Cover Hairstylist Frederic Aspiras poses with artist Lady Gaga whom he closely works with for the past decade (Photo: Daily Front Row)

Asian American hairstylist Frederic Aspiras gets the House of Gucci's one and only Oscar nomination

Even if fans decide to bribe the heavens today, Ridley Scott's fashion-drama film House of Gucci will not be going home with a handful of trophies come Academy Awards night. The film, which garnered incredible buzz, was essentially snubbed from the nomination roster. . .except for one nod—best makeup and hairstyling, highlighting the work of Asian American Frederic Aspiras.

Lady Gaga has never been afraid to experiment with her looks, especially when it comes to hair. Her long-time stylist, Aspiras, who has closely worked with her for more than a decade now, is the man behind some of her most iconic transformations. He is also only the second Asian American to be nominated for a hair and makeup Oscar.

Special make-up effects artist and visual artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, who won for The Darkest Hour and Bombshell, was the only other Asian American descent the Academy honoured.

In the process of remaking the fashion empire's scandalous history, Aspiras created a 450-page map of Gaga's looks. Scott did not get it. “He [Scott] really wanted just two hairstyles in the whole film, because he wanted the editing to be so easy,” Aspiras said in an interview. “The guy did not talk to me once on set, because I was this young kid. But I showed him.”

'Call it fate, call it karma,' but all The Strokes pun aside, Aspiras did not only make a feat for the Asian American community; he also received House of Gucci's only Oscar nomination. 

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No More Questions

Aspiras welcomes 2022 with a bang. Just last week, the hairstylist earned a nomination at the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA); a feat he very much deserved after studying three decades of Reggiani's looks. 

“I started interviewing locals and watching films from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. I wanted to see what looks she [Reggiani] was influenced by,” he said.

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Stirring Conversations

Aspiras must have chanted "the father, the son, the House of Gucci" long enough to summon the Academy's attention and by pairing it with innate talent, he's already made history.

The Vietnamese-Filipino Aspiras being only one of the two Asian American artists recognised in this year's Oscars not only paved the way toward love, acceptance, and respect; it also highlighted the fact that for his community, representation in all facets of media still has a long way to go. Why would this win make so much noise if it were the norm anyway?

In the grand scheme of things, Asian Americans continue to face situations far more complicated and harsh than this narrative allows. But Aspiras, whether he knows it or not, has become an important figure who successfully set a premise among equally-talented minorities once deprived of fair recognition.


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