I often get questions about my hair these days.
People ask if I've ever had long hair, or if I have always had short hair and ever thought of growing it out. I often try to explain the lengths of my hair over the past decade, but at this point it's been short for over 6 years and I'm quite used to it. Don't get me wrong, I've often thought of growing it back out, but each time I try, it gets to my collar of my shirt and starts to bother me. I think if I could get it past that point, my hair would survive. But yes, I've had very long hair most of my life.
(See left and below).
I had short hair as a kid once... and was teased for it
mercilessly. I had gotten the idea after the movie "All Dog's Go To Heaven" came out after the character Ann Marie (see character on the right). My hair was long and constantly tangled. Mom and I decided it was time for a hair cut, so she put it all in a pony tail and braided it down. Then she put it in another ponytail at the bottom and chopped away. The braid was removed and put into a plastic bag for my father. He still has it somewhere.
Mom cut it off at such a crooked angle that we really didn't have many options. It was either the "Ann Marie" cut, or short like a boy's hair cut. I had gone through that in Kindergarten and earned the nickname George (I'll save that for another day). I really didn't want to go through that again, so Ann Marie it was.
Several years ago Dad retired from the military and got a job working on the base painting missile trucks. One of the guys that worked with him had a very long ponytail nearly the same color as my hair. He had the brilliant idea to take that ponytail with him to work one day. He then grabbed a pair of scissors, held the ponytail in one hand and the scissors in the other. Then he tugged on the guys ponytail, sliced a bit off of MY ponytail, and held my ponytail out for the guy to see it. He said the man's eyes got as big around as saucers and he started to scream. He reached back and discovered his own ponytail was still in tact. I'm sure he wanted to kill my father for that one.
When I was 17 my mother pulled me into the bathroom and dyed my hair blond. She told me that she had never really liked my hair color. It went to a bright carrot orange, so she dyed it blond again and it came out Strawberry blond.
That summer I got my first ever modeling job, working as a Runway Model at a "Back to School" fashion show on the military base. I was shy, but that job started to bring me out of my shell. Several years later when I moved to California, I found myself working with a photographer during my first photo shoot ever (see above). The photographer, Christopher, was rather inexperienced and this was the best picture we got from the shoot, but I've always loved this shot.
I've had several different colors used in my hair over the past few years. To the left is a photo of me right after the Extreme Makeover show cut several inches off of the bottom in 2004. They feathered it along the sides and gave me bangs after giving it a rich chocolate brown color. I didn't have the heart to tell them, but that was the exact same haircut I had in 1998, and I had cut it myself. Even the color matched the old photos of my hair from 6 years before. It just wasn't enough of a change for me.
In the mean time, I had gotten married. My new mother in law had once been a very talented hair dresser before a car accident messed up her back. She couldn't do it all day anymore, but a hair cut once in a while didn't hurt her. I asked her for a big change - and she obliged. We cut it off rather short, had it layered and feathered around my neck, and tried to color it back to red. It was so dark from the Extreme Makeover show that it really didn't take, but I was so in shock over the length of my hair that I wasn't focused on the dark color. It was an alien feeling, running my hands through it and finding my fingers slipping free just at the neck.
People seemed to think that the dark color suited me, so I stuck with it for a couple of months. I stuck with the length too, but having to put it up in little poofy pigtails I called Panda Ears in order to work food service was rather annoying. I decided once more that it was time for another change. I went back to Sue and asked her to cut it once more, this time to get rid of it all.
If I hadn't cut my hair the last time I never would have gotten any of the modeling jobs I ended up with. The short, red hair suited me, but was also edgy, pixie-ish and feminine with my facial features. Immediately I was picked up by several photographers for my unusual look. I was a rare thing - a girl with short hair, a girl with red hair, and a girl who didn't look Butch because of the length. Richie Bravo was the first photographer, and within days I was working with several others, including Jack Fleming Photography and D'Jef Photo Styles. Fleming has since made quite the name for himself.
I've played around with my hair a bit, trying to grow it out and then deciding to chop it all off again. I've had bangs, I've had
none. I've gone from brunette to blond and then back to red again. I've played around with my hair a lot, but pretty much consistently for the past 6 years it has retained this primary style and color, just with a few minor variations. I even tried the "Ann Marie" thing again once... and decided that it suited me even less in
adulthood than it did when I was a kid. It was a very short time
before I let that one grow out and got rid of the Duck Tail.
My hair has always been a way of expression for me. People tell me that I should grow it out, that I should cut it off, that I should do this or that or get a perm or get extensions or shave my head. Well, it's my hair and I do what I like with it. It's a part of me and I'm grateful that I even have hair. I'm glad I have a way to express myself and my own personal style without resorting to something like tattoos or piercings.
And now, I've done this style for long enough...
I think it's time for another change.