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Home » Featured Film Career for April 2023: Department Head of Hair
Featured Career April 2023

Featured Film Career for April 2023: Department Head of Hair

Alexandra Ford works in the Hair Department for film and television and splits her time between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. Recent credits include “Babylon,” “Platonic,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Reagan,” “13 Minutes” and many more. Outside of work, Ford enjoys life on the road with her husband, Matt Kirksey, drummer for the Flaming Lips, and her rescue dog, Mr. Bojangles.

How did you get started in the film industry?

I began my career working on a production called “Yellow” directed by Nick Cassavettes. I was lucky to work with a few local hair stylists on the show and also learn from a Department Head from Los Angeles.

Did you have any formal education or training related to the film industry before starting?

No, I did not.

Did you have any formal education or training related to your specific department on-set?

Yes, I attended both Barber School and Cosmetology School to gain both licenses in order to practice my craft.

What are some of your most recent successes (credits or accolades) related to your career in the industry?

The feature length film “Babylon” directed by Damien Chazelle is out currently and it was a dream to work on such a special period film and now the world is getting to see it. I’ve also started working closely with a Department Head in Los Angeles, Vanessa Price, who has brought me on as her Key on set with Seth Rogen, most recently a new show that will be on Apple+ called “Platonic.”

What has your career in the state’s film industry taught you?

When I started, I never knew that working in production was ever even an option as an Oklahoman. Now I know that I can have an amazing life, fully supporting myself with a career that isn’t a 9-5, but gives me freedom to pick and choose when I want to work, need to work and also need a break from work. It’s taken me many years to get to this place, but I am proud I have made it.

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

In 2020 I was able to join the IATSE Local 706 Hair and Makeup Guild in Los Angeles, Calif. Having that credential now allows me to truly be able to work as a hair stylist anywhere in the world and be considered an equal.

What is your favorite aspect of working in Oklahoma’s film and television industry?

My favorite part of working in Oklahoma is how wonderfully pleasant almost everyone is. Oklahomans are also some of the hardest working people I have ever met. They work hard to get the job done, take direction well and are also willing to learn. Oklahoma is a great place to learn your craft and people often are willing to help and teach.

What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone starting their career in Oklahoma’s film industry?

Say yes! Just say yes, without asking many questions. You are either available for the entirety of a day, or you are not!

How does someone in your field/department best promote/market themselves to those hiring in your industry?

By keeping your website and social media outlets up to date is a very relevant way to market yourself. I have found that reaching out via socials is a way to connect with people you are hoping to work with. Research their work, learn as much as you can about the people you want to work with, and its possible you may get to work with them one day if you make yourself known to them.

Are there any local film organizations, resources or events that have been beneficial to you in your career?

Being able to join the IATSE Local 484 was the first step in gaining more professional jobs in Oklahoma. Attending events like deadCenter Film Festival and local screenings around Oklahoma are an easy way to get involved in film and TV and meet people in the industry.

What’s the one item you can’t live without on-set, and why?

My set bag is full of all the tools I need on set. I can generally fix almost anything if I pack my bag before leaving the trailer in the morning and heading to set.

Would your career be impacted without the state’s film incentive program? If so, how?

It would absolutely be affected. The incentive brings many producers and film makers from out of state who have the money to make these tv shows and movies that are shot in Oklahoma and without them, I don’t feel that there are enough locals who have the finances available to shoot professional films and tv shows without the incentive.

Where do you see yourself – AND – Oklahoma’s film industry in the next five years?

I certainly hope to be working on a network TV series as a Department Head in Oklahoma. That has still yet to happen even after I have been in the industry for over ten years. I also hope for more locals to be hired on the larger budget films and tv shows that are being shot in Oklahoma. Many of the departments are small and are often brought in from LA and NY. I hope one day people will see that Oklahomans are equals in the quality of work we put out compared to the other coastal cities.

What are you working on now or next?

I’m in the process of being interviewed for a new show for Apple+. Here’s to hoping!

Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.

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