How do I get a guy to fall for me?
Give him something so special, that he can’t forget you—ever. Like a mullet.
You’re probably scratching your head right now, thinking, “I would never do that to anyone.” But I did, and then my gift—my invention, actually—took on a life of its own.
I was working at Carlton Hair in Beverly Hills when a new salon called Umberto was about to open on nearby Cañon Drive. Umberto Savone was one of the most talented hair stylists in the industry as well as a brilliant businessman. He was tall, with thick salt-and-pepper hair, and oozed charm. The combination of his handsome looks, savvy, and charisma are the main reasons why he attracted a high-class clientele.
The new salon emerged out of a few stores joined together by atmosphere and décor. Savone had torn down walls to create a massive, unified space with roughly 75 stations and 10 dressing rooms shielded by black curtains that were located in the rear center of the salon. The reception area at Umberto featuring the products for sale was in the center of the salon. On the second floor, he had private rooms which could be rented and decorated to a stylist’s own taste for those with a following. The rooms contained a chair, shampoo bowl and felt very secluded from the commotion downstairs.
One day during my lunch break, I went to Umberto to apply for a job. Now that I had a few years of top quality experience under my belt, my résumé was impressive enough for me to land an enviable chair. It was an opportunity that would change my life forever.
Savone soon filled his salon with the top stylists in town and an A-list client roster. The first week the salon opened, Brigitte Nielsen and her then boyfriend, Sylvester Stallone, came in for haircuts. I happened to be standing by the reception desk when Brigitte walked in. She was so tall that my head would have made a good shelf for one of her breasts. I was surprised to see that Stallone was much shorter in person than he appeared in his movies. Despite their height difference, they were a gorgeous couple and once word spread of one of Hollywood’s biggest celebrity items coming to Umberto for their hair styles, business started to heat up.
My first celebrity client at Umberto was actress Sela Ward, who was referred to me by another client. A caring and beautiful woman—even more beautiful in person than onscreen—she began her career as a Maybelline model. Well-known for her Emmy-award winning role in the mid-90’s TV show Sisters, she is now more recognized for roles in LA Law, The Fugitive, House M.D., and CSI: NY. Sela became a good friend and one of my favorite clients. I remember being so flattered when she called her ex-boyfriend (and still good friend) and recommended that he use me as his personal stylist. The timing could not have been more perfect. He was filming his new television show, MacGyver, and was in desperate need of a new hair style. I was the lucky girl who was called upon to create a fresh new look for the show’s star, Richard Dean Anderson.
The first time he came into the salon, he strolled directly toward me and introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Rick. You must be Diana. Sela tells me amazing things about you!”
After chatting with him, his warm personality made me feel comfortable. It wasn’t too long before I knew exactly what to do: I gave him a radical cut and added highlights. I wanted to start a trend, not follow it. So love me or hate me, I am the one responsible for introducing the “MacGyver Mullet” aka “The MacMullet.” It was the mid-1980s. The mullet was “business in front, party in the back” and after Rick wore it well, you began to see it on sets, in offices, and in bars all over America.
After that first meeting, I became his personal hairstylist for the next two decades. MacGyver took off, and I soon had to make myself available to Rick anytime day or night, doing his hair at home, on the set, or wherever and whenever he needed. I was always on call and, as a result, he became dependent on me. Even though I never appeared on MacGyver, my work was a central “character” on it!
Even though we catered to celebrities on a daily basis at Umberto, whenever Rick came in for appointments all the clients, the receptionist, and other hairstylists stopped what they were doing to acknowledge his presence. He had an electric aura that made every woman around him weak-kneed. When the receptionist nervously handed him a robe, beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
I moved on from Umberto to a couple of other Beverly Hills salons, and Rick occupied my chair wherever I went. All of the salons had dressing rooms, but in various configurations and locations, allowing for different degrees of privacy.
At one salon that had dressing rooms located centrally in the salon, Rick smiled as he walked by me to change one day. I was finishing with another client, but I noticed that his smile that day had a different character from the one I usually saw. After she paid me and left, I met him by the dressing room. Rick slowly entered and paused as he was closing the door. He didn’t say a word; he just kept smiling. My face turned red as I inched closer to him and he quickly closed the door.
This is the beginning of a long, happy story with lots of happy episodes. Yes, I will share them…when somebody asks me the right question on “Dear Diana!”
Even after MacGyver ended, we remained close. I continued to do his hair in the years between MacGyver and his next series, Stargate SG-1, in which he played a lead role from 1997 to 2005. I didn’t see him as much when Stargate began because this show was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, but he would still fly me up there to do his hair. It was a lot easier to work on him for that show because the mullet had long since been out of fashion. Now he was playing Colonel Jack O’Neil so all I had to do was give him a buzz cut.
Our dressing room trysts eventually came to an end, but our friendship remained intact. The new millennium had just begun when we had a great reunion with all of his friends for his fiftieth birthday party at a bowling alley in Santa Monica. In tribute to his reaching the half-century mark, his party was a 50’s theme and guests came dressed in Happy Days-style costumes¾leather jackets, cardigan sweaters, poodle skirts, and saddle shoes. Ironically, the only guest at the party who refused to dress up like this was Rick’s friend and producing partner (and my long time client), Henry Winkler. After ten years of leather jackets, jukeboxes, and hula-hoops, The Fonz had clearly had enough.
Now, here’s the best part: Thanks to Henry, MacGyver’s back. Just days ago, the announcement came out in Variety that he’s sold his MacGyver reboot to CBS. Long live my mullet!