When a woman shears her lengthy locks into a short cropped hairstyle, the look can seem dramatic, defiant or shows signs of dissatisfaction in her life. But on a few rare occasions, some women's short haircuts became wildly influential and transformed their lives and careers.
Interestingly, however, the same cannot be said of a woman doing the opposite. When did you ever hear of a woman whose lengthy tresses threw her into the international spotlight? If she should suddenly be sporting overly long hair - thanks to today's insta-long locks achieved with extensions – it hardly causes a stir or radically changes her life – of course, fairy-tale damsels like Rapunzel, not withstanding.
We take a look at three women and their powerful short cuts that went down in history to gain iconic status.
Back in 1966, a young up-and-coming actress named Mia Farrow was on a hit television series, Peyton Place. She had extremely long hair to her waist, which, despite not being a popular look in the '60s, was loved by young fans of the show. But the 20- year-old Farrow was also getting a lot of publicity from the media when she started dating Frank Sinatra, who was more than twice her age. As legend goes, one morning after a dust-up with Sinatra, Farrow walked into the makeup room on set, picked up a pair of scissors and sheared her long hair down to about an inch and half.
The resulting drama from this single act had far-reaching consequences she couldn't have predicted. Naturally, the first outrage came from the producers of Peyton Place, who freaked out over the severe change in her look. Scenes had to be rewritten to accommodate an explanation of the dramatic haircut.
The newspapers were riddled with gossip that she did it to spite Sinatra. In her 1997 autobiography, What Falls Away: A Memoir, Farrow wrote, "There must have been nothing going on in the world that week because my haircut got an absurd amount of press coverage." Even the surrealist artist Salvador Dali weighed in and called her actions "mythical suicide." But Farrow denied she did it to spite Sinatra and claimed he instantly loved her short hair. And most likely he did because they secretly got married later that year.
But her close-cropped coif not only achieved iconic status and would be copied for decades, it also weirdly continued to be the subject of gossip and controversy.
Farrow and Sinatra were only married for a year before they divorced. And, of course, the gossip stories in the media blamed the haircut for the cause of the breakup.
Farrow would not only go on to star in Roman Polanski's 1968 film, Rosemary's Baby, but her short hairstyle also played a pivotal part. Wearing a wig for early scenes in the film until she revealed her pixie cut, her character when asked about the haircut, utters the line, "It's Vidal Sassoon. It's very in." It was a line that was mentioned in the original book that the film producers kept in the film.
Not one to miss a glorious marketing opportunity, the legendary hairdresser and savvy media personality, Vidal Sassoon, flew in from London and held a press conference – more like a publicity stunt – on the Paramount lot where he had Farrow on a small stage and set about trimming her hair as it would appear in the film. The stunt worked so well that throughout history, Vidal Sassoon would be credited for cutting Farrow's hair into the infamous cropped cut. But in reality, her hair was already short, and he merely had to trim half an inch.
Years later, upon Sassoon's death and with obituaries crediting him for the iconic haircut, Farrow wrote in to the New York Times and reminded everyone she was the one who had originally chopped her hair off.
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