is a mistress of disguise, both as an actress and
a singer. For both her highly successful careers
she carefully plans each new look, starting with
a fresh hairstyle, then changing her make-up and
clothes. Johnny Waller talked to human chameleon.
I was a kid I had long black hair and looked very
Chinese. When I see pictures of me as a baby, I
think I look exceptionally pretty. But from the
age of six months, I was a bit ugly. And after
the age of three, I started becoming really
had such thick black hair I looked wild, like a
don't become aware of being pretty or ugly until
you become aware of your sexuality. I didn't care
about myself until I was twelve.
I felt fat and ugly.
was always getting into fights, getting scars all
over me. One of my first ambitions was to be a
muscle woman. At the age of about seven I wanted
to be like a man.
12 to 14 I really cared about my physique. I was
pissed off with god because I didn't look like my
was a very cruel girl. I used to pick up boys and
drop them each week. I only had one boyfriend
that I cared about. When he went I didn't bother
going out with anyone until I was twenty.
was eleven when I started wearing make-up. I saw
a picture of Lou Reed with blond hair and great
black eyes, so I started copying him. Then Marc
Bolan came in - I used to have a glitter teardrop
on my cheek.
was fifteen when I started dyeing my hair. I went
dark blue - and I've been every colour since. The
movie of The Rocky Horror Show and David
Bowie drove me to dye my hair.
year afterwards The Sex Pistols played Bogarts in
Birmingham and I went down to see them. Suddenly
I was among people that looked like me. That was
great, because up until then I'd been in complete
been flitting in and out of images since I was at
school. When I go to my hairdresser I say 'My
god, I'm bored. What are you going to do about
dye comes after the cut, and then the
was the reason for doing it, not so that I could
earn lots of money. As soon as someone copied me
is my natural colour now, and I quite like it.
For the first time I've gone shopping and no-one
recognised me. I'm starting to write the new
album now and I need a source of inspiration.
What could be better than going back to a form of
I did Jubilee (Derek Jarman's punk film,
1977) I had my head shaved. That was very
started growing it because I had a boyfriend, so
I became aware of men again and wanted to look a
bit more feminine. I got fed up with people
shying away from me because they thought I was
going to be aggressive. It made me feel very
grew it until the 'Blue Meaning' LP, 1980, when I
had a geometric cut with a pointed fringe, very Space
1999 (the TV series). I was into an Egyptian
phase at the time and I thought it was a modern
interpretation of the Egyptian look.
during that tour I had a lot of hair pulled out
at the back, when I kept falling into the
audience, so I had to have the whole lot shaved
off again. That coincided with the play Sugar
And Spice in 1980.
the time of 'It's A Mystery' in 1981, it was
growing back again, but it took the whole of that
then I've grown my hair as long as I could, also
going through different colour changes - pink,
orange, black tips...
1983 and Trafford Tanzi (the wrestling
play Toyah starred in) I'd got it to its longest
and its best. I was beginning to look like your
normal Farrah Fawcett-Majors type because it was
so stylish and feminine. So I had the sides
shaved off to look more street level and
had to change my hair in 1978 for Quadrophenia
(the mod film) when they cut it in a '60s style
and bleached it white. I hated it - really hated
the new film I'm making with Lord Olivier (The
Ebony Tower) I had to go tomato red. I was
had my doubts about Trafford Tanzi, not
only whether I could do it physically, but could
I bear to be seen in a skin-tight costume?
so self conscious of my physique. In fact Tanzi
gave me the confidence to do Ebony Tower,
because all these people knew what I was like
underneath - and it did me the world of
normally tend to wear baggy clothes, so it got me
out of the rut.
my mental image of myself is a complete deformed
freak. Tanzi made me accept myself as I am. I was
living in the protected world of the pop star and
it brought me back to reality again. It made me
realise I'm only one on the vast anthill of the
24th December 1983