Hair has always been the proving ground to see where you fit in, while trying your best to look good. As I cycled through my past hair trends, I realized I was casting out and reeling back the parts that worked — and the ones that didn’t. I went through a few bad cuts, got blonder and curlier than I meant to be, but eventually figured it out. Whatever quality it was that made me want to change my haircut every year is as much a part of me as anything else.
The Accidental “Twiggy” Pixie
As a very young child, I had the kind of hair I dream about having now: soft, flowing light brown curls with streaks of gold that just skimmed the shoulders. This ideal state was not to last: At four, I discovered scissors. My sister showed me how to cut paper, and soon thereafter I decided to try out my new skill — on my hair. When no one was looking, I chopped. The result was so lopsided and awful, my Mom decided to shape it up. Inadvertently, I was transformed into a stylish preschooler with a Twiggy pixie cut.
The Grade School Shag
Soon after I started first grade, another hairstyle style began to crop up: the shag. Not long, not short, just lots of layers and bangs all messily mixed together. As a child, this look appealed to me — it was not girly, not total tomboy, but somewhere in between. I bugged my Mom mercilessly to get it and finally she agreed. And I loved it.
As I got older, I continued to try every cut that was currently on-trend. During my junior year of high school, my stepmother started working as a stylist, and gave our whole family perms. Not a good look.
As a senior, along with every other girl in my class, I succumbed to winged bangs.. I made friends with a Finnish exchange student named Leena, who remarked, “In Finland, we call that ‘American hair.’“ She then innocently asked, “Why does everyone have the same hair?” I thought about it. Why, indeed.
Viva la France!
This cut is from when I was influenced by French films. Here, I’m channeling my circa 1974 inner Isabelle Huppert.
The 90’s 90210 Look
Not Jennie Garth, not Shannen Doherty — but some zip code in between.
My Hair, Today
More than a few hairs out of place. And that's just fine.