Being around beautiful women, catfights, deception, and drama is all in a day’s work for Nicole Frank ’91. As a hairstylist in charge of grooming two of the stars of the TV series Desperate Housewives, Frank puts in fifteen-hour days to keep the actresses looking their best even in their characters’ worst moments.
Originally from Boyertown, Pa., Frank fell in love with haircutting at an early age. Although she majored in English at IUP, she moved to Las Vegas only a few months after graduating and enrolled in the Southern Nevada University of Cosmetology.
Her work ethic and creative skills earned her a feature on the E! Channel’s Fashion Emergency show as a rising hairstylist. Frank’s career took a major leap in 1998 when she was selected as one of eleven hairstylists (out of two hundred applicants) to work at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
With new doors opening, she moved to Los Angeles and broke into show business. Her first hair styling work for a film was an independent feature called Creep. Her follow-up work included other independent films and commercials, hairstyling and some makeup for video games produced by Westwood Studios (including Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun starring James Earl Jones), the movies Spartan and Sideways, and several episodes of The West Wing.
“These last four years have been fast and furious,” she said. “I’ve always had something to do.” Since landing her job with Housewives, Frank has been putting in sixty-plus-hours’ weeks. She also worked on the upcoming movie Lords of Dogtown, which required her to create more than six thousand of her specialty hair extensions to duplicate the look of surfers and skateboarders from the 1970s.
Frank believes that her education helps her work better with producers. “They don’t always expect that someone who is ‘only’ a hairdresser can deal with them on their own terms,” she said. “Breaking past their stereotype helps me get further with them.”
Although her work schedule kept her from vacation for several years, she is planning a trip to Prague. “There’s been a lot of moviemaking there,” she said. “But I really want to see the castles and gothic architecture. Plus, it’s great for antiquing.”
“Each day poses a certain set of challenges,” she said. “I worked hard to get here, but I still feel lucky each day.”