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Spa/Beauty Careers Go Hollywood

Hollywood representations of real-life careers may be skewed, but they can still offer insight into a variety of professions. Spa/beauty careers in particular have been portrayed in plenty of humorous and poignant movies and TV shows through the years. Here are some of our favorites:

The Yoga Instructor in "Couples Retreat"
Is it possible to find comic relief in a movie that's already entertaining? If it is, then Carlos Ponce provides that service in "Couples Retreat." The actor plays Salvadore, a yoga instructor whose techniques are a bit ... questionable. Salvadore engages in hands-on, up-close-and-personal tantric yoga demonstrations with the group, wearing little more than a skimpy Speedo. With childlike enthusiasm and "encouragement," he is completely clueless to the men's ire and the women's idolatry. Of course, his inappropriate antics don't represent the real-life job of a yoga instructor, but they are laugh-out-loud funny.

The Massage Therapist on "Friends"
On NBC's hit series "Friends," Lisa Kudrow plays the role of spacey, loveable Phoebe Buffay, a massage therapist. Phoebe's massage career spans multiple locales, including a major massage chain (which she forbids Rachel to patronize, only to reveal that she herself works there); a traditional spa (where she brings her brother, Frank, Jr., who thinks the term "masseuse" is a euphemism for "prostitute"); and home massage (where she refuses to massage Monica, who makes suggestive sounds during massage). She even considers providing massage in a van (Phoebe calls it "Relaxi-Taxi"; Rachel calls it "Relaxicab"). While Phoebe's methods are unorthodox at times, it's obvious that massage careers are not for the uptight!

The Fitness Coach on "Huge"
ABC Family's new series "Huge" follows the lives of seven teens and the staff at Camp Victory, a weight-loss camp. George, played by Zander Eckhouse, is the dreamy yet down-to-earth assistant fitness coach that all the girls (and plenty of guys) love, mostly for his sympathetic nature. George offsets Shay, the tough-as nails head coach who runs the athletic program more like boot camp than "fat camp." It's no wonder the campers would rather get fit with George than suffer the reign of Shay. Another reason to love Zander Eckhouse: he recently earned his degree behind the camera at New York University's prestigious Kanbar Institute of Film & Television.

The Nail Tech in "Legally Blonde"
When Elle Woods (played by the brilliant and beautiful Reese Witherspoon) gets into Harvard Law and finds herself lost in a sea of plaid and ivy, a trip to the nail salon provides a much-needed pick-me-up and a new best friend, Paulette. And Paulette gives Elle more than great manicures - she offers a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. In return, Elle teaches Paulette the no-fail "bend and snap," in which Paulette succeeds in getting the hot UPS guy's attention, though she breaks his nose in the process!

The Physical Therapist in "Regarding Henry"
In this classic drama, Harrison Ford plays Henry, a ruthless lawyer who gets a second chance at life after suffering paralysis and memory loss from a gunshot wound. Bradley (played by Bill Nunn), a physical therapist at the hospital where Henry is recovering, has a lot to do with that process. Bradley gets Henry to say his first word ("Ritz") by serving him eggs doused in hot sauce, he teaches Henry to walk, and he becomes Henry's confidant. When Henry hits a low after returning home, Bradley visits and encourages him: "Don't listen to nobody trying to tell you who you are. It might take a while, but you'll figure yourself out."

The Hair Stylist in "Runaway Bride"
Though hair stylists and barbers have been featured in dozens of movies (e.g., "Steel Magnolias," "Barbershop," and "Beauty Shop"), one of our favorite beauty shop scenes comes from "Runaway Bride," starring Julia Roberts as Maggie and Richard Gere as Ike. Joan Cusack plays Roberts' best friend, Peggy, who owns Curl Up and Dye, the only beauty salon in the small town of Hale, Maryland. When Ike comes to the Curl to look for Maggie, Maggie and Peggy pair up to give him a free shampoo, which somehow turns his hair all the colors of the rainbow. Word to the wise: Don't mess with the hair stylist.

Who are your favorite Hollywood spa/beauty career pros?

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