Palm Royale

1960’s Socialites Brought to Life in Palm Royale

by Tricia Sawyer  | Department Head Make-up &
Karen Bartek | Department Head Hair
Photos by Erica Parise/APPLE TV+

Allison Janney as Evelyn Rollins


Palm Royale is a beautiful love letter to one of my favorite times in American history, featuring the opulent and luxurious women of Palm Beach who are to me the original “The Real Housewives of 1969.” I was drawn to work on the show because of the historical aspect of it, and the challenge of a period piece. When you’re working on a modern show, many times the direction is for a “no-make-up look,” so when you have the opportunity to work on a period piece, it’s a treat, and a real draw for me.  I was steered into the look through extensive research and the classic photography of Slim Aarons, with his fantastic images of socialites, jetsetters and celebrities in the 1960s and ’70s, was a huge inspiration for the look of Palm Royale. I had a lot of conversations with the creator Abe Sylvia, our costume designer Alix Friedberg and executive producer Tate Taylor about the time period and the great influence of these images. Many of Aarons’ photographs are specific to Palm Beach, so we were able to see all the incredible details of the era. Palm Beach had quite a unique style, and we wanted to ensure that what we were creating was not only period-specific but accurate to this location. Palm Beach in 1969 was magical and perfect and so were the people who lived there. 

L-R: Kristen Wiig and Josh Lucas as Douglas Dellacorte Simmons

I didn’t know all of the amazing cast when I first signed on to the series, but I knew I was going to be working with Kristen Wiig and running the department. Allison Janney and Laura Dern had also been cast and as we were prepping the show, the cast list kept unfolding. All of a sudden, we had Josh Lucas, Ricky Martin, Leslie Bibb, Kaia Gerber, Bruce Dern and the incredible, iconic Carol Burnett. All these amazing performers made this job even better! 

L-R: Leslie Bibb as Dinah Donahue and Dominic Burgess as Grayman

Running the department was quite a feat, and I knew I would need a lot of help from a lot of talented artists. Since there were so many A-list women in the cast, everyone who joined the team was very strong. The wonderful Simone Almekias-Siegl was Laura Dern’s personal artist and Marja Webster was Carol Burnett’s personal artist. I could not have done this without Marissa Lafayette, my assistant department head, who was responsible for Leslie Bibb and Kaia Gerber, and my two co-keys, Kenny Niederbaumer and Marie Del Prete. Kenny worked with Ricky Martin, Josh Lucas, Mindy Cohn and Julia Duffy, while Marie worked with Allison Janney, Claudia Ferri and Amber Chardae Robinson. 

Amber Chardae Robinson as Virginia

We leaned hard into the bigger, more polished look of Palm Beach, which included immaculate nails, deep tans and beautiful make-up. Jessica Johnson from Le Luxe tanned Kristen Wiig weekly, alongside a couple of the other cast members. The nails were also a huge part of the look, and Vanessa McCullough and Lisa Wong were our incredible manicurists who kept the nails of all the ladies perfect. We created lookbooks for the background, because it was very important that everyone in the show was made-up, and in period-correct make-up and nails. Background supervisor Robert Vega and many super-talented 706 artists translated all of the looks that we had created for the main cast, onto the hundreds of background players each day, which kept the appearance of the show seamless. 

Ricky Martin as Robert

On the men’s side, the period Palm Beach look is achieved mostly through hair and facial hair. For instance, Josh Lucas’ sideburns really helped to create the time period, and it happened to be a feature he was also using on the Yellowstone shoot, which was filming at the same time. We had some flashbacks with Kristen that took us back to her past life 15-20 years prior, and in those shots, we also needed to cover Josh’s sideburns with silicone transfers to communicate the time period accurately. We had one particular scene with Ricky Martin, where they wanted him to wear a speedo, but he has quite a lot of tattoos! On most shows when someone is covered in tattoos, we might ask the costume team to please cover them with their costume but here we decided to lean into it and cover his tattoos completely. Ricky is so wonderful to work with that that always makes a difficult job so much easier.

I had worked with the amazing department head hair and Kristen’s personal stylist, Karen Bartek for several years, and without her stellar hair styles and the frames her team created for our work, the looks wouldn’t have been what they were. I truly can’t imagine doing Palm Royale with anyone else.

I want to extend an enormous thank you to Marissa Lafayette, Kenny Niederbaumer, Marie Del Prete, Simone Almekias-Siegel, Marja Webster, Robert Vega, Vanessa McCullough, Lisa Wong and all of the incredible Local 706 artists who came out to day play with us on this fantastic journey. And last but not least, to Kristen Wiig, thank you for your humor, heart and endless energy. •


Palm Royale is a luxurious 1969 period following daring former beauty pageant queen Maxine Simmons, played by the incomparable Kristen Wiig, as she attempts to break into Palm Beach high society. I got involved in the project as a referral from a friend, and when I looked at the hair styles of the time period, I realized how fun they would be to create, and what a great chance this would be to pull a really fantastic team together. 

L-R: Claudia Ferri as Raquel Kimberly-Marco, Julia Duffy as Mary Jones Davidsoul, Allison Janney, and Leslie Bibb,

Besides the clear influence of Slim Aarons photography, we found the look for the series hair styles in magazines from 1969, sewing pattern sketches featuring drawings of women from the ’60s, along with pins on Pinterest and a wide range of photographs from the era. Each character and actor had their own reference points that built their look, and we put together extensive lookbooks for each one. Palm Royale is set on the cusp of the 1970s in Florida, so the older women’s looks were more oriented toward the 1960s, whereas Kristen and some of the other younger women were already looking forward to the 1970s. The hair styles varied depending on what they were wearing, including more formal and polished styles for the many fancy balls and events in the show.

Laura Dern as
Linda Shaw

When assembling my dream team, I knew that everyone would need to be very strong with wigs, and we had a lot of doubles. The majority of our incredibly crafted wigs were created by the fantastic Natascha Ladek, with some additional wigs made on the fly by John Blake, as needed. Kristen’s character is younger than many of the high society ladies she is trying to befriend at the club, and so her look was slightly less put together, with hair inspired by iconic 1960’s actress Sharon Tate. We had five different wigs ready for the quick changes in Kristen’s look that were needed daily based on the script, including four blonde wigs and one brunette wig for her flashback scenes in the 1940s. Frida Aradottir was Laura Dern’s personal stylist and her look was inspired by Jane Birkin’s look from the 1960s, with a more hippie, earthy vibe than you might typically expect from the high society of Palm Beach. Laura and Frida worked out the look with Natascha and achieved a beautiful, long golden-red wig with bangs, perfectly capturing the style of the day. We were also incredibly lucky to work with the legendary Carol Burnett, who wore a cute strawberry blonde short wig, that by Carol’s request closely resembled her dear friend Lucille Ball’s look on I Love Lucy. Leslie Bibb’s look was modeled after classic actress Barbara Parkins, with a darker wig. 

My assistant department head Brittany Madrigal worked on Leslie Bibb, with the wig set and styled using many extra pieces to create volume on top; Ricky Martin, who had a sleek, gelled look; Dominic Burgess, who wore a toupee that I found in the John Blake collection; and Kaia Gerber, who wore many extensions and bumps for volume. Hair stylist Tiffany Bloom worked on Carol Burnett; Julia Duffy, who wore a white top hairpiece that was made from a John Blake wig created by Yvette Stone and styled by Tiffany; and Mindy Cohn, with a wig that was also designed by Yvette Stone, cut and styled to suit her character. Key hair stylist Cyndra Dunn put together an all-star team of background hair artists with Audrey Soto, including Gail Ryan, Lucia Mace, Linda Dalbec-Rasmussen, Anthony Wilson, Donna Anderson, Matt Danon, David Danon, Norma Lee and many many others who were just amazing, some of whom had lived during the era and brought their personal experience to the set. The background all needed to be super polished and perfectly period, including for the 1940s and 1950s flashbacks, with smaller waves and shorter hair. The background often helped us by coming to set already rolled. Cyndra also worked on Claudia Ferri, who wore multiple hairpieces to create a very ‘Charo’ look for her character. Jill Crosby designed and styled Allison Janney’s look for the character Evelyn, which was a huge part of the look and feel of the show. Jill created an Esmeralda style for Allison with two wigs made by Rob Pickens and extra pieces that Jill maneuvered with skill and expertise.

We asked the men to grow their hair out a little bit so that we could cut it to our specifications, and we left their sideburns on the long side. In Florida during this time period, men were very polished and put together, with Brylcreem, side parts and their hair pushed forward. There weren’t as many wigs for the men, but there were a few that we used, in particular for Dominic. Series creator Abe Sylvia wanted Dominic’s toupee to look slightly off to match his character, and we achieved that with a fabulous John Blake piece.  

I had worked with our incredible department head make-up and Kristen’s personal artist, Tricia Sawyer for several years, and her team’s amazing work set the stage for our styles. I truly can’t imagine working on Palm Royale with anyone else.

A tremendous thank you to my entire team and all of the wonderful Local 706 artists who joined us on this fantastic journey. And last but certainly not least, to Kristen Wiig, for your leadership and energy. •