Ali Wong’s Hair Transformations On Netflix’s “Beef” Hint at Something Deeper

Ali Wong’s Hair Transformations On Netflix’s “Beef” Hint at Something Deeper

If you’ve ever felt the urge to cut bangs after a breakup, you know there’s no denying the connection between hair and emotions. Netflix’s new miniseries “Beef” — which has already clocked 70 million hours viewed since its April 6 release — highlights this phenomenon through its central character Amy Lau, played by comedian Ali Wong.

When viewers are first introduced to the wealthy plant business owner, she has long, sleek hair that complements her chic, minimalist wardrobe. However, after a road rage incident sends her spiraling, her seemingly perfect life slowly but surely crumbles underneath her. Amid a series of reckless decisions, Amy undergoes a dramatic hair transformation in the form of a platinum blond bob. Later, as she tries desperately to piece her family back together, she returns to her brunette roots, but this time with blunt bangs.

According to hair department head Nicole Venables, this aesthetic journey is an intentional part of the storytelling, masterminded by show creator Lee Sung Jin. “He knew exactly what he wanted in all of his characters’ hair looks, especially Amy Lau,” she tells POPSUGAR.

From testing over 20 wigs to the challenge of disguising Wong’s thick mass of hair, here are all the fascinating behind-the-scenes details on Amy Lau’s multiple hair transformations in “Beef.”

How Amy Lau’s Hair Change Reflects Her Emotional State

Whether it’s tucked behind her ears or up in a sleek pony, the long, straight hairstyle that Amy wears in the early episodes of “Beef” perfectly captures her Calabasas-cool lifestyle. But as things begin to unravel, she decides to make a drastic change. While on a business trip in Las Vegas, she debuts a blunt blond cut that could certainly be referred to as a “revenge bob,” especially considering that her nemesis, Danny Cho, gets arrested when attempting to sabotage her speaking engagement.

“It was clear that her emotional meltdown, internal rage-induced insanity tailspin, fueled by her obsession to destroy her nemesis, were all contributors,” Venables says of Amy’s blond transformation.

Why It Took 20+ Wigs to Find Amy’s Perfect Blond Bob

Amy’s sudden blond makeover represents the peak of her emotional break, which is why it was so important to get it just right. After testing over 20 wigs in what Venables calls “a total collaboration,” the perfect look was created.

“Sunny [Lee Sung Jin] and Ali were committed to exploring their blonde ambition,” says Venables. “It was a pleasure and an honor that they gave me creative allowance to design, curate, and bring inspiration and wig options to the table. We were all invested, made time and space for the creative process, discussions, shared pictures, and tested over 20 + wigs.”

After experimenting with a variety of lengths and blond tones, the team finally landed on a look. Then, wigmaker Robert Pickens worked his magic and created the platinum hand-tied lace wig in just 12 days.

“Now [it was] on me to carve out a precision cut, enhance the color, and style the wig, bringing Amy into her new reality,” Venables recalls. “Ali was extremely supportive at every turn and brilliantly owned it. Sunny gave his stamp of approval. [It was] a total collaboration; the creator, the actor, hair, makeup, and costumes.”

The Significance Behind Amy’s Brunette Bob

While cutting bangs has become a cliche when it comes to depicting emotional distress, it rings true for Wong’s character. After her spontaneous Las Vegas affair with a younger man (who also happens to be the brother of her nemesis), Amy returns home with yet another hair transformation — a dark brown bob with blunt bangs.

As Venables points out, this more subdued look “could be a cover-up, an expression of self-containment, the next phase.” The trendy-yet-modest sliced bob and soft fringe suggests that Amy is trying to walk back her reckless decisions — while also proving her to be quite the chameleon.

Transforming Ali Wong Into Amy Lau

Ali Wong and Ashley Park's hair in Netflix's Beef.

Despite being known for her long dark hair, Wong was more than happy to both cut and dye her hair for her role in “Beef,” Venables says. However, due to an intense filming schedule, the team ultimately opted for wigs as the production sometimes needed to shoot all three hair looks in one day. “The biggest challenge was disguising her extremely thick and long hair. I got the [wig] wrap itself down to about seven minutes and the application, styling, and finessing took about 25 minutes.”

Venables also credits her team members Jennifer Petrovich and Taylor Tanaka, who assisted with prepping and applying the wigs.

The Products That Helped Bring Amy Lau’s Looks to Life

To perfect Amy’s myriad of looks, Venables and her team used the Dyson Supersonic Professional Edition Hair Dryer ($429) to infuse the R&Co Centerpiece All-in-One Elixir Spray ($36) into hair, plus a dab of R&Co Zipper Multitasking Styling Lotion ($32).

She also used the Croc Masters Infrared Titanium Flat Iron ($199) to tame, condense, and seal the cuticle of Ali’s natural hair as well as the Leonore Greyl Huile de Magnolia Beauty Oil ($59).

Image Source: Andrew Cooper /Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

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