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« The Next Best Actor Race | Main | "I don't see how I can go on living my life the way I've lived it before..." »
Sunday
Mar242019

TFE PSA: Stop asking Nicole Kidman about her wigs!

by Ilich Mejía

Last week, Nicole Kidman called into KIIS 1065’s The Kyle & Jackie O Show to promote the Australian release of Destroyer. The actress talked to Jackie O about working on the film and the future of Big Little Lies before the host introduced a discouraging question. 

“They do this podcast and, literally, the podcast is all about your wigs. It did make me wonder, what is your favorite wig?” Jackie started. Coolly, Kidman replied...

Well, I’m using my own hair now. I think that’s probably my favorite: my own hair. There’s many times when I use my own hair.”

Right before wrapping up the interview herself, she continued

It’s like asking for the best character. Like saying you have a favorite child. I can’t answer that one!”

The host prefaced her question by alluding to the same question Kidman had already dismissed in September of last year when Destroyer premiered at TIFF. During a Q&A for the film, Sam Herbst, host of Kidmanifesto (the podcast Jackie O refers to) asked the actress, “I’ve spent the last year ranking your movies by things like wigs, and this movie is pretty wig-heavy. How do you think it ranks and do you have any other favorites?” The actress met the well-intentioned question with a swift dismissal: “That’s an awful question. I’m shutting that question down.”

If her message wasn’t clear enough then—did Jackie stop watching that Q&A the second before she answered?!—I’ll now kneel and kindly implore you all to STOP ASKING NICOLE MARY KIDMAN ABOUT HER HAIR!

While it does seem unusual for her to skirt the questions so obviously, especially after Annapurna, Destroyer’s distributor, made an awards push for the film’s high-profile hair and makeup team that transformed the actress, we also have enough personal and professional context to know better than to continue to direct questions about hair her way.

As with most delicate topics (men, smells, plastic surgery, men), we tend to talk about wigs mostly when they’re bad. There’s a reason we only briefly acknowledge that both Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are wearing wigs in Carol. Sure, those wigs resemble the actor’s real-life hair enough that they would likely not be a topic of conversation even if they were slightly less impressive. When we discuss Kidman in Birth, for instance, the wig—a childish pixie cut covering her ordinarily long curls—is maybe the eleventh or twelfth talking point (if that) because there’s so much else to discuss.

These questions, for better or worse, can serve as a good barometer for how a performance is regarded. It’s then easy to see why Kidman gets defensive when a wig is brought up: it implies the viewer was so distracted by the wig that they missed the fine details of the performance or were underwhelmed so they asked about something banal. Destroyer could be an example of either, depending on your mileage, but clearly neither is flattering. Kidman wears two wigs in the movie. One is objectively not good (there’s hardly a part, it doesn’t seem to ever move, and the banged style that probably requires frequent touch-ups doesn’t align with the careless character).

 

It’s also possible she can’t help but take these questions personally, as a sort of call for why she’s such a frequent wig-wearer. Technically, there are many reasons why wigs are a good idea in film: hair stylists don’t need the actor to be physically on set for as long and the actor can alter their own hair as much as they’d like without worrying about breaking a contractual obligation or affecting consistency through reshoots. Less technically, wigs provide someone insecure about their hair with better hair.

In 2014 Kidman said she was embracing her natural hair texture again and while promoting Lion on The Graham Norton Show in 2016, she admitted regret for dying and straightening her hair so much when she was young which resulted in losing her then-trademark curls. She’ll still wear wigs for most of her magazine covers and often on international red carpets. Of course, this is not uncommon in this industry, but her intentions for doing this are clearly nothing she cares to —or should be obligated to— unpack.

As a self-proclaimed character actress trapped in a movie star, it’s fun to watch Kidman transform in her movies, often times with the help of a new ‘do. It’s also refreshing to see her sporting her natural hair in movies like The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Rabbit Hole to equally beautiful results.

She is currently shooting The Undoing for HBO in New York City. She’s been spotted with strawberry blonde curls on set for that (pictured above). Wig or not, let’s keep the speculation between us and put all our energy into asking what really matters: when are we getting that Adrian Lyne erotic thriller?!

Are we excited about The Undoing? Nicole is playing a therapist in New York City that loves thigh-high boots, so this could be HBO's answer to Gypsy. Remember that?

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Reader Comments (16)

that's a lot of words on a subject you don't want discussed...

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I suppose the wig questions are inherently sexist because men are less scrutinized over their physical appearance.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

oh geez you’re so sensitive. Silly post. who cares. askimg famous actresses about wigs is perfectly acceptable. Kinda funny that Kidman (and super fans, I guess) get peeved about it.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Okay Jaremi it's never that serious.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWerk

It's up to her whether she wants to talk about wigs or not, but it's fine for interviewers to ask about it. They can't be expected to have watched or read or heard every interview she's ever done. Wigs are fun and asking about them is not misogynistic.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

Has this been turned into a feminist issue? if so, that is silly. Having said that, I did enjoy reading this piece.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

Her wig in Destroyer and Melissa McCarthy's in Can You Ever Forgice me? are two of the worst wigs I have ever seen.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

One thought I had is that her hair might be thinning, and that's a really sensitive issue for a lot of people. A lot of actresses have damaged their hair over the years with frequent dyes and other treatments.

So while it may or may not be fair for someone to ask about wigs, it might be a topic she really doesn't want to discuss or even think about.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

Why don’t people ask Nicole why she can’t do an American accent? Or any accent..

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax

Nicoles wig in Destroyer is better than the film and her performance.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Her performance in Destroyer is fantastic and even that unfortunate wig could not change that. And it is perfectly acceptable to ask actors about their wigs since they are part of their characters, like accent, walk or make up.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpawel

Borrrrring ... I could care less about her or anyone's wigs!

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Just remember Marcos, a lot of people at some point make bad ‘wiggy’ choices with their natural hair ha.

March 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIztru

Sandra Bullock's wig in The Blind Side is AMAZING.

March 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMMinDC

Julianne Moore understands the red keeps her ageless. Kidman doesn't.

March 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHoneybee

Excellent post! Thank you. Agreed with every word.

March 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEoghan McQ

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