In 1986, makeup artist and hairstylist Darrell Redleaf decided to take a chance on making his dreams come true. While working locally in Scottsdale, Arizona, he learned that a movie being filmed in town by Paramount, titled Campus Man, was looking for a hairstylist. “I talked to the production manager, Jon Landau—who later worked on Titanic—and he hired me for my first movie as the key hairstylist,” explains Redleaf. “They liked me because I could do hair and was a local hire.”
This first step helped Redleaf to realize a life goal that he had established a long time ago, when he first watched a 1978 Faye Dunaway thriller, Eyes of Laura Mars. “It showed a whole photo session happening, and it was exciting! I knew that was what I wanted to do—work with stars on photo shoots,” says Redleaf.
A hairstylist and makeup artist since 1979, he was influenced by both his mother and sister, who also were hairstylists. The third youngest of nine siblings, he is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations—the three affiliated tribes of North Dakota. Born and raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation there, Redleaf’s parents moved to Phoenix when he was a child. “My parents saw that there was more out there in the world than existing on an Indian reservation,” he explains. “If it weren’t for them leaving, who knows where I would be right now?”