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In the 10 years that it spent on NBC, Friends not only boosted its central six-some to fame, but it also shined a spotlight on many up-and-coming actors and actresses, from Adam Goldberg to Jon Favreau to Aisha Tyler. In fact, the highly-rated sitcom was the first gig that Criminal Minds’ Paget Brewster got, but she came very close to losing that job entirely. Or so she thought.
Brewster joined the cast of Friends in Season 4 and played the quirky Kathy, who originally started dating Joey, but then cheated on him with Chandler and dated him until he broke up with her. (This incident led to the famed “Chandler in the box” Thanksgiving episode.) But Brewster found herself in an awkward position after she first landed the job. Here’s how she described it to Will Harris from The AV Club.
I had a black bob, and when I got Friends, I started rehearsing that week, and the hair people cut all my hair off and dyed it red – it took six hours of lightening to dye it red – and then when [creators] Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane came down to watch the first day, Kevin Bright starts screaming, ‘I hired her because she had a black bob! You can’t do this!’ And as he’s screaming at the hair guy, I just went upstairs, I put my magazines in my bag, and I just sat and waited, like, ‘I lost my best job I’ve ever gotten.’
Considering how popular Jennifer Aniston’s hairdo was in Friends’ early years, it’s not entirely ridiculous for Brewster to think that a haircut and hair dye would be a good enough reason to get her booted from the show. I hope she at least liked her new hairstyle, as that would have been adding insult to injury for her to be waiting on a verbal pink slip while also having to consider where she would go to fix her hair immediately after leaving the set.
Thankfully, Paget Brewster’s nightmares would not be realized that afternoon, as Bright soon eased her worries.
And then Kevin Bright came in the room and he went, ‘I didn’t hire you because of your hair! I just can’t have them making changes without them telling me!’ It turned out that the next girl that Chandler was going to fall for was Monica, and the hair guy had said, ‘I needed her to not look so much like Courtney [Cox].’ So that’s why he dyed my hair. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story!
Kathy was one of my favorite short-term girlfriends from the Friends universe, even if she was a cheating cad. I can’t imagine anyone else in the part winning audiences over so well, so here’s to Paget Brewster’s acting talents being more important than what her hair looks like!