- Edition 7, Chapter 7 -
by Alexander Brebner
As a girl, Yael Dray was made fun of because of her glasses. She got contact lenses. When she was taunted because of her curly hair, she started straightening it. “It’s amazing how those experiences stay with you; they formed my self-image,” she admits. In fact, she had been getting Keratin treatments to combat her curls for so long that she didn’t remember what her natural texture looked like – until she started to grow it out and came to us with hair half straight and half not.
Yael is an actress and singer who performs as Edith Piaf at BB King here in New York City, so she is used to appearing as someone different than herself. But, she explained during her casting interview at our studio. “I feel like I want to be me again.” Yael recalled a Skype session with her niece who has curly hair but is athletic and always wears it tied back. “You have such beautiful curls,” Yael told her, to which her niece replied, “If you love curls so much, how come you’ve been straightening them for so long?” She had a point.
So when Wes chopped off what was left of Yael’s processed, lifeless hair, she nearly cried, but reminded herself, “It’s only a haircut.” She wandered around our studio that day avoiding mirrors and reaching for phantom hair that was no longer attached. When she sat down in Roxie’s chair for color (a novelty as Keratin treatments are incompatible with color chemistry) she look into the mirror, fingered her hair as if it were some kind of foreign matter, and muttered, “It’s so curly.”
“Yes, and it’s great,” we all enthused. “You’re just saying that to make me feel ok,” she said with a pout. But as the day progressed, so did her attitude. “It’s time to be a grown-up with beautiful curls,” she eventually proclaimed. “I’m going to become friends with my hair. I thought this was only a haircut, but it’s more like therapy!”
Soon Yael was delighting in her newly springy hair while managing to look quite regal. “People tell me that when I come offstage I appear to be taller – there’s an expansiveness, I guess,” she explained, exploring the new possibilities of curls to add height. She spoke with her sister that night who said, “Now that you have short hair you have a style.” Did Yael send her pictures? “Every hour!”