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Back in the hair and now

Farrah Fawcett


Back in the hair and now

When Farrah Fawcett made her small screen debut in the popular 1970s series Charlie’s Angels, she not only became an instant star, but she sparked a worldwide hair revolution, writes KATE CALLAHAN.

Cast as one of three private detectives, alongside sidekicks Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, Farrah stunned audiences with her luminous smile, fit and slender figure and beautiful grey-green eyes.

But it was her amazing avalanche of thick blond hair, styled like none before, that really set her apart.

I remember the style well.  The top was unremarkable – flat with a centre part – but then these big bouncy face-framing waves billowed out in feathery layers, ending just below the shoulders.

The signature part of the Farrah style was the way the hair around her face flipped back effortlessly, creating volume and movement that took the eye away from a rather square jaw.

It was a masterpiece. Never one to make snap decisions, I fantasised about having a Farrah cut for two whole years.

I was young but not so foolish to think I had anything in common with Farrah.  She had been a high school beauty queen.  I had been a high school nerd.

However, I identified with Farrah’s square jaw.  Gosh, I saw one like it every time I looked in the mirror.

You can guess where this story is heading.  But if it hadn’t been for a pair of wide-legged red satin pants, I would never have acted out my Farrah fantasy.

It was like this.  I went to a wedding and, lo and behold, the bride wore a pair of red wide-leg satin pants and a silver satin tie-front top for her going-away outfit.  She looked sensational.  It was disco fever and I caught the bug big-time.

Two days later, I had my very own pair of wide-leg satin pants and was sitting in a hair-salon about to be Farrah-ed.  Of course, everyone knew a Farrah cut worked a treat with disco gear.  In for a penny, in for a pound.

To be fair, the hairdresser tried to dissuade me, explaining that I wasn’t blessed with the raw materials.  Unlike Farrah, she said, you don’t have thick, blond, voluminous hair.

But I was beyond listening.  I was so committed to my transformation that when the hairdresser said she would have to perm the front part of my hair to get the Farrah flicked-back look, I agreed without question.

That was my first and only perm.

Forty years later, I still remember the embarrassment of spending six months with a face framed by intractable frizz.

What the hairdresser hadn’t explained before she started applying the foul-smelling solution to my fine, mousy brown hair was that, to achieve the desired result, I would need time, technique and an armoury of equipment – a powerful hairdryer, several round brushes, and lashings of super-hold hairspray – none of which I possessed.

There were no such problems for John Travolta, Rob Lowe, Princess Diana, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Beyonce, who all have worn the Farrah cut successfully at some time or another.

To the disappointment of her many fans, Farrah Fawcett quit Charlie’s Angels after just one series, apparently due to a pay dispute.  It was a brave call for someone whose on-screen character Jill was featured on everything from a board game to dolls and bubble-gum cards.

But by this time Farrah had other fish to fry.  She had become a poster girl for fitness and healthy living and was keenly pursued by cosmetic and shampoo labels.  She also continued to act with modest success.

Farrah left her first husband, Lee Majors of TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, in 1979 to live with actor Ryan O’Neal. In 2006, Farrah was diagnosed with cancer of the anus and apparently those beautiful tresses became a casualty of chemotherapy treatment.

Sadly, Farrah died on June 25, 2009 at the age of 62 years with long-time love Ryan O’Neal at her side.   As fate would have it, Farrah’s tragic demise was eclipsed by the sudden death, only five hours later, of Michael Jackson.

But the memory of a beautiful woman with a magnificent mane still burns brightly for me.

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