For our new Viewpoint column in the January issue, I had the pleasure of interviewing actress Raquel Welch about the Corporate Impact Award the Raquel Welch Wig Collection and parent company HairUWear received recently from the American Cancer Society for their contribution of more than $1 million worth of wigs. (The wigs have been distributed to women who are cancer patients nationwide with the aim of helping them cope with their disease and achieve a better quality of life.) Here, Raquel shares how she got involved in wig-making and provides tips both stylists and clients can use for styling wigs.
Q: What made you decide to create your own wig line?
A: I didnâ€™t really have the idea myself. As most actresses or people who work in fashion know, hairpieces, wigs and extensions are kind of an everyday thing. When youâ€™re changing character or youâ€™re on to the next thing, so many times youâ€™ve had wig products to help you. [HairUWear] came to me and said they would like me to be involved in a wig line. I said that I never thought about it before, but I do wear a lot of wigs professionally, onstage, in my movies and sometimes for my appearances, so why not? I think itâ€™s a good thing to have wigs more accessible to a cross-section of your average women so that they too can have these beauty aids to play with.
I also said I had never thought of wigs commercially before because I felt like they had gotten so dated-looking and didnâ€™t seem to be very fashion forward. I said I thought we should style our wigs so that theyâ€™re not too â€œfantasy,â€ but still allow women to get into the glamour mode when they want to. Iâ€™m very hands-on. I have a stylist who works with me closely on the wig line who I take tear sheets to of my favorite hairstyles of the moment to recreate. Iâ€™ll say things like, â€œDonâ€™t you love this Rianna look, isnâ€™t that fun?â€ And heâ€™ll say, â€œOh yeah, we can do that.â€ So we do many contemporary styles, but also some for ladies who donâ€™t want to make as much of a cutting-edge fashion statement. But I think more and more women are wearing wigs now, and younger and younger women, too.
Q: How many wigs do you own and how often do you change your style?
A: Oh gosh, I couldnâ€™t even count themâ€”thereâ€™s so, so many. I change my wigs quite often because there are so many fabulous new ones. We have the three-quarter falls, we have the hair extensions that are the clip-in straight strips and then HairUWear also makes Great Lengths, which is one of the premium individual bonded hair extensions that are used in the business. Then you have short wigs and blonde wigs and reddish wigs and dark wigs, long wigs and medium-length wigs. I was just upstairs playing around with the idea of wearing a kind of deconstructed shag, sort of very Klute-looking, but itâ€™s not as perfectly quaffed. There are really lotâ€™s of fun, youthful and convenient styles that you can throw into your suitcase and take with you or put on when youâ€™re in a pinch.
Whatâ€™s really exciting lately are the new lace-front wigs, which have a piece of hair laceâ€”a very fine meshâ€”that comes right ahead of your hairline so that you donâ€™t have to wear your hair forward to cover the where the wig starts. It really looks like the hair is growing right out of your head. Itâ€™s pretty amazing.
Q: Do you have any tips for women and stylists when if comes to wearing and styling wigs?
A: I think even if you buy a wig and it looks pretty darn good on you from the get-go, itâ€™s very helpful for women to take their wigs to their stylist and ask them to just give it a dusting, in other words, take minuscule amounts of hair off the wig to help frame the face and balance everything. Itâ€™s impossible to buy a wig thatâ€™s produced for thousands of people and have it just exactly the way you want it. I think itâ€™s important that stylists are able to do this. Of course, you have to keep in mind that itâ€™s not going to grow back, so you have to do it judiciously.
One styling trick I use to help frame the face and keep my style from looking â€œwiggyâ€ is to pull the front of my hairline out from underneath the wig in strategic places. Just use a little rattail comb with a metal tip on it. Because thereâ€™s more than one color in the hair thatâ€™s in the wig, it usually blends right in. Then if the wind blows or you throw your head back, youâ€™re free to move around and you donâ€™t have a telltale â€œwig helmetâ€ on that going to be suddenly revealed and blow the whole image! Youâ€™d be surprised how often that works. I can get a way with it almost without exception.