The first thing that the contestants saw most mornings, when they woke up, was a brainy but mildly unkempt Chinese guy called Matt watching them sleep. It's not as bad as it sounds -- Matt is the other story editor on the show. He usually took the morning shifts at the contestant apartment while I took the night shifts. Usually 2 producers would be there for morning wake-ups, and one or two producers would stay on after we wrapped, to catch any kind of night time excitement. The contestants didn't know Matt too well because he was a ninja at taking story notes in the field and was cloistered in video village for most of the shoot. But I suppose having a camera jammed in your face first thing in the morning can be a bit jarring, no matter who is holding it.
We had a relatively late call that day at Shorty's barbershop in Hollywood. It was a great space visually but logistically it was cramped quarters. We needed six stations for the stylists to work in, a dressing room for Jaclyn, a room for the director and executive producers, a room to hide our surprise guest judge Christophe in, somewhere to set up all the monitors and equipment and somewhere to put all the rest of the cast, crew and stuff that we use in shoots on a daily basis. We made do but staying out of all the cameras' eye-lines (especially with all those mirrors) was tricky. When the men walked into Shorty's for the first time, I have to say it was a little scary. Some of these guys' looks bordered on menacing. There were some major transformations on this challenge. Every one of them walked out of there looking better than they did walking in.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the guys after their haircuts were done. Nearly every one of them was insanely shell shocked and had that deer-in-the-headlights look to them. I thought one of them might cry for an instant but he collected himself in an instant and moved on. Hair is a huge part of anyone's identity, and even if you think that person might not care about how their hair looks - cut all their hair off and then ask them how they feel right afterwards. If they can string a coherent sentence together about how they feel, I'll give you a dollar.