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Filipino hairstylist on his Oscar nomination, how Lady Gaga helped him honor his mom

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Mar 22 2022 08:29 PM

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Frederic Aspiras is a first-time Oscar nominee in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Category for his work in 'House of Gucci.'

He admitted that he didn't expect to be nominated.

"Having so much rejection in this type of job, in our field, is normal. So I didn't expect. I just put my head down at work and produce the work and dedicated my entire career into creating beautiful art that people can appreciate. Never in a million years think someone like me could make it this far. I only dreamed about it and hoped and prayed that I could do and achieve the things that weren't available to me when I was a child," Aspiras said.

His dad Panfilo Aspiras was born in Batangas. The father met Aspiras' mother Suzie Nguyen in Vietnam when he worked there as an engineer. When the Vietnam War broke out, the Nguyen-Aspiras family fled to a refugee camp in Arkansas. Starting from the bottom in America, his parents persevered to give their family a good life.

"I remember dad taught me how to sing and dance and act. I actually became a child actor when I was really young. I did really well. I did a lot of theater work and went to college for Theater Arts while I was doing hair. After that, I would take the train to my mom's salon and then do hair, do all that, and then at night do plays," Aspiras shared.

Aspiras is the first Filipino and only second Asian American Oscar nominee in his category. The Filipino-Vietnamese-American has been Lady Gaga's hairstylist for the past 15 years. He also worked with the singer-actress in the critically acclaimed film 'A Star is Born.'

"Six months before we started filming, my mother passed away. I really didn't want to do this anymore because she taught me how to do hair, my mom was a hairdresser. So I just didn't want to carry on because everything reminded me of her. And then Gaga, she's like, 'You need to do this for your mom. You need to prove to her and to show and represent and to honor her.' So with that, I just persevered and I remembered every single thing she taught me, and I put it to every single hairstyle and I put my devotion into my heart. And I put it out like this is my love letter to my mother," Aspiras said.

For his work in 'House of Gucci,' Aspiras was also honored at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and nominated in several other award-giving bodies.