‘The wig was a lifesaver
Tina Turner made sure all her wigs were “simply the best”.
The legend, who died Wednesday at 83 after battling a long illness, was known for her wild and larger-than-life hairstyles, but it didn’t always start out that way.
Turner, also known as Anna Mae Bullock, always compared her hair to her sister, who had a softer texture.
“Her hair was soft, while mine was very full and thick,” Turner said in a 1986 Rolling Stone interview.
In high school, she kept her hair very modest with a neat pin curl, blending in with the crowd.
When she started her career in the 1960s, the singer experimented with her natural curls.
Turner sported the typical Motown updo hairstyle that many artists such as Diana Ross, Tammi Terell and Kim Weston were rocking at the time.
However, after a horrible trip to the hair salon, her natural hair days were over.
“I was at a hair salon with the [band’s backing singers] the Ikettes and the esthetician left the bleach on my head a little too long,” she shared in the 2018 biography “Tina Turner: My Love Story.”
The relaxer treatment left her hair frizzy and unable to pull off a toned-down look for a performance that night.
The “Proud Mary” crooner’s next and only option was a wig.
“It took an accident, one that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, to prompt me to get my first wig,” she wrote.
Realizing the versatility her wigs provided, the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” wore them off and on stage.
If she was going to commit to the look, she didn’t want her wigs to look like “a curtain of fake hair,” so she started building her own wigs to resemble a natural look.
Turner followed different hairstyle trends with her wigs, from curls to short cuts and long hair.
The performer was all about having a good time on stage, so having a hairstyle that complimented her movement and still looked flawless after an intense performance was a bonus.
“The wig was a lifesaver – but more than that, I loved how it looked, how the hair moved when I moved, how it was straight and beautiful and held a style no matter what I did .”
However, when she divorced her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner, she decided it was time to reinvent her image with the iconic blonde mane.
In a 1985 Good Morning America interviewthe “What’s Love Got to Do With It” singer revealed steps to achieve her main hairstyle.
“First, you have to wash them and let them dry yourself,” Turner said. “Then you have to pull them with a comb and rub with hair gel and pull again. I repeat it about three times.”
She combed back all her wigs, bought them Africa and Italyto ensure that they maintain an identical appearance.
“I’m not surprised when people think my wig is my own hair because I’ve always considered it an extension of myself. In a way, it’s my hair,” the icon shared in her bio.
Wigs became a big part of Turner’s identity.
“I’ve been making them all my life, so it never looked like they were taken off a hanger,” she said in a 1996 Swiss TV interview. “That’s why I don’t have a lot of them because it’s hard.”
Turner eventually scaled back from the massive mane to a smaller hairstyle with blonde and brown ends.
The legend did admit: “I loved the comfort [wigs] gave me and the ease with which they guaranteed a great look, but I always had some fears.”
“Don’t laugh, but I’ve always been a little nervous about starting a relationship with a new man because I didn’t know how my wig would be received,” she said in her memoir “My Love Story.” confess.
“As much as I loved the comfort and easy beauty, I always ran the risk of meeting a man who might have a problem getting romantically involved with Tina, with her bouncy hair and glamorous adornments, but awake become with unadorned Anna Mae. What if he was disappointed by the real me?”
As she got older, Turner wore less outrageous and voluminous hairstyles, sticking to a simpler look.
In her last photo posted on Twitter in March 2021, the legendary artist is seen wearing a honey brown blunt bob wig in anticipation of her then-upcoming documentary “TINA” on HBO.
‘The wig was a lifesaver