About this inspirational women…
Meet Caty Faurie from South Africa. South Africa is a country rich in natural beauty, but sadly it can also a place of prejudice and discrimination. Caty is a professional working in the field of engineering, very rare for a woman in South Africa. Rarer still Cathy has rainbow hair. We dare say she is the only woman with alternative, vibrant hair colour working in her field in South Africa.
Today Cathy shares her inspirational story, and gives us a taste of life and it’s challenges as a rainbow unicorn living on the southern tip of Africa.
Here is our Q & A with Caty Faurie:
How did your journey to rainbow hair start?
Well, I always tell people it’s my mum’s fault.
I grew up on reading fantasy books with my fellow avid reader my mum. And in the series The Echorium Sequence the characters Singers dye their hair blue. Teenage me and my mom spoke hours long about dyeing our hair blue.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and I land at the airport visiting my family in South Africa after working in Europe. “Do you like it?” my mom said and shook her blue streaked hair around. “AHH I WANT!” was my reply. The journey started there and then.
I started with blue streaks, discovered Manic Panic’s Shocking Blue in the process but as the time went on, the streaks just became more and more until I finally had streaks of brown rather than blue streaks. I took the final step and dyed all my hair blue.
How did people react?
It was a shock to the rest of the family. People definitely stared at me in shopping malls. I was known as Miss Blue to my friends, and responded to people calling me Blue. It simplified my life considerably: Wondering about buying a top? Is it blue, Yes, buy it, is it not blue…do you like it regardless of that, Yes, still buy it!
I started turning my entire life blue. A blue day for me became a good day, a gray day was a bad day. And just as long as it took for my hair to fade I would start feeling down. “Blueing”, my friends called it, when I re-dyed and showed up after a weekend of bleaching roots and sitting in the shower covered with blue dye, all bright and my mood certainly matching the bright colour!
The only reason I ever tried another colour is because a batch of Shocking Blue that I tried came out purple on my hair and faded pink. That shook things up a bit, and not long after that I went and bought a rainbow selection of Manic Panic and graced my first rainbow, inspiration courtesy of Ursula Goff and Lizzy Davis. I don’t think I’ll ever have my hair one colour again ever! Or even two hah! And the only problem now is waiting long enough for the colour to fade so I can do the next idea to pass through my head.
Has having rainbow hair affected your life in anyway?
I am a very shy person by nature. Now I can hear my friends snickering in the background. But indeed I am shy with people I don’t know. Try being shy when everyone is staring at your hair! On the one hand I know they are staring at my hair, so I would feel less self-conscious about my outfit. But on the other hand you have to act confident and happy if you’re sporting a bright head of plumage in a world of dull colours.
Oh, and people recognise me. Cashiers would greet me, fast food servers would remember my regular order and hand me my prepared order without checking my slip. I could get away with liberties like asking to pay a drink later, because obviously they would remember me and I could hardly slip out unnoticed. I also have to be a good example, you can’t be rude to someone and just not expect them to remember you. Anyways with a head full of bright colour you need to be happy, how could you not be happy!
Is bright hair colour as popular in South Africa as in western countries?
Alternative colours are becoming more mainstream, especially in the media, but here in South Africa it’s still very rare. Streaks or dip dye are maybe acceptable on students of art, but never on grown people having professional jobs. If you are traveling to South Africa with unnatural hair, you definitely would be stared at. Some people might ask outright whether it’s your real hair and whether they can touch it. I had someone ask me whether my hair burned in a fire and whether that’s the reason why it’s pink.
I had someone ask me whether my hair burned in a fire and whether that’s the reason why it’s pink.
How do you buy your hair dye? Do you have to go online, or can you get it in South Africa?
In the beginning I imported it all! I bought bulk packages from the UK that emptied my pocket every 3 months. But AnonaMiss in Cape Town now stock my favourite Manic Panic and a change in colour is but a speed parcel away. Unfortunately they only stock Manic Panic alternative hair colour, so I’ve missed out on trying all the other options I read about on Haircrazy.info. But on the other hand Manic Panic has all the colours I would ever imagine or can mix!
Tell us about your work. Have you experienced any challenges as a women in your field? Especially having colourful hair?
In the beginning of my career I had to fight for every bit of trust that was placed in me. I had to work twice as hard just to be considered just as good as my male co-workers. I hid my hair in buns and kept my nails short and without nail polish, dressed in baggy jeans and overalls and didn’t wear a stitch of make-up. I was scared of them applying the stereotype of “girls” to me and I felt like I had to prove myself, but yet I enjoyed watching the shock on people’s faces when I mentioned that I was an engineer.
I had to work twice as hard just to be considered just as good as my male co-workers.
It was only when I started dyeing my hair blue that I realised that they accept me for the work I did, not the way I looked. I’ve proven myself to be equal to the challenge. I was still the same person, just more me. I feel happier when I have a head of freshly dyed hair and it shows in the energy I tackle my work.
When starting a new job I still start with “ordinary” hair or a wig covering my rainbow, but gradually I will start bringing out a few streaks, making them used to it, adding a few streaks as soon as the comments stopped and so on until I’m back to being me. And by that time no one can remember how I look with ordinary hair!
I don’t think I’ll be confident enough to go to an interview with my “real” coloured hair, the world here isn’t ready for that yet. Or maybe I am not confident enough? I always thought full-on-colour too risky in my line of work, yet here I am rocking a different look every few months!
I still meet people in my day to day work that feel I should not pick up heavy equipment, or crawl into small spaces or people who seems surprised when I step in and take over and fix the problem. I also still meet people that make negative comments about my hair or steer themselves clear from me. I just shrug, laugh and carry on. I don’t take it to heart.
What has been the best reactions?
My favourite fans are the little girls who would tug on mom’s leg and in a stage whisper go “Mom!!! Look at that lady’s hail! She has lainbow hail!” I want them to know that you can become whatever you want to, you can be whoever you are inside, and to not let the doubters tell you that certain dreams can’t be true.
If I can be who I am, lainb…sorry, rainbow and all, having a full-time professional job while rocking the hair, well then, that little girl out there can be whoever she wants to be.
Caty will be joining the RainbowHairColour.com writers team for this blog.
So watch this space for future articles from Miss Blue!
Want to learn how to create rainbow hair?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour and so much more…
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Neon Hair Career Women in US Vogue Sep 2012 ‘Her Brilliant Career’
The most colourful statement in Vogue’s September 2012 issue is not merely about dying your hair neon colours, it’s about showing up for work with neon hair. The storied stylist Grace Coddington, known for her own orange plume, teamed with photographer David Sims to show Karlie Kloss, the statuesque catwalker, vamping her way to work in clothes that befit a lawyer, architect, marketing consultant, a broadcast journalist, even a CEO. The headline? “Her Brilliant Career.” Hair stylist Guido Palau, used an array of brightly colour wigs for this shoot, using colour’s that both contrast and clashed with the office wardrobe. This editorial published in 2012 suggested that even in bad economic times, someone is up for a good time.
The idea of neon hair colours in the workplace has always been controversial, but as rainbow hair colour becomes less punk and more couture and high fashion mindsets are changing. While it’s may seem far fetched to suggest a lawyer or CEO could show up to work with bright hair, the fact that a fashion giant like Vogue is promoting this style is already a huge step. We may still be a way off from neon hair career women, however there are more jobs than ever before that will accept colourful hair. So perhaps Vogue is giving us a taste of the not too distant future. If you are looking for ideas for workplaces and jobs that will actually allow brightly coloured hair, check out our article:
Want to create neon hair colour like this at home?
Discover Anya’s eBook guide: ‘Any Colour Of The Rainbow – The Ultimate Guide to Alternative Hair Colour‘. This guide covers everything from safe bleaching with ammonia free bleach to creating stunning multi colours with foil. Find out all the best products, how to do pastel colours, how to maintain vibrant colour, create ombre colour like to professionals and so much more…