As Scarlett swings back into action with Black Widow’s release, Layered Online’s Deborah Murtha reflects on how she has always envied ScarJo’s ever-changing look
If you can name a more adept hair chameleon than Scarlett Johansson, then please do so. Otherwise I’ll just go ahead and crown her as the Queen of Hairstyles, because she has the miraculous ability to rock any look – literally. Sure, we’ve seen other starlets style out an unexpected pixie cut, or carry off a radically different shade with aplomb. But where Scarlett sets herself apart in hair is sheer variety. From the broad spectrum of colours she’s tried to her yo-yoing lengths – she manages to look great with every style, every time. Even in her final turn-out as Black Widow, she’s bringing something new to the table.
You would hardly recognise her from her first films. With her centre-parted, mid-brown and naturally straight locks, we could probably have been hair twins although I wouldn’t know it until long after the film came out. Her Horse Whisperer scraped-back ponytails matched my own riding styles, but she chose to switch up her nondescript brown shade much sooner than I ever did my own.
Scarlett and I probably ventured into fringe territory around the same time, but only one of us actually suited it (oily teenage foreheads are the enemy of the shiny fringe I was so desperate for). For her first foray into colour, she dived deeper, as did I when I also dyed my hair for the first time, for Eight Legged Freaks. A touch of black cherry kept things interesting…
Here’s where our hair paths diverged, and she went where I couldn’t (or rather, wouldn’t) follow – blonde. And yet this was where I first knew and loved her. Her Calvin Klein Eternity Moment commercial in 2004 stole my heart. Sure, the guy in it is cute, but it was Scarlett’s stunning features surrounded by that angelic blonde halo of hair – especially in that updo when she coyly angles her shoulder and smiled – that had me.
Even her muted blonde of Lost in Translation showed me how she uses her hair as an extension of her character. It was the perfect shade for her down-trodden, girlish character to juxtapose with the pink synthetic wig of her fearless, alter-ego self.
In the mid-Noughties it was actresses, not models, who set trends and captured attention. With her husky voice and innocent face, she was the ideal mix of fierce and feminine, a blend always best exemplified by her hair. As I envied her cherubic rosy-golden curls and her dark, sleek locks, I began to realise that she was rarely repeating looks. No other celebrity I could think of came close. A couple of changes does not a chameleon make; Scarlett’s carefree attitude towards her hair was so inspiring. As the embodiment of her own character and style, as well as those she played, each look continued to astound me.
There was one final frontier yet to cross – the crop. We’d seen Scarlett’s hair bobbed, but her dramatic pixie shaping and edgy undercut drew a firm line under the person she’d been – feeling her way through messy personal discoveries in her early 20s, and navigating the rough waters of being a woman in Hollywood. This was a new Scarlett: experienced, relaxed and cooler than ever.
Scarlett Johansson is my hair crush for showing me that hair can be an extension of our personality as it changes. We don’t stay the same person, and our hair can transform too; a realisation which prompted my own drastic chop to finally reflect the person I am becoming. Where will she take me next? I can’t wait to find out…