April 2001: Cindy Hernandez

Unless you live in New Mexico, you may not have heard of Cindy Hernandez. But she did something in early April that brought her international news coverage. She cut her hair.

Cindy Hernandez, in 1998 and 2001. (Courtesy KOB-TV/Sky News)

Hernandez is an evening news anchor at an Albuquerque TV station. When she trimmed her style to a short cap, she was suspended from the anchor desk for two days -- and local radio stations spent hours debating whether it should have been cut at all.

Cindy Hernandez never expected to cause such a firestorm. In fact, she was stunned when we told her she even made a news web site in Britain, as a "US TV star." But at least Hernandez is willing to talk about it -- and Super-Hair spoke with her by phone. Here are some excerpts:

SUPER-HAIR: Are you surprised by all the fuss your haircut has caused?

CINDY HERNANDEZ: Yes, I am. I figured there'd be some reaction from some viewers. They know when you change your lipstick color, and when you get a new one. I didn't think it would be escalated like this -- and it really snowballed because of management's decisions to pull me off the air. I knew there would be some feedback, because we're in Albuquerque. I grew up outside New York City, and that's where styles change all the time. Albuquerque tends to be a little bit slower than New York or Los Angeles.

S-H: How would you describe the style you had before the change?

CH: I had been changing it the last three months. I had three cuts, shorter and shorter. My old look was a bit like Raquel Welch -- past the ear with a little bit of a flip, sometimes a bit of a half-bang, medium-length. Then it went to just past the ear - nothing drastic, just a little at a time. I had a bit of a "Friends" type. I never had a helmet-type "anchor bob."

S-H: Who is your stylist? We'll let you give him a free plug.

CH: His name is Brent Lavigna. He has a salon in Albuquerque. It takes 14 months to get in with him, so I have to make appointments with him way in advance.

S-H: Why did you decide to change your style, and make it shorter?

CH: I wanted a change. I wanted a spring cut. I wanted something new and hot. I'm always asking my stylist, "What's the new hot style?" I don't like to have the same hairstyle year after year. Also, I'm really into playing tennis, I have a 2 year old child, and I'm into convenience. I got tired of having to use a round brush, and having to section my hair, and blow-drying it out. I said, enough of it! Besides, my hair grows really, really fast, so it can grow back.

S-H: So the station management took you off the air....

CH: They took me off the anchor desk for two days, and made me a reporter only. They needed to decide what they were going to do with my hair, because they thought it might be "uncomfortable." And it was in part to punish me about not talking with them first. It's part of my contract.

The thing is, hairstyles are very, very subjective. Ask two different people, and you get two very different opinions. My boss obviously doesn't like the new style. He thinks it looks like -- who's that woman on that new game show? (The Weakest Link's Anne Robinson)

S-H: What sort of reaction have you been getting from people about your new style?

CH: I've been hearing from people that I haven't heard from in years. I've received e-mails from across the country....

S-H: Are they for you, against you, or somewhere in the middle?

CH: They're for me. I've only heard from a couple of locals, who liked the old style better. Yet they say: we're still watching, hang in there, we support you.

Super-Hair asked you if you liked Cindy Hernandez's hair better LONGER or SHORTER. For the results and comments from our poll, click here.

S-H: We've heard what the management thinks of your style - but you're married and you have a child. What does your family think of the change?

CH: My husband just thinks it's so funny. My husband didn't even know I was getting it cut! He didn't find out until he got home from skiing. But he's very easy-going.... He's laughing about it all.... He loves all the attention.

S-H: We read somewhere that your hair already needs a trim. How often will you need trims?

CH: They want me to grow it out. So next week, I'll probably get a trim around the ears and the bangs, and just let everything else grow. It can't be too obvious, or I might get in trouble again. (Laughs)

But I'm taking it all in stride. I'm still getting paid, I have more viewers than ever - and HAIR GROWS BACK! It's not that big a deal!

S-H: Given everything that's happened, would you do it all over again?

CH: Yes - but in retrospect, I should have talked to management about changing my hair, as they say, "drastically." I'm not sure they would have agreed to this.... They think it looks mean and cold, and they want newscasters who are warm and fuzzy. Some people think it's really cosmopolitan, chic and professional. But some think it gives the impression of being too cold.

Now I have to focus in on my makeup. It's gonna have to be even more flawless - with coverage for the base not only to the neck, but to the ears now. The makeup has to be more perfected, because you have no hair to hide behind.... But (the style) is so easy. I love it. I'm out of the house in minutes now. It's liberating! If anyone wants to cut their hair short, I say: do it! It's liberating, and you save a lot of money on products.

S-H: We like to ask women whom they think have the best hair out there right now.

CH: I like Ashley Judd's hair a lot. She's always got a really cute style. I originally wanted it to look like Sharon Stone, or Jamie Lynn Curtis. Sharon Stone always has good hair to me.

SUMMARY: Cindy Hernandez says she's disappointed some interviewers from the Washington Post, New York Times and National Public Radio -- because they hoped she'd be a "women's libber." She understands the management's point of view in punishing her, although she believes it could have been handled better.

We appreciate Hernandez's openness to talk about what could be the most-discussed haircut since Keri Russell's, as well as the reaction it's brought. Her story makes many points. Yes, Hair Fans are out there, and they care. Great hair can be different things to different people. And women who try new approaches to have Super-Hair sometimes risk persecution for it.


Super-Hair Q's Archive:

November 2000 - Gina Tognoni and the Swing

July 2000 - Britney Spears

May 2000 - Shania Twain

March 2000 - Jessica Simpson

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