Filming had begun on Shark Boy and Lava Girl and I was having the time of my life. Staying in a little apartment in Austin, Texas with my mom by night and saving the world (or at least Planet Drool) as a superhero by day. It was all a gal could ever ask for. From the moment I set foot on set, I felt like a superhero. I was Lava Girl.
About two weeks into filming, Robert called a meeting with my mom and I…which could totally sound scary, but he promised it wasn’t anything bad. We had filmed a series of important action packed shots in those first two weeks and Robert had finally had the chance to be able to see them. So my mom and I met Robert in his office (which by the way is the coolest ever). He went right to the point, telling us that he’s reviewed the footage and he had good news and bad news. He said the good news was, the shots were looking amazing and I was going a fantastic job (yay, then what in the world could be the bad news?! I thought). The bad news, was that I just didn’t look like a convincing superhero. The suit was awesome, but something was missing. He told us he played around with some editing and finally figured out what it was…Lava Girl needed pink hair. He had digitally made my hair pink in the scenes we had filmed and I instantly got so excited. Pink hair?! Pink was my favorite color, to wear it on my head would be so awesome! My mom was a little less enthusiastic, worried about her 11 year old daughter having PINK HAIR. But Robert assured her that it would be just as awesome as I thought it was!
So that weekend, they had me come in and meet with the awesome hair crew to dye my hair pink! Now, being a child, I had absolutely no idea what went into dying ones hair. You don’t just magically have pink hair? It’s not like a pill you can take or a shampoo? And to make matters even crazier for the poor hair team, pink hair was not a thing yet. There was just no such thing as permanent hair colors in those outrageous shades (I would like to think we totally started the hair dying trend of the 2010s). The only thing they could do was mix a pink shade and purple shade of semi permanent hair color that could only be found at Hot Topic.
The process basically took an entire day. They took my perfectly healthy brunette hair and bleached my entire head. Not just once but three times to get it super platinum white. Then, they finally added the semi permanent pink they had concocted. Once it was done, I had the awesome pink hair of my (and Lava girl’s) dreams. BUT that wasn’t the end of it. About every week, my brown roots would grow out. So I would have to go back in to get my roots bleached and recolored. I also wasn’t allowed to wash my hair much because the color was only semi permanent. We always had the pink on handy for days it just needed a bit of a touch up (three barrel crimping and hot set lights can be very damaging to hair as well). So crazy, but so fun. The hair crew deserved a huge kiss after all the hard work they did with my hair.
One of the funniest things about having pink hair for those five months, was the looks I got from people who saw me out and about on the weekends when I wasn’t working. Moms would give my mom a dirty look or even pull their children away from us like I was some form of devil. My mom and I would giggle, knowing it was all for a movie, not because I was an 11 year old problem child. The absolute worst part of the pink hair, was the damage and terrible condition it left my hair in.
Filming ended right before Christmas, and because of how damaged it was, I needed to wait until after Christmas to even try to dye it back brown. So during the holiday season (because a magical hair fairy did not follow me home from set), I had weird grown out brown roots and the rest of my hair was pink. It wasn’t until later that I was able to bleach the pink back out of my hair and return to my natural (this time very damaged) brown hair. After it was back brown, it was in such bad condition that the hair stylist from set told me I couldn’t go swimming in the pool (because of chlorine) or the ocean (because of the salt) because there was a risk it would all just fall out (I’m sorry, what?!)! It was swim cap or bust for me that summer. And ps. swim caps are a total bummer when trying to attract your crush at 12 years old in the summer, but I guess he liked me for my personality?
All in all, I would say that the pink hair was totally worth it. I’m not gonna lie, I sometimes miss it and contemplate dying it back for fun…if I could find a magic hair fairy that would allow my precious locks to not get profusely damaged (or if I was filming a SB&LG 2 😛 ). So yes, it was my hair and not a wig. Yes, it was the coolest ever…until it wasn’t. No, my hair didn’t fall out afterwards, it just hated me for a good two years. And yes, there are scenes in the actual finished movie where my hair is still brown and only digitally colored pink…can you find them?