Inside Jennifer Grey's Grueling Transformation Into Gwen Shamblin
Jennifer Grey describes Gwen Shamblin's saga as "a hair story."
In Lifetime's Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation, premiering Feb. 4, the Dirty Dancing star transforms into Shamblin, the spiritual leader who founded the controversial Remnant Fellowship Church and the Weigh Down Workshop.
Alas, she's become just as well known for her over-the-top makeup and giant hair as she is for her religious practices.
"You see the decline of her mental health with the ascent of her hair," Grey exclusively told told E! News' Francesca Amiker. "The hair gets bigger as she just gets less and less in touch with reality."
So, to evolve into Shamblin, Grey spent two hours in hair-and-makeup daily and relied on two wigs made with human hair, which she described as "the young church lady bob" and "mountain of hair."
It should come as no surprise that over the course of filming, she and the movie's hair stylist became very well-acquainted.
Stars' Epic Hair Transformations
Made with real human hair, the wigs were "not the kind you wear for Halloween," Grey explained. Over the course of filming, she and the movie's hair stylist became very well-acquainted.
"She had to put the wig on and get my hair all flat," Grey said. "I have a lot of hair. She had to make it like there was no hair with a cap, then the wig and then secure it."
It turns out nailing Shamblin's aesthetics came with some pain.
"It was very hard on my head," Grey said of the bigger wig. "When it came off, my head would ache a bit. It was just a lot."
Grey also paid special attention to Shamblin's lip liner and how that went hand-in-hand with her mental state. As she told E!, "I would track where she was in her trajectory of how outside the lines she was willing to draw."
Ultimately, Grey found meaning in what Shamblin's outward appearance signified.
"I think it made her feel beautiful," she said. "She must not have felt beautiful because she needed all of this minimizing and maximizing and so much changing of her natural self. Her natural self, she must have felt so bad about."
Gwen Shamblin: Starving For Salvation premieres Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
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