One of Cindy Crawford’s many beauty trademarks is her voluminous hair, and there’s a reason we’ve never seen the supermodel rock a pixie cut: Last time her hair was short, it was against her will.
Crawford recounted the “traumatizing” experience of having her hair lopped off in the new Apple TV+ docuseries The Super Models, which chronicles the rise of Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell. In a sit-down, Crawford recalls that early in her career (she was just 18 at the time), “I went to see a photographer, Patrick Demarchelier. He said, ‘Fine, I’ll book her to go to Rome, but I want her to cut her hair off.’” First of all, yes, Dermarchelier is the guy Miranda Priestley wanted on the phone that time. Second, it’s not unheard of for a photographer or anyone involved in a fashion shoot to request a hair change (Taylor Swift cut bangs for Vogue and never looked back), but a request is just that: a request. And in this case, the request was declined.
“My agency and I decided no, it wasn’t worth it, so we said, ‘No, she’s not cutting her hair,’ and they said ‘Fine, we’ll take her any way.’ I was so excited. It was just a great opportunity. The very first night, they sent a hairdresser to my room to give me a trim…they comb my hair, put it in a ponytail, and chop my ponytail off without asking,” says Crawford. She doesn’t know, or doesn’t say, who told the stylist to cut her hair, but after Demarchelier’s team had specifically agreed not to do so, she was understandably surprised. “I was in shock. And I just sat there in a hotel room in Rome crying. And if people wonder why I never really cut my hair since then, that’s why. Because I was so traumatized,” she explains.
Not only was it a violation of her physical self (her hair, but still—it’s attached to her head!), the experience made Cindy Crawford feel that her words did not matter; people were going to use her how they saw fit. “I really felt like I was not seen as a person who had a voice in her own destiny. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my hair short; it was that I hadn’t voted myself in to have short hair.”
She revealed she nearly quit the biz as a result, thinking at the time, “If this is what it means to be a model, I’m just not ready for this.” Thankfully, she went on to have a great career and, eventually, a positive relationship with Demarchelier, who passed away in 2022. In a 1995 interview, Crawford spoke about their work together, saying that she didn’t feel that the photographer exploited her and that they joke about the hair incident now…but at the time, he laughed at her while she cried.