Let's face it: The only people who can get away with talking behind your back are hairstylists. (And Linda Tripp, but we hate her.) So imagine when the man in the mirror is one of Jonathan Antin's own. That's right — in between making the world more gorgeous, one head at a time, in both Beverly Hills and his Chicago hometown, Alyn Topper, Blow Out's top-notch triple-threat — cut, color and style — squeezed me into his packed schedule to take a little off the top and tell all about what we didn't see during the season and on last week's reunion special.
TVGuide.com: How has it been for you guys here at the 90210 salon? With that huge glass front and all the tourists on Rodeo Drive, it must be like the window to the world now.
Alyn Topper: Oh, yeah, sometimes it feels like you're in a fishbowl. There's always people stopping by, taking photos. One time a hairdresser was kind of mingling around trying to pick up techniques, which is kind of flattering, but on a busy day it tends to get in the way.
TVGuide.com: So people just walk in to check you guys out?
Alyn: When the show is on, it's constant. And it's kind of bittersweet. It's really stressful, but it's also kind of fun being on [TV]. Now, as far as your hair… you're growing it out?
TVGuide.com: Yeah, it just needs some sort of…
Alyn: I think we need to take some of the weight out, clean it up.
TVGuide.com: Please. Less mulletlike. Now, you're different from most reality-show contestants in that you're actually employed…
Alyn: I know. The weird thing is that we're really working. This is our job.
TVGuide.com: The attention must be great for getting clients.
Alyn: It's amazing. [Snip] In Chicago, it's crazy. My assistant called to tell me I had 52 people on a wait list. [Snip] Mind you, I only work there two weeks a month. [Snip-snip-snip]
TVGuide.com: The good thing is, you don't have to do Kill Reality.
Alyn: One of my clients is on Kill Reality. Toni Ferrari?
TVGuide.com: Really? She's on everything! Love Cruise, Paradise Hotel… and her sister is Nikki McKibbin from American Idol. They're like a reality-TV family.
Alyn: Toni is a really good person for reality…
TVGuide.com: She's a total character!
Alyn: [Laughing] I know. And she did a cameo on Blow Out…it's really quick, but if you see the repeat where the punk girl comes in and Kiara didn't want to do her hair, I redid it, and Toni was my next client.... OK, I'm going to razor this here. Is that cool?
TVGuide.com: I trust you. How did this season compare to last year?
Alyn: I told my clients it was like being in a three-ring circus. There were a lot of new stylists who didn't know what to expect. And for Season 2, Jonathan didn't tell us a lot about what was going on, so we had no idea when the crews were going to be in.
TVGuide.com: And the editing? A lot of people on unscripted shows have a problem with how they're "made" to look.
Alyn: It was a lot better. Tighter. I know that it's a television show, so I take it for what it's worth. Like the scenes where Kiara and I were in the back room...
TVGuide.com: Is this about her breast-feeding back there?
Alyn: Well, they edited out the part where I [said] there are chemicals back there, everybody's mixing up their color [and] I just disapprove of a baby [being around that]. But they just had me saying that I disapproved of her breast-feeding in the back room, which made me look like a villain. I thought it was funny, but then we went to the message boards and people were really upset! I ruffled some feathers.
TVGuide.com: But overall, it was a fair representation?
Alyn: I thought they really focused on [disgruntled ex-employee] Kimberely. She is such a sweet girl; I just think she should have kept her mouth shut. And Clarissa [who pulled a no-show in the finale] is so not like that. She shows up for everything. I don't know if that was a miscommunication or what, but that is not her style.
TVGuide.com: Have the perks improved, at least? Better parties? Christmas bonuses?
Alyn: I'm still waiting for my Christmas bonus. [Snip]
TVGuide.com: But it's all worth it just to be working for Jonathan, right?
Alyn: You know what? Working for Jonathan…. As long as you're coming in and doing your job, he's [cool]. But if you're making life difficult for him, you will hear it. He has no qualms. And I totally respect that.
TVGuide.com: How much of the footage did Jonathan see before it aired?
Alyn: I think he has some creative control, so….
TVGuide.com: Gotcha. Did the staff get to see any in advance?
Alyn: None. [Laughs, then starts rubbing some magical texturing paste between his hands]
TVGuide.com: So would you guys come in to work after the episodes aired and bang each other with questions?
Alyn: Oh, yeah. Or you know, after they showed the breast-feeding [fight], I got a call from Kiara the next day. [Laughs] When I look at the show, it's like, "Oh, there's a video we all did together." But it's surreal.
TVGuide.com: Any word on a third season?
Alyn: I don't know. Rumor has it that it's very promising….but I have no idea what it would be about.
Which is fine. After all, what the guy does know is how to cut some serious hair. And that is more than enough.