Lights, camera - Janice!
Working in films and television keeps her creative
Janice Radcliff of Metropolis Hair Studio
Her hair studio is named after a classic Fritz Lang silent film – one might take a hint that Janice Radcliff has always had an affinity for the cinema and the artistry of its illusions.
“I guess that is why I called it a studio, not a salon, because to me it is art,” Janice said of her profession as a hair and makeup stylist.
Since 1998, she has owned Metropolis Hair Studio in various Fort Smith locations and has been a hair stylist for 30 years. Before starting her own business, she worked in Los Angeles where often she was preparing actors and models for auditions or head shots. Janice also tried stand-up comedy in L.A., where she was funny enough to survive the terrifying risk of a live audience’s instant reaction.
All of her experiences have influenced her philosophy and standards about the art of style, including her desire to excel at what she has chosen to do. There’s one more element in her approach, she says – listening.
“Listening is so much of it,” she explained. “And if I can pick up on a person’s body language and certain cues, I can really help someone to look their best.″
She developed loyal patrons and soon found that her clientele liked best when she gave them individual attention and private appointments. Over time, Metropolis has evolved into a studio where Janice works alone or with only a few select stylists.
Besides the hair studio, she began doing hair and make-up for film and video with 5Star Productions and found she really enjoyed using her skills to style actors for commercials, adapting to the specific needs of shooting in different lighting circumstances.
Recently, her professional experience brought her the chance to work with movies and national commercials being shot in Arkansas. She recently styled the hair and makeup of the women of “Duck Dynasty” for a Walmart production.
“They were very down-to-earth and nice,” she said. “When they saw my curly hair, they all wanted to be styled curly or wavy for the shoot.”
She has recently taken a couple of two-week leaves from Metropolis to work on the films “Valley Inn” and “Gordon Family Tree,” (yet to be released) both shot in northwest Arkansas locations. Both are independent films, with lean but highly skilled crews. Janice’s ability to do both hair and makeup was key.
“During ‘Valley Inn,’ we all stayed in a big house together,” she said of the cast and crew. “We were just immersed in it.” After working alone much of the time in her studio, Janice said she really enjoyed the tight teamwork a movie set requires.
“If there is even one person not doing their part, it can go off the rails. It’s a really collaborative effort – everyone is important,” she explained. The first film led to the second and Janice hopes to work again with the actress and director Joey Lauren Adams on her next project here.
Once again, listening and understanding how a person (or a character) wants to present themselves enhances her work. Only in film, she watches how her subjects look in the monitor instead of a mirror.
Learning something new refreshes her, Janice feels. She’s now taking acting classes with a professional coach she met on set. New experiences inspire her, but she doesn’t expect Hollywood to take her away from Metropolis forever.
“I love making people feel good about themselves,” she said. “It’s more than just hair. I can see them blossom and feel more confident.”
Metropolis Hair Studio is located at 2500 Rogers Avenue, Suite 6, Fort Smith, 479-420-5515.