VIVIAN CHEUNG, Graphic Designer

August 7, 2017

Vivian Cheung is a graphic designer based in New York City. (You can see some of her awesome work right here.) We met -- thanks to Emily Ramshaw, who was previously featured on the site -- one sunny day in the East Village to chat all about her hair transformations, family opinions and her hair philosophy. Read it all below! -- JB

 

HER HAIR EVOLUTION

Since I was young until I was 18, I had very long, brown hair -- my natural color -- which was always lighter than my family's. They had dark black hair, and I had light brown with a few natural highlights. [About a year ago], I cut it short -- that was first big thing I did -- it was up to my shoulders, and the year after, I went blonde. It was a very drastic change and my parents didn't like it, but, I was really into it. I don't even know what sparked me to do it. I just wanted a change and I feel like I've always wanted to dye my hair or do something interesting, and I just figured, Why not? 

 

A year later, it got dry and damaged and I got tired of maintaining it. I went to my colorist and asked, if we could dye it back brown, and he was like, "Why don't we try a midway thing, I can darken it and you can slowly let it grow out." And here I am now. 

 

ON LIFE AS A BLONDE

I think the term "blondes have more fun" is true. I would get more attention walking down the street -- people would just look at me. It's a striking difference. I remember, I had another friend who went blonde, but it wasn't as drastic, and she was like, "Yeah, I get so much more attention." Everyone is looking at you on the streets because it's a more of an eye sore. It was just like, WHOA, especially because I'm Asian. I definitely felt more confident, a little more edgy and cool. 

 

Sometimes, when I was with my cousins, they didn't really understand it. They would ask their parents, "Why is her hair like that?" And they'd say, "Oh she's weird." Then I would kind of feel uncomfortable in those settings, where I had to be a little more traditional but felt very out there. 

 

ON DEALING WITH HER PARENTS' OPINIONS

My mom never really liked my blonde hair. One time, I went home and as a joke put a brown wig on. I was like, "I dyed it dark again!" She was like, "Yay! ... Never mind." At the same time, she got used to it and didn't really care. That was the most uncomfortable I really felt [about my hair]. Nowadays, anyone can have any hair color -- you can have pink or blue -- and no one really cares. 

 

If you want to change it up, who's going to tell you not to do that if it's going to make you feel good at the end of the day? 

 

ON GOING GREY

I actually have been going grey since I was 15. I always had white hairs and I used to freak out and go to the doctor and ask if it was normal. They always said yes, but I don't think they really knew the answer -- they were just telling me that. Now I have chunks of white hair. My parents both dyed their hair, so I don't know what they would look like [if they went grey]. I think that's the fear for me -- I don't know what it feels like to have it on me and I guess your parents are the closest thing to see a reflection of what you would look like older. 

 

Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I'm like, "Oh gosh, I'm really getting old." I guess it's more of a realization of how time goes by so quickly. 

 

ON SIGNATURE HAIRSTYLES

I feel like I'm the type of person who changes my taste every few years. I look back five years ago and I'm like, What was I thinking?! So to keep something forever seems a bit too -- I don't think I could keep [a hairstyle] forever.  

 

For the last 10 years, it's always been kind of a layered look more-or-less. But I don't think I have a Rachel on "Friends" haircut that will always be me. I feel like as styles change and as I grow older, I want to change it up and do different things. Maybe I'll cut it into a pixie cut. Can't say I can commit to one style for the rest of my life.

 

ON HAIR AND IDENTITY

It's the first thing you see when you're talking to someone, other than their face. But your hair really makes a difference. Obviously, your face does to an extent, but I think your hair really changes a lot about you. I like how it can kind of play up your emotions or your personality a bit. 

 

HER HAIR PHILOSOPHY

Try new things. Don't be afraid to change it up. 

 

-- As told to Untangled in New York City. Photos by Julia Brucculieri. 

 

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