Question: Do you have a signature style? Are you presenting yourself and your hair in a way that’s true to who you really are, and does it make you feel beautiful?I think individuality often gets lost these days, and that’s a shame. Even on the red carpet, everyone looks the same. Where are today’s Chers and Diana Rosses? Where are all the iconic beauty moments?
When I look back in history at women who stand the test of time with their style and beauty, they’re women with a strong sense of self. At the time it might have felt they were being outlandish, or provocative or that they were pushing buttons, but really they just knew who they were and didn’t apologize for it.
I recently worked with Kristen McMenamy on a photo shoot—she’s an iconic model from the eighties who is still modeling in her late forties. She always has (and still does) push buttons. Right now her hair is completely gray, but she wears it long to her waist. People might say, “She’s in her forties—why doesn’t she cut it or dye it?” But if she did cut it, she would look mumsy and frumpy—she would lose herself.
We look up to her because we love people who bend the rules. We love an anarchist. We love a woman who stands up for herself and says, “This is the way I look and this is the way you are going to see me.” It’s a very attractive quality. Sometimes they make us nervous because they’re outspoken, but we need people like that in this world.Liza Minnelli, Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross—these are women we remember.
Your hair can help you project who you really are. When you look in the mirror, I want you to be able to say, “My hair represents who I am.” That’s very important because people read you by your hair very quickly.The reason hair is so important to fashion shows is because, when the girls first walk out, the editors look at the hair and shoes straight away to decipher the message the designer is trying to get across. It’s a very quick indicator of what is about to happen.To find your individuality and signature style, it’s very important to look at yourself differently. Try to strip away any preconceived ideas of what you “should” look like.
It sounds strange, but look long and hard in the mirror, and sit with yourself. Pull your hair up, and to the side, and down, and all around. Think about it: When does your hair make you feel happy? When do you feel the most comfortable? When do you feel most beautiful? Really be honest with yourself.
Experiment with your beauty—experiment with your hair. Somewhere along the way you’ll stumble upon what’s really you. If you never take chances with your beauty, with your hair color, your haircut or a new style, you’re never going to find who you truly are. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering change—sometimes it can be as simple as switching your part from one side of your head to the other.It’s very hard to let yourself stick out, because we’re not sure. It’s easy to blow dry your hair instead of leaving it curly and wild because you know that if it’s straight and shiny people will say you have pretty hair. But you might have lovely wavy, coarse, thick hair that could look beautiful if left natural.
Like I said in my past column, there’s no right or wrong hair. We’re so open nowadays—natural hair, very “done” hair, sleek and straight, punk, dreads, pixie—it doesn’t matter. It’s not an era like the fifties where we’re all stuck in the same look. The only ruts we get stuck in are the ones we bring on ourselves.The women we look at as iconic are the ones who are happy with their style, whatever it may be. That is when we think: “Wow, I wish I could feel like that.”What a fantastic affirmation to think that someone could be thinking that about you.