Sherry Heart has been doing the hair on Girls since the beginning. One day, as she deftly created an insanely intricate Shoshanna hairstyle, I asked her a very simple question: "How did you get so funky?" Easy, she told me: She'd toured with Prince on and off for six years in the '90s, and she's got the tour jacket — stolen by a super-fan in Paris and reclaimed in Ghent, Belgium — to prove it. On Friday, Sherry flew back to her adopted hometown of Minneapolis to celebrate the sexy MF himself. And even though she was out dancing until 4 a.m. with a town in ecstatic mourning, she was kind enough to wake up the next morning and share some of her recollections with me.
He defined my youth. You know, I made so many turns in my 20s because of him. The reason I moved to Minneapolis was because of him. Even before I worked for him, I was chasing his ghost. I was imitating his fashion, his style.
In the early '80s, my girlfriend Lynette and I would drive from Rochester, Minnesota, up to Minneapolis to go to a club called First Avenue on Tuesday nights because they had a funk night, and we sometimes saw Prince. He would go there to try out his new music, see what the crowd did. Once we followed him out of the club and chased him through the streets of Minneapolis.
Later, I was working at a hair salon in Minneapolis called The Hair Police and we heard he was filming a movie nearby, so we asked if they needed any help and they said yes. It was the movie Graffiti Bridge. We did hair extensions and braids and all this funky stuff on the extras. I had the chance to meet so many legends there — Mavis Staples, George Clinton.
At one point, I was out at Paisley Park and George Clinton sat down in my chair and pulled out a bag of weed in one hand and a bag of cocaine in the other. He said, "Can you hold this a second?" I took the bags and just stood there while he got his rolling papers out so he could roll his whatever it was …
In 1991 I toured as a singer with the Information Society, and when it was done I had "the after-tour blues." I heard Prince was going on tour, and I thought, I've got to get on that tour. I called up the tour manager and asked if they needed hair and makeup — I didn't tell them I'd been singing in a band, because I wasn't sure what they'd think about that. A day later I was hired. I toured with him nonstop through 1993, and after that I just did occasional legs. We went to Japan, and to Hawaii for his honeymoon, where he did a few shows.
I was doing the band and the dancers — Prince had a personal hairdresser. But we would phoof his room — that's how we spelled it, P-H-O-O-F. He was really into the Egyptian look at that time; he had this box of silk and velvet fabric remnants, and we were told to drape everything, like the couches and the tables. We also set up the cosmetic station — he had about 15 kinds of perfume we had to put out.
Prince didn't talk much backstage. He was all about business when he was at the gig. He would even stay in his dressing room after shows to watch the videotapes, watch himself, see how he could improve.