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Makeover Madness

From: Ross Reports
by: Terri Roberts

There are other ways, too, of altering your look without necessarily making permanent changes. Candice Azzara, whose resume includes such recent high profile films as In Her Shoes, Catch Me If You Can, and Ocean's Twelve has, for decades, used a variety of wigs to recast her look according to the needs of the role. And she has the selection of headshots to prove it. (To see her various looks, log onto www.candice-azzara.info.) The New York-trained actress says she began experimenting with wigs when she used a hairpiece during a Broadway show in the 1970's. When she began doing commercials (she's racked up over 400 by now), it occurred to her that wigs could help her tweak her look when going out for housewife roles. It worked, and soon she was collecting all kinds of wigs for all kinds of jobs.

"I found so many wigs that were so delightful looking and funny!" she laughs. "If you look at the Golden Girls, they have funny hair. You know what I mean? Their hair is not serious. Look at Desperate Housewives, even. Their hair tells a lot about them."

Azzara has three basic colors of wigs she uses all the time. The red has won her a lot of work, the blonde is often used for commercials, and the darker wig is for more ethnic looks. What wig she uses for what audition is dependent on the character clues she culls from the script--name and description, age, ethnicity, economic status, job, marital status, etc. She creates an entire look for the role before she walks out the door to the audition. And because she is also an artist, Azzara tends to look at characters as paintings; she is attunes to patterns and color choices, and uses wigs, makeup, clothing and accessories as her palette.

Making clear, definite choices and taking risks are the norm for this comedic actress. "It's important that you go in there with your own point of view, and that you know what you can contribute," she insists. "The director shouldn't have to do your homework for you. The thing is to make it easy for everybody. I think that an audition is an opportunity to show what you can do, so if you don't get this job, you get another job. And that's always happened to me. When I auditioned for Rhoda, the didn't give me the job, but they tried me for another job. That didn't work out , and they tried me again, and they gave me a recurring role. The audition is the most important. When that door opens, that's your shot."

Neither does Azzara worry about showing up at an audition wearing a different colored wig than the one in the headshot her agent sent in. "You've still got to go because you've got to risk. It's happened my whole life," she admits. "It happened with Soap. I went in there for a certain character, and the had me come in for a gun moll character. And I had my thick blonde hair at the time. I teased it up to the ceiling, and I got a recurring role on that show.

"I don't think you can put everything on black and white. You have to be free as a creative artist,a nd say, 'Alright, they sent that picture in, but I see it this way.' And then you go in with your picture/resume and you create this character. And it's just not the casting director that's looking at you, either. You have the producers, the writers, sometimes the network...a whole group of people looking at you. And you don't know, you may be right for something else. You can't limit yourself. You can't be frightened."

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