! I would know if you’re wearing a wig.’ So John leaned over the desk and said, ‘No I don’t think you would.’ That’s when he ripped it off and shut it down, and we got to do the wig.”
“It was worth it cause he really wanted to do that movie and I didn’t want to disappoint him,” Ferry said. “It was nerve-wracking, but it turned out OK. Thank god.”
The most elaborate hair moment on The Office
While Krasinski’s wig may have been Ferry’s most stressful hair moment from the show, her favorite hairstyle — and the one that required the most planning — was when Meredith shaved her head in “Lice,” Episode 10 of Season 9.
“That was three weeks of prep for me, and I had to be able to figure everything out, because Greg Daniels wanted [Kate Flannery] to shave her head. He really did. And I just couldn’t allow it,” Ferry explained. “[Flannery] was like, ‘I don’t want to shave my head!’ and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna let that happen.'” So Ferry called in a major reinforcement: Ed French, a makeup artist known as “The Godfather of Bald Caps.”
“It was amazing having him do the pieces and prosthetics… and when [Flannery] had to be all bald he did that,” Ferry said. “I did the wrap of her hair underneath and that’s really tricky too because Kate has so much hair, so it was really hard to make it look like a flat skull. I also bought a bunch of human hair that matched hers, so when she was grabbing the hair and letting go that’s what we were using.”
Ferry also had to coordinate with the props department about which tool Flannery would use to fake-shave her head. Dragging a real razor across the bald cap could have torn the prosthetic, so prop master Phil Shea created a clipper with a smooth piece in place of a blade. After several practice takes, Flannery mastered the fake head shave. To this day, some people believe that Flannery actually shaved her head for the role, which delights Ferry.
Though Meredith was clearly the star of “Lice,” it was also a huge hair episode for characters such as Pam, Angela, Pete, Erin, and Oscar — who wound up catching lice and having to slather their scalps in mayonnaise to suffocate the insects. For those wondering what it was like to sit for hours on set with a head covered in mayonnaise, Ferry revealed that the yellowish paste wasn’t actually a condiment found at grocery stores.
“In beauty school, when we do scalp massages there’s something called Cholesterol, and I know it sounds bad, because ‘cholesterol,’ but if you’re doing a scalp massage it has this very sweet scent to it,” she explained. “It looks very much like mayonnaise — just a tinge yellower maybe.”
When Ferry saw the scene called for mayo-covered scalps, she quickly voiced her concerns and searched for an alternative. “I was like, look, if you’re going to have mayonnaise in their hair it’s going to reek. It’s gonna really smell, and I don’t want to do that to anybody,” she said. “[Cholesterol] is a great product, and it’s conditioning, so it made their hair really soft and nice. No one was freaking out.”
Credit: the office / nbc / netflix
Keeping The Office alive through Instagram show-and-tells
Though Ferry said goodbye to The Office in 2013, the show remains dear to her heart and a major part of her Instagram presence. Ferry’s account is a space dedicated to sharing nostalgic mementos from the show and stories from her time on set. It’s all made possible by her very own Office time capsule — a storage unit in California that holds the photos, call sheets, continuity books, wigs, props, knickknacks, and gifts she’s saved from past television jobs.
“That’s literally my one in a million. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
Ferry couples candid shots of her and the actors with lengthy, descriptive captions that share her unique, behind-the-scenes point of view. She’s shared photos of Dwight’s wigs, Kevin’s infamous toupee, Jim and Pam’s wedding program, the Dundie Award that she was given when the series wrapped (every crew member got one,) and more. She even uses mannequin heads to give tutorials on how to create popular hairstyles from the show, such as Angela’s braids and Pam’s curls.
Since the production of The Office ran over a few weeks and Ferry had an obligation to start her next job on Pretty Little Liars, she, unfortunately, had to miss the final days of filming. But the years she spent doing hair for a show about a paper company remain some of her favorites. Her Instagram account helps her keep those memories alive, and gives fans of the show new behind-the-scenes stories and details to savor.
“We were really lucky. We had this great, fun, dysfunctional family. It was wonderful,” Ferry said. “We all really liked each other, and the cast and crew really got along. We would have birthdays for each other. We would go to each other’s houses. I would hang out with Angela and Jenna. They threw me my baby shower… You know, it was a family. We really were all so close.”
“I’m grateful for the entire experience,” Ferry said. “There are many jobs, there are many people, but there’s nothing like The Office. That’s literally my one in a million. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”
You can stream episodes of The Office(opens in a new tab) on Peacock(opens in a new tab).