Yet another starlet, Anna Faris, has hacked off her hair and ventured out, naked-necked, into Hollywood. Let's not underplay the magnitude of the situation. Around here, an actress undergoing a pixie cut is the high-fash equivalent of Harry Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell Escape. Will she pull it off? Will she? Will she?
At any given time on planet Earth, exactly four women can pull off a pixie cut. Audrey Hepburn, after all, was built like a elf from "Dragon Age 2." And Mia Farrow got away with it because she has cheekbones on her cheekbones. There are two reasons why people still refer to that cut as the "Rosemary's Baby": One, Farrow wore the cut in a film by that name. Two, just thinking about getting a pixie cut is terrifying.
So why are so many actresses doing it? Faris isn't alone. Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Mia Wasikowska, Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Elisha Cuthbert, Ginnifer Goodwin -- not to mention, in her own heyday, Halle Berry -- have gone nearly naked from the neck up in recent years. (Yes, we did say that only four women on the planet can pull off this cut at any given time. We'll let you figure out which actresses don't make the, um, cut.)
If you suspect that such a choice doesn't come easily and that there may in fact be a small conspiracy of people involved, you are correct.
Turns out, the gravity of the pixie cut has never been lost on Hollywood's most powerful suits. When a rising actress suddenly shaves her locks, the choice, likely, wasn't so sudden.
"Often it's a discussion between the talent, her agent, her publicist and manager," explains Prive salon's Carla Gentile, who maintains pop star Robyn's short locks. "They all agree that it's time to make a change.
"They might call you on the phone first to discuss it or even come in for the haircut and go over what we are trying to achieve first."
And that change isn't always for the benefit of the next director. Yes, Faris did it because she had to, for the upcoming film "The Dictator," costarring Sacha Baron Cohen. But that's not always the case. Sometimes there isn't even a gig at stake but rather a different kind of prize.
"The fashion press is always looking for the next new young look, someone who is not afraid to take that chance," Gentile points out. "It can be such an amazing transformation. It can show off an actress's whole form: face shape, eyes, cheekbones."
Ergo, when Watson finally went pixie after wrapping the final "Harry Potter" film, those scissor snips were heard 'round the world.
Maybe that's why Gentile oftentimes has company when she is giving a pixie cut?
"It can be a really intense experience for everyone," Gentile notes, "because maybe you even have the agent or publicist in there when the cut is happening. They may stop in and leave, or come back.
"But it just shows it's really a huge transformation. We rely on the hair to give us our sex appeal, and when you remove it all, that really leaves just the person you are. You're exposed."
Or, really, maybe the word is "covered." After all, didn't we just give more press to every single one of these actresses?
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— Leslie Gornstein
Photos: Will Anna Faris, shown at left in the movie "Ally," have what it takes to pull off the pixie haircut? Fellow pixie-power starlet Emma Watson might know. Credits: Claire Folger / 20th Century Fox, left; Valerie Macon / Agence France-Press / Getty Images, right.