Since when is a hair cut news? A haircut is news when the head shown is a celebrity teens and tweens emulate. Taylor Swift, who is viewed as a role model by many young girls, is the latest female icon to debut a short hair-do, following women who are influential in the eyes of adolescents, like Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Hudson.
Swift’s long ash-blonde tresses, which she eagerly whipped around while performing, have been part of her signature style since she broke onto the country and pop scenes at 16. She has changed her look somewhat since then, adding bangs and straightening the curls. The biggest transformation was Tuesday, however, when the now 24-year-old revealed a new bob (shoulder-length style) with side-swept bangs to celebrate the end of her worldwide, whirlwind Red tour.
The media attention drawn by celebrity hair cuts recently rivals the attention paid to the Beatles’ hair or Shirley Temple’s curls. Every week, a photo is posted of someone famous, such as Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Miley and Beyoncé, flaunting the latest new pixie cut or short hair as if it is an initiation in a club. The attention they receive is generally positive. The last starlet to receive a lot of negative scrutiny for a haircut was Keri Russell, who chopped off long ringlets for short curls before the second season of Felicity; Russell’s was probably the only hairstyle blamed for a drop in a television show’s ratings.
There are usually three reasons cited for the radical transformation: to make a transformative statement about a change in their life, because of damage to their hair, or for a specific on-screen role. Swift’s transformative choice was to mark the end of a long tour. Emma Watson famously used a pixie cut in 2010 to make the visual statement that she graduated from looking like Hermione Granger. Cyrus used her edgy bleached pixie cut with shaved sides to make it clear Hannah Montana is history and a new adult Miley is taking her career in another direction. Kellie Pickler’s shaved head was a statement of support for a friend undergoing chemotherapy.
Hair damage leading to new coifs can result from dyes, extensions and accidents. Jennifer Lawrence said one reason she went to a pixie was because her hair was fried from being dyed too much. Jennifer Aniston said she had six inches trimmed from her locks last fall in “spur-of-the-moment” decision, but also acknowledged that cutting so much would help her hair get healthy and repair damage hair coloring. Beyoncé’s dramatic change was reportedly spurred on when her thick blonde locks got caught in a fan while performing.
Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway had their hair cut on-screen as part of filming roles in V is for Vendetta and Les Misérables. Charlize Theron shaved her head to film Mad Max: Fury Road. Ginnifer Goodwin is taking a different tack, by putting a wig clause written into her contracts so she will not have to grow out a character hair cut again.
Sometimes a haircut can become an onset continuity problem. Keira Knightley sported a tough-girl pixie cut to begin production for Domino, about a model turned bounty hunter, but was still completing Pride & Prejudice. This required her wearing a wig for the last shots of her as Elizabeth Bennett. Lawrence will wear a wig to finish out her run as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games movies.
One key thing about the new dos (pixie and bob) in vogue is that they look good on all ages. Kristin Chenoweth and Pamela Anderson are considerably older than Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé are among the latest converts in the short hair club.
By Dyanne Weiss