Whether they are mannequins or animatronics, our pirates and dolls always need to look their best despite daily wear and tear. Vanessa Assenard, wig maker at Disneyland® Paris, works her magical fingers on wigs and hairpieces, making them look as good as new! Her technical skill is yet another hidden facet of the Disney magic.
We asked Vanessa to tell us more about her job. Vanessa's job is not as simple as it may seem considering the numerous amount of journeys that she is used to making evry day going back and forth from our attractions to our sewing workshop.
She starts her rounds early, around 6:30 a.m., checking the figures that guests see in our attractions and shop windows. While maintenance teams report any damaged wigs or defective beards they might see, Vanessa always pays particular attention to the 279 dolls in It’s a Small World and the 60 pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Back in the workshop, our wig maker sets to work, making moulds or implanting synthetic and natural fibres onto tulle, preparing every figure according to written specifications. Every step of maintenance is listed and must be followed to the letter: washing (with special synthetic hair soap), cutting, styling, fitting and fixing.
While most wigs are made from synthetic hair, other more surprising materials can be found in the workshop cupboards, such as wool or Yak hair. The implantation technique is the same one used in the world of cinema: simple and double knots, made with a hook on various tulles.
Eyebrows, beards and moustaches get special treatment. In fact, facial hair is always made from natural materials. Oven-dried, then styled with a hot iron, they help make our automats look (almost) lifelike.
Depending on the location, the need for replacements is variable : some pieces are replaced once a month, others only need to be freshened up twice a year. What makes a wig maker’s job special at Disneyland Paris is the variety– no two days are ever the same.
Vanessa’s services are in high demand, even from some of the live shows: the “hairdo” of Rafiki, one of the stars in the Mickey and the Magician show, stays looking its best thanks to the skilled hands of our professional.
If, like Vanessa, you are passionate about your craft and able to work autonomously, we may have a job for you. Check out the wide range of jobs available within Costuming and Cosmetology.