Fashion Why a power haircut like Emily Maitlis's must be...

Why a power haircut like Emily Maitlis's must be 'strong but not intimidating'

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Crozier, who counts several female CEOs and power players among his regulars, says that his clients – particularly those in male-dominated industries – tend to ask for haircuts that fit a particular criteria. “Unfortunately, there are still certain cues that women feel they need to give off through their clothes and hair,” he explains. “They need to be strong but not intimidating, approachable but not soft. A haircut is never just a haircut.”

“The success of a bob begins with the length,” he adds. “If my client has a long face then I’ll take the baseline a bit shorter, if she’s concerned with ageing then I’ll open up the face with a few shorter pieces around the face.”

Hair colour plays an equally important role. “You don’t want anything too bold and bright if you’re interviewing someone,” he says. “You need to hold your own power while letting the interviewee shine, it’s a careful power play that’s all taken into consideration.”

Crozier points to Maitlis’s quietly striking blonde as the ideal shade. “Emily Maitlis’s champagne hue is something clients ask for a lot; this mix of cool iridescence with warmer pieces is elegant and luxurious without being overpowering,” he says.

In 2019, Maitlis told The Times that her hair looks better on camera when it hasn't been washed for a few days

Maitlis isn’t the only newsreader to have made a sharp bob part of her broadcasting persona – but it’s not the only route to TV-power hair. Gone are the days of a one-cut-fits-all solution. Sophie Raworth opts for a slightly longer, more tousled style to Maitlis; Fiona Bruce complements her bob with a fringe (the sort which would be high maintenance for lots of women); Reeta Chakrabarti’s pixie crop is no-nonsense with a hint of insouciant chic; Susanna Reid recently chopped her brunette hair into a modern chin-skimming style and  Mishal Husain’s glossy long bob always appears polished.

Celebrity hairstylist George Northwood, whose clients have included the Duchess of Sussex and political broadcaster Laura Kuenssberg, says: “A bob can so often appear mumsy, especially if it’s blonde, so it’s crucial to keep the shape classical. When I’m working with women who are public-facing, a crisp shape tends to work best, then I add a few modern details.”

Fiona Bruce's hair will demand more upkeep than others because of her fringe

Reeta Chakrabarti's cropped cut is simple and chic

Laura Kuenssberg's cut has a similar shape to Maitlis's

Such details include cutting in shorter pieces at the front of the face, like Maitlis has. “Without breaking up the shape, it can make you look stiff and out of touch,” stresses Northwood. Serious topics, however, require a serious finish. He notes that a haircut that’s smooth and tidy is less distracting and imparts a sense of all-important control.

Maitlis has said that her own bob looked better on screen when it was dirty. “Sometimes on location, I have to run around hot, humid wet places and find it easier not to wash my hair for six days as it sits better. Unwashed hair looks better on camera,” she told The Times in 2019.

Anna Wintour's bob has reached icon status

The slightest sign of messiness is emphasised on screen, agrees Northwood, noting that his female clients regularly have their hair blow dried to keep it in place. “It’s an unwritten code that people still adhere to; when hair is smooth it comes off as polished and grown up,” he says. Anna Wintour’s bob is the obvious template. “There’s never a hair out of place – you can tell she means business,” says Northwood. 

If smooth hair lends an air of refinement then volume gives a haircut its gravitas. “Flat hair can make you appear weak or if it’s razor sharp, mean – you want a little bit of root lift for empowerment,” he says. “It gives the wearer a sense of ‘I’ve got this’.”

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