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BEAUTY SHOP

The Shop Girls
To play the diverse, colorful characters at Gina's, the filmmakers filled the cast with an eclectic, accomplished and hilarious roster of actors. The mix of talent is exciting and interesting, and Queen Latifah was thrilled with the final result. "We wanted to open this movie up to everyone,” she says. "Gina's whole idea is that a woman should be able to come and get her hair done no matter who she is, what color she is or how old she is, and be able to relax and have a good time. It was great to be able to cross cultural lines and have everyone be a part of this.

"I find that people are people, for the most part, and there's good and bad in everyone,” Latifah continues. "We're really a lot more alike than we are different. Even our differences are things that can be appreciated if we were to actually communicate and get to know each other a little bit. I've been around so many different kinds of people that I'm used to experiencing and enjoying other cultures and ways of thinking. I wanted our shop to be like that.”

Representing the best of Southern sass, Alicia Silverstone plays Lynn, the initially softspoken shampoo girl at Jorge's salon who dreams of wielding her own shears. "Lynn is a real country bumpkin from Blueridge, Georgia,” says Silverstone. "She's very bright and spunky and innocent, and really positive – she does everything she can to make the best out of every situation.” Lynn gets her big break when Gina takes a chance and lets her "cut some heads” – and its Lynn's affection for Gina that gives her the resolve to try. "I think Lynn is really surprised at how Gina is so nice to her and treats her with so much respect,” Silverstone continues. "Lynn doesn't usually get a lot of respect.”

Once Lynn gets a chair at Gina's, though, she has to earn respect all over again – in an urban salon she's out of her element, and many of the new girls aren't quite sure what to think of her. It's watching Lynn try to win the girls over that gives the film lots of laughs – and lots of heart. "From the get-go, nobody likes me at Gina's,” Silverstone says. "They don't know what to do with the fact that Lynn is white and so bubbly and happy and excited. She's got no ghetto in her at all, and these girls are a little rougher on the edges. They underestimate Lynn, but she's got her own edges as well, and they have to learn that.”

Not only did Silverstone get a great role, but she gets great hairstyles as well. Once Lynn lets her hair down (in more ways than one), she sports some of the most wacky ‘dos in the film. "I get my hair crunked out,” Silverstone laughs. "I make a transformation to fit in a little better, so I start having my hair done in these crazy styles.”

Silverstone loved her Beauty Shop experience. "It was really a very luxurious environment to work in,” she says. "I feel really blessed and honored to be a part of this. The audience is going to experience a really good time.”

Andie MacDowell echoes Silverstone's sentiments – she loved working with the cast. "It's just a really nice group of people,” she says, "and a wonderful atmosphere. Very cool, very artistic.” MacDowell plays Terri, a rich Southern patron of Jorge's shop who makes the jump to Gina's place because only Gina knows how to really tame her hair. Nervous at first, she soon finds she enjoys the new women she meets. They're not afraid to tell her like it is – and Terri's in need of a little straight talk.

"I live in North Carolina, so it's similar thing,” she says. "You go into a beauty shop and sit down with someone and it's almost like talking to a therapist. You sit down and someone touches you – they touch your head, they touch your hands if you're getting your nails done – and after you go week after week, you start to open up. Those people are your friends and therapists. They make you feel good.”

MacDowell enjoyed how Bille

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