March-April 2005: Home Shopping Host Lea Little
At first glance, it would seem to be one of the easiest jobs in the world: standing or sitting with an item, and talking for up to 60 minutes at a time about why we should buy it. But that can be deceiving, because some TV shopping hosts can be on the air for several hours in a shift -- and the heat of television lights in a studio can wear people down, much less their hair.
LEA LITTLE handles those challenges with great success at "Shop at Home TV," based in Nashville. She caught our eye for showing a close-cut, yet solidly-holding style medium-short style. It stays in position night after night well enough to make our Top Ten Tresses list for awhile. So we had to know how she does it - and Lea agreed to answer a set of questions we e-mailed her:
SUPER-HAIR: How would you describe your current style?
LEA LITTLE: Fun and functional.
S-H: How long have you had your hair in this style?
LL: Two years, on and off--it grows so fast that's it's hard to keep in one style.
S-H: What do you like about it? (Is there anything you dislike about it?)
LL: I love that I can just blow dry it and go. It's very easy to fix. The only thing I don't like is that I have to get it cut at least every three to four weeks to maintain it.
S-H: We heard you say on the air one night last year: "I'm all of 5-4 on a good, pouffy hair day." Please describe for us what a "good pouffy hair day" is -- and how often do you have one?
LL: I usually have my best "pouffy hair days" about one week after I get it cut. This is always the best time--just blow dry and go. Then about two weeks later, as it grows out, I become tempted to "tease" my hair in order to get it to fall properly. My hairdresser has taught me how to "back-comb" it but I just don't have the patience for it--and teasing/backcombing always makes it looked to "fixed"--I detest looking like a helmet-head.
S-H: It appears there's not much to challenge your hair when you're in the studio. What's the biggest problem you face keeping your style in place?
LL: Getting it cut. My stylist and colorist, Heather, is great and she keeps me looking good--she's fabulous. And I also try to catch up with Masood Max (our on-air stylist at Shop at Home). He gives my hair the most incredible cuts--but he's hard to catch up with.
S-H: Do you use any specific treatments to keep your hair in place? (Spray, gel, curl, etc.) What's your routine in getting ready for television?
LL: I use all of Masood Max's products. His "hairsplay" is the best I've found. Also, the Biolage fortifying treatment and leave-in conditioner--these are great. And I've just discovered how the spray-oil can give your hair such a shine--I use the Biolage shine renewal, but only at the very ends. And my sister-in-law, Kristi, taught me to use baby powder at my roots to keep my hair bouncy--I just have to be careful with this because if my highlights are too new and I use baby powder, I look like a ghost on camera. It's all a delicate balance.
As far as a routine---he's my "hair schedule"...:)
Three hours before my first show:
1) wash and condition with Biolage fortifying shampoo and conditioner.
2) use leave-in fortifier or Max's beyond straight
3) blow dry (sometimes I use cristalli liquidi by semi di lino--it adds great body and shine). There are some great blow-drying techniques I learned from Mitsi Bishop--she has a video called the "Finishing Touch".
4) determine what it needs--ideally I can just add a little hairsplay and go.
5) IF it's too long and Max hasn't been to town--I usually put in some big velcro rollers to give it some lift and I leave them in until I get to work (you should see the looks I get in traffic).
6) IF I need my highlights done, I add a little baby powder to the roots to give it some volume and movement.
7) IF all else fails, I use my Chi flat-iron and some Redken fabricate to make my hair do what I want.
8) bang touch-up--I'll add some of Max's "the end" to my bangs to make them more flat.
S-H: Do you still do entertainment reporting in Nashville, as we read online somewhere? Does your routine change for trips out and about?
LL: Since Shop at Home was purchased by the Scripps company, my outside projects have been limited. They want to keep me busy within the company--exclusively. But every once in a while there are projects I just can't resist. Regardless of where I am or what project I'm working on, I find that I'm most comfortable keeping the same style and not changing it up too much. It's boring, I know--but this just works for me. If I try something too different, I just don't feel like myself.
S-H: When was the last time your hair fell into your eyes in public? How did it happen?
LL: This happens on the air sometimes--when I'm in between those great cuts from Masood. I just usually push it away--and try to check it out in the breaks. The worst is if it happens in a cooking show--then it's not really appropriate to be fussing with your hair and I'm just kinda stuck.
S-H: What's the closest call you've had?
LL: A couple weeks ago, I threw my hair up in a pony tail for one of the cooking shows and about 1/2 way through the show the entire right side of my hair slipped out. It was a little tricky trying to fix it and make it look good without a mirror--all while I'm hosting the show.
S-H: We've noticed you wear glasses on occasion -- and we have a theory some women use them to block hair from getting in their eyes. Do glasses work that way for you?
LL: Sometimes--and sometimes it's just fun to try something new--as I mentioned, I try not to change my hair very often so sometimes wearing glasses just breaks the monotony.
S-H: What advice would you give someone who wanted to develop Super-Hair?
LL: Go to a great stylist--or two or three--and talk to them--ask lots of questions. Then choose the stylist that listens the most, the one that seems to "get it"--what you want and what you've determined together that will look good. Then try it out--and give it time. I always hate my hair for the first week after it's cut--then the second week it just falls into place perfectly. So there's a lot of patience involved. And it's important to change products--I've just learned this in the last year. There are some products I use for the first week after my hair is cut. Then the second and third week, it will hardly need a thing. Then just before it's time to get cut, I have an entirely different routine.
S-H: Who would you consider to have the best head of hair you've ever seen?
LL: Jennifer Aniston.
ADDENDUM: After we posted this interview, Lea e-mailed us to clarify one of her answers:
My hair doesn't actually take three hours to do--that's just when I start getting ready...hair, make-up, drive to work, pre-show at 1 1/2 hours before show time, etc. Usually I can fix it in about 15 minutes, max.
SUMMARY: Talk about a detailed explanation! We thank Lea for giving us such specifics about her preparations for on-air work -- and we never guessed the entire process would take three hours. We hope this will help those of you desiring a "good pouffy" style like hers. It certainly will make us take a very different look at baby powder!
Super-Hair Q&A Archive:
December 2004 -- Olympic Sprint Champion DeeDee Trotter
September 2004 - Jamie Colby's Industrial Flip
July 2004 - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Adrianna Butler
April 2004 - Susan McGinnis Goes Longer
March 2004 -- Bonnie Behrend
February 2004 -- Debra Messing's Stylist, Luke O'Connor
December 2003 -- Bonnie Bernstein, Crown Award Record-Breaker
November 2003 -- Kienji's colossal curls
September 2003 -- Aimee Myer, Aspiring Teen Model
June 2003 -- Deborah Gianoulis, Jacksonville Journalist
May 2003 -- Allison Curran, 2002 Best Hairstyle in Athletics
February 2003 -- Danae DeMasi, 2001 Newcomer of the Year
December 2002 -- Shannon Oliver of "The Bachelor"
October 2002 - Carolyn Hughes
August 2002 - Lynne Russell
June 2002 -- Eva Chavela, Rock Singer
April 2002 - Susan McGinnis, Best Bangs/Best Short Hair 2002
December 2001 - Rachael Nama and the "Locklear Look"
November 2001 - Onnie Willis, NCAA Gymnastics Champion
August 2001 - Yolanda Davis and The Flip
July 2001 - Miss Georgia 2001, Emily Foster
April 2001 - Cindy Hernandez's Cut of Controversy
November 2000 - Gina Tognoni and the Swing*
July 2000 - Britney Spears "FAQ's"
May 2000 - Shania Twain*
March 2000 - Jessica Simpson*
* Interviews with expert stylists about the woman's hair.
Do you know a woman who's willing to share her secrets of hair success? Is there a particular woman you'd like us to interview? Do you have a question we should ask? Simply e-mail us: SuperHair@email.com .
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