Big Bushy Hair

Post by Thandie.

thandiekay.comThis is about hair and healing. If you’re featuring kinks you’ll acknowledge that the two often go together. We’ve already devoted many pages to the theme here at ThandieKay – and doubtless there’ll be many more to come.

I went to an all-girls boarding school between the ages of 12 and 18. We wore a tidy uniform, and the hair discipline was similarly straightforward. Especially the ‘straight’ part. I was a dance student and half of every week day was spent throwing down shapes, so my hair was pulled back in a bun or braid. The weekend was where we got to express ourselves with clothes, hair and make up. It was showtime. And the parade took place in the dining hall. Lunchtime in the canteen we’d watch from tables as girls rounded the corner to select their plates, while revealing who they really were.

It was always more delicious than the food. Dozens of revelations – “Did you see so and so’s OUTFIT! So and so looks fierce with eyeliner! So and so kills a JEAN!”

I was very shy about my appearance (Anika and I talked about hair issues growing up in a previous Post here). But finally at about 13 I braved the canteen with my loose hair.

It was big, it was brown and it was bushy. I had no reference points for hair like mine.

I don’t think I’d ever seen another person with big bushy hair; only me. Subsequently, wearing it free put me in a profoundly fragile space. I guess I thought I was safe in my boarding school environment.


Must be the season of the witch.. Kate Bush

As I walked self-consciously along, selecting food items, the matron on duty – Miss O’Donohue – saw me and commented loudly “Thandie Newton, you look like a WITCH!”  I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face. The room went silent. I was surrounded by a sea of eyeballs. The humiliation was intense.

I didn’t have the self esteem to deflect the easy attack, instead I took the comment and internalised it. I had made a stupid mistake – my hair was a catastrophe, and I should have known better. No more bushy hair for me.

Until about a year ago. Accidentally, and exhaustedly, after having our 3rd baby, I found that keeping my curly hair curly was one task too many. Even hair washing was an alien concept. The most I could manage was scooping my barnet up into a scarf, or a tie. Until one day, without thinking, I took a brush to it (I know – a brush!) … And magically there it was – a wild mane of glorious fuzz.

Frizz glorious Frizz

Frizz glorious Frizz

Big and fluffy like cotton flowers, soft and airy like a cloud. It was beautiful.

And, it was everything I’d understood to be wrong.

Every curly haired person shudders at the word ‘frizzy’.We’re the ones who run gasping from rain like the witches we are.

If you’ve got curls you want them articulated and defined – NOT brushed into a botch of follicle fuzz.

And yet here I was questioning, why? My halo of brown was ROCKING – it was huge, and amAZing! It’s also what happened to my eldest daughter’s hair when it was loose – and she loved it. So too my youngest who would actually ASK for her hair to be loose, so she could enjoy her “curly cushion” as she called it.

Frizzy Thandie in Isabel Marant800So, on a recent shoot for Porter magazine, celebrating my collaboration with Kay Montano I decided to celebrate La Frizz, to great effect.

I’ve never felt more gorgeous in my life, nor more intensely me. In fact, I’ve been wearing my hair frizzy for 6 months or so – it’s my current favourite style option. I feel strong, beautiful, fuzzy and free.

Yes, frizzy hair is bold. It’s the afro of the Naughties – who’s with me on this? It’s wild…

and something which is no longer taboo. Talking of taboos, let’s go back to Miss O’Donohue – the woman who helped me lock up Rapunzel for all those years. How do I feel about her comment now, or her? Well, who knows her motivation for saying such a thing – and I feel compassion for her; choosing to hurt a young woman. How sad to be the bringer of shame and distrust. She died soon after – no husband, no children and a 40 a day cigarette habit as her only friend. Who knows what sadness darkened her journey to that point.

So to her memory I say “The fear that caused you to recoil from me is no longer present in my body; the buck stopped with me. The world is a better place Miss O’Donohue – if you were here I’d help you, and we’d encourage the damaged child inside of you to come out and play”.

Funnily enough, I was talking to my dear friend Eve Ensler recently, about witches – Joan of Arc, and all those girls burnt at the stake. Bold, uncompromising women; feared by the status quo for revealing the wild magic of the unknown universe. Sounds like the woman I’m striving to be. So, thanks for the compliment – I’m proud to be a witch.

                                                             The Frizz Gallery

The Frizz Gallery

Clockwise Top Left: Esperanza Spalding, semi-frizzcurled Donna Summer, Maria (Sonia Manzano) from Sesame Street, Susan Sarandon in The Witches of Eastwick & Donna Summer


The Frizz Gallery

Clockwise Top Left: Chaka Khan, Grace Coddington, Jerry Hall, Marsha Hunt & Chaka Khan

The Frizz Gallery

Solange Knowles, Kate Bush, Donna Summer & Chaka Khan

The Frizz Gallery

Esperanza Spalding, Jerry Hall, Chaka Khan, Solange Knowles, Chaka Khan

 Editor’s Hair Note:


Boucleme founder Michele brushed out her curls for our #frizzchallenge

Thandie’s been loving eco-certified Boucleme hair products.

Designed for the drier, more fragile nature of afro and curly hair, Boucleme is sulphate & silicone-free & not tested on animals.

Despite her brand being about curls, she agreed to do our instagram/twitter #frizzchallenge (right) ! Thanks Michele!



3 thoughts on “Big Bushy Hair

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  1. […] Fast forward to today, Thandie has embraced the kink and has launched the #frizzchallenge. More about her story here. […]

    January 13, 2015 at 3:14 am
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  3. […] Fast forward to today, Thandie has embraced the kink and has launched the #frizzchallenge. More about her story here. […]

    January 13, 2015 at 10:16 am
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  5. […] a post uploaded to the blog that she shares with make-up artist Kay Montano, Thandie recalls an incident […]

    January 15, 2015 at 6:45 pm

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