In the ‘90s, Jason Rail was the hair and makeup artist for cult classics like The Doom Generation, where he designed Rose McGowan’s iconic dark red bob (which he insists is definitely not a Pulp Fiction rip-off). He recently started Instagramming some of the incredible polaroids he took of all our ‘90s icons.
In an interview with Vice, Rail (who still works as a hairstylist, but not on-set) says he sometimes misses working on movies, but the atmosphere changed a great deal towards the end of his film career. He said he once was able to talk with directors about a character, design her look based on her history and motivations, but then it became, “Make sure she looks pretty.”
In the photos, Rail is often posing with performers, or catching them in a moment of playfulness, probably because he considered himself something of a therapist. Or “babysitter,” as some actresses, like McGowan, were basically teenagers. He tells interviewer Hannah Ongley:
I had a reputation for getting along with some “problematic” actresses, like Rose, Annabella Sciorra, Penelope Ann Miller… For some reason they would be super sweet with me, because of that personal relationship, but they would be purposely rude to other people. I had to try to distance myself from that. Like I said before, if you have a toothache, or you’re late on your credit card payment, they don’t care. You have to listen to their problems, like “Oh my god, there was a yellow part in my egg whites and I couldn’t eat it,” and be like, “How did you make it through that day?!” It’s one of those parts of the job that they don’t really train you for. Sometimes you have a handful, and you have to pacify them, and sometimes you have lump of clay, and you have to animate them.
Here’s just a few of the photos in which Rail helped animate these actors:
Rail also says he was never particularly starstruck by performers: “With actresses, I couldn’t care less—they’re doing their job, I’m doing mine.” Or, maybe, we often don’t really know who we’re working with until we look back.