Wigs on way to being fashion accessory?
GUARDIAN NEWS SERVICE
IF Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj are proud to talk about their wigs, there’s hope for those of us with bad hair. No longer are wigs seen as the province of drag artists and women who inspire drag artists. Following on from chunky platform heels wigs are the latest accessory to be promoted from “niche, trashy and dubious” to “nigh a given”. Not for the average lady on the street, perhaps. Well, not yet.
But certainly for young female celebrities who now talk about their wig habit quite openly and happily, which means wigs will probably be on sale in your local Claire’s Accessories by the end of the day.
Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj: all young women, all proud to talk about their wigs. Adele announced on US TV that she names her wigs (“This is June … This is Jackie ...”) while according to a (somewhat dubious, admittedly) US magazine report, Beyonce has more than $1m worth of wig action.
Obviously, female celebrities have long been boarding the wig train, from Tina Turner to Cher, but that’s slightly different.
For a start, they were – and I say this nervously, quietly – a little older when their blatant wig-wearing began and they were appealing to a somewhat o l d e r d e m o - g r a p h i c .
Gaga et al are going s t r a i g h t f o r t h e teen jugular, an audience that generally tries to copy the look of its stars with more enthusiasm than one finds in the 30- plus crowd. Plus, not all of these women of previous eras were quite so obvious with their wig-wearing. I must confess I was all colour-me astonished when Beyonce and Adele were revealed to be wig-wearers.
I never thought I was seeing Tina Turner’s natural hair.
I did think that about Adele.
This is what pleases me most about this development. Much has been written over the past few years about how airbrushing in magazines gives people a false impression of how the human (the female human, generally) body should look, exacerbating some people’s dissatisfaction with their own figure.
This is all to the good, of course but one aspect has, in my esteemed, humble and professional opinion, been sorely neglected.
Not all of us compare our body to those in magazines.
Some of us compare our hair.
Oh, those of us with bad hair – how we suffer. Look, it’s not that we resent the attention given to those with poor body image. We’re happy your needs are being (relatively) catered to. But what about our needs, eh? Do you know the pain we endure every time we see photos of Princess Shiny Locks, aka Kate Middleton, swishing those tresses around with the carefree gaiety of someone who has never heard of words such as “thin patch” and “straggly ends”? And I’m not only thinking of my needs (although obviously, I am mainly thinking of my needs.) The whole hair industry is so enormous and lavish now that even those who spend more time and money than is healthy thinking about our hair are a bit weirded out by it. I have one friend who spends at least six hours a month getting extensions taken in and out. I have another who once missed a flight because she realised at the airport she’d forgotten her hair straighteners and went home to fetch them. And then there’s one who has never been to a music festival because she wouldn’t be able to bring her hairdryer. These women are all smart, sane, low-maintenance ladies, hair issues aside.
How much correlation the hair industry has with celebrities’ hair is debatable.
Contrary to what the Daily Mail seems to think, not everything a woman does is due to the influence of a celebrity. Yet I’m sure that the fact that there are so many female celebrities around with big glossy hair hasn’t exactly hurt the whole hair-care industry.
So for celebrities to admit that, actually, their hair doesn’t really look that luscious because it is, in fact, entirely synthetic, this may well be a Wizard of Oz moment. The great and powerful Oz is proven to be just a little old man behind a curtain or, in this case, a big ol’ wig named Jackie.