KRISTY AND RORY WOUDSTRA, Journalist and Grade School Student

March 27, 2017

Kristy and I used to work together at HuffPost Canada. We started around the same time and clicked instantly. When I told her about Untangled, she was nothing but supportive about the idea. Plus, I think Kristy has great hair and wanted to ask her all about her hair evolution. Her 11-year-old daughter, Rory, also joined our conversation, during which we talked all about hair and identity, mother-daughter hair lessons and the benefits of ponytails. -- Julia Brucculieri 

 

ON LIKING THEIR HAIR

RORY: I like it. I like that it’s easy to work with and I can put it in a ponytail and it doesn’t really bother me. It’s just easy to put up or down. I don’t know if I like the curl, but I’m just glad it’s not really straight so I can still put it in a ponytail. I love ponytails. I wear them 24/7. It keeps your hair out of your face, so whenever I'm running around or playing soccer, it doesn’t bother me, I can just put it in a ponytail. Sometimes I wish my hair was a little thinner because it would be easier to brush — it gets pouffy whenever I brush it. 

 

KRISTY: I think I like my hair now. I don’t think I liked it very much growing up. I’d get a home perm, because it wasn’t curly and I wanted it to be curly. That was the style back then. The bigger the better. Not only did I have the home perm, I would also blow dry it so it was really big, had the great big high bangs. I can say maybe I don’t like my hair because it’s starting to go grey. Now I’m coloring it partially to cover up the grays, but I started coloring way before then, just because I like to have fun with it. Since I was 16, I’ve only ever had my hair short, and at first when I got it cut, it was pretty much an F-you to my father. We weren’t allowed to have short hair. So when I was old enough to be able to do what I wanted with my hair and was paying for my own haircuts, I cut it short. It probably wasn’t even intentional, but subconsciously, looking back now it definitely was. Because of that, I’ve always had short hair, other than a brief stint in my twenties, when I grew it out. That was painful — I realized I didn’t know what to do with my hair and I just kept putting it up in a ponytail anyway. I feel more myself with short hair, though. 

 

ON MOTHER-DAUGHTER HAIR LESSONS

RORY: Well, I’ve learned how to wash it! But it’s different, because she has short hair and I have long hair. 

 

KRISTY: My mom taught me the value of a good stylist. You never go cheap on a haircut — not that I get $200 haircuts — you’re loyal to your stylist when you find a good one, you pay them well. All my vanity is in my hair. I have to wash my hair and style it everyday, unless I’m wearing a hat, I can’t just walk out of the house because I literally wake up and look like Rod Stewart every morning. 

 

ON DEALING WITH PEOPLE'S OPINIONS

RORY: People always ask me, "When are you going to wear your hair down?" And I’m like, “Probably never, because I hate it.” And they’re always like, “Well you should wear it down,” and I say, “Well, it’s not your hair!” 

 

My best friends understand, but my newest friends, they’re like, “You should wear your hair down,” because they haven’t known me for eight years. They don’t know that I don’t feel as comfortable with my hair down. Sometimes I’ll just take it down if I’m going to put in a new ponytail, and they’re like, “You should keep it down!” and I’m like, “No thanks.” 

 

I feel like I can’t play sports at all when my hair’s down. It just gets in the way. I kind of feel helpless when my hair’s down because I can’t do anything active because it just goes whoosh [motions messy hair with her hands]. 

 

THE DEFINITION OF A "GOOD" PONYTAIL DAY

RORY: When none of my hair elastics break. 

 

ON HAIR AND IDENTITY

RORY: I feel like if I didn't have my hair in a ponytail all the time, I would be a different person. Everybody at my school knows me as having a ponytail. I'm kind of like the "ponytail girl."

 

KRISTY: My hair is my entire identity. But it's more who I aspire to be. It's amazing to me that having short hair is still a statement in 2017, as a woman. People have publicly made fun of me in terms of sexuality and gender and all that kind of stuff because I have short hair. I'm pretty used to it now. One thing I noticed when I grew my hair out -- it was in my late 20s -- then I cut it short again, I felt like, I'm me again. Even if I'm not sure what to wear or if I don't like my outfit, if I'm having a good hair day, I feel like I'm putting my brand out there still. I absolutely feel like my hair is my brand. If I'm meeting someone for an interview, I can always say I'm the woman with the short hair, whatever color it is, and people will immediately know who I am. 

 

RORY (to Kristy): I like your hair. I think I used to wish you had long hair, because I would look at all the other kids at school and their moms had long hair and you had short hair. But now I kind of like it, because you look unique from all the other moms. 

 

KRISTY: You always wanted me to be wearing flowing dresses and have long flowing hair. You would even tell me, "You look like a boy." (Rory: "Really?!") I'd just be like, "No, not growing out my hair." And you'd say, "Why don't you grow out your hair mom?" and I'd just say, "Nope, can't be bothered." You always wanted a mom with long hair. 

 

ON THE POWER OF A GOOD HAIR DAY

KRISTY: It's night and day. If I am having a bad hair day, it is the worst day. The world is dark and I don't feel confident. I just want to stay in bed, I don't want to leave the house. It's obvious, all my vanity is still in my hair. I also don't like to spend much time on my hair. If it takes any more than 10 minutes to style, I get really frustrated. So, a) I'm not willing to put the time in, and b) I expect it to be a good hair day everyday. 

 

I find if I'm having a bad hair day, those are always the days that someone says, "You're hair looks so great today!" And then I start to wonder if they think I'm having a bad hair day every other day, when I think I'm having a good hair day. I suffer from lack of self-confidence to begin with, and when I'm having a bad hair day, I feel just completely unattractive. It's weird. 

 

RORY: I don't really have to care about my hair that much, so I guess it doesn't really affect my day. 

 

ON DYING HAIR 

KRISTY: I didn't start dying my hair until my ex-husband left, and I remember my hair stylist saying, "New life, new hair." I had never wanted to dye my hair before because I kind of thought it was a waste of money, I didn't have grey hair, and I always thought that's why you dyed your hair. When my ex left, I cut my hair super short and dyed it an auburn red. You feel like you gain a whole new identity just by dying your hair. I haven't stopped since. 

 

-- As told to Untangled in Toronto, Canada. Photos by Amy Buck. 

 

 

 

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