Many of the artists on the CMA Awards owe their "camera-ready" look to the hair and makeup wizards of Nashville's Trim Classic Barber and Legendary Beauty, who debuted last year as the event's backstage salon. While about half of those who appear on camera travel with their own entourage, the rest of the nominees, presenters and performers trust their look to the Trim team, whose performance is conceived and executed with the precision of a military operation and the artistry of a symphony orchestra.
They start by researching the looks of their customers as well as the latest trends. Next comes a thorough once-over of their backstage area, next to the green room in the Sommet Center where the CMA Awards event is held.
"We know exactly how many artists we can handle in about eight chairs and four hours," said Melanie Shelley , Trim Owner and Founder. "We know how much lighting we need, how much electricity we'll have for our blow dryers, which artists will bring their own team and which will call on us to create their look."
Planning also involves scheduling appointments for Trim's approximately 25 stylists and assistants on Awards day. They begin at the salon's 12th Avenue location in Nashville near Music Row, from 8 AM until 2 PM, after which they scatter to work with selected artists in their hotels and then regroup at the Sommet Center at 6 PM.
"The CMA Awards is just about the highest-stress environment that a hair and makeup person can work in," Shelley said. "Photo shoots are easy because you can take your time and stand by in case you need to touch anything up. On live TV, there's no retouching. Sometimes you're given just 30 seconds from when somebody shows up, someone does hair, someone else does makeup, you fluff and fix and then they're onstage."
The work continues after the artist leaves the Trim station, from supplying artists with straws so that they don't smudge their lipstick to discreetly checking each superstar's teeth immediately before they make their entrance.
Inevitably, surprises happen, like when a 15-piece ensemble accompanied Keith Urban to his appointment to be made up with a 1940s look, all within 20 minutes of their performance. But that only makes the payoff sweeter. "We scrambled," said head stylist Stephanie Trail , laughing. "We did it. And they looked great. I have to say, it was awesome.""The 42nd Annual CMA Awards" will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn. The three-hour gala will be carried live by the ABC Television Network from 8-11 PM/EST, 7-10PM/CST.
How do I know? I read CMA Exclusive.