Throughout her career, Jaclyn Smith has been known as a trendsetter — whether it’s with her clothing, your hairstyles, etc. From Breck girl to Charlie's Angel to breast-cancer-awareness spokesperson, Jaclyn is a woman on a mission, a mission to empower other women who might not feel empowered otherwise.
Celebrity Extra: What was the impetus behind your new line of wigs with Jose Eber and the STYLE collection for Paula Young?
Jaclyn Smith: Well, you know, being an actress you really realize — I don't think the world realizes that so many actresses today are wearing hair extensions or they’re wearing a wig for a role. You might not want to stress out your hair and bleach it blond, or you might not want to cut it. You put on a wig and boom! — you’ve got a new look, a new character or a look that is right for the character you’re portraying. And some people just want enhancements. Some people want thicker hair or straighter hair and they put on a hair extension, a volumizer and it’s magic. I think about 21 million women have thinning hair; one in every four women experience some form of hair loss, so I think it’s important.
Jose certainly understands this; he's my dear friend. I had a friend who went through chemo and I realized the importance of wigs there. As you know, I’m a breast cancer survivor, but I didn’t go through chemo — and I thank God every day for that — but when you go through that and you are dealing with hair loss, it is so traumatic. It can just make you retreat. I was able to help my friend with a wig, and it turned out to be just spectacular looking on her and gave her a whole new zest for getting out there and not giving in. I think women need to feel pretty, and I think hair can make the biggest difference in a woman more than makeup, more than anything I think hair can do that.
CE: Not everyone has access to someone as great as Jose (pictured above, with Jaclyn) to do their hair — is that a big reason for the line, so women can get saloon beauty at home on their own?
JS: Right! Say your hair cut isn’t what you want it to be or you know, hair when my hair is right, I feel great; when my hair isn’t happening, it’s not so great. Now all women can feel great about their hair.
CE: With the popularity of hair extensions and hairpieces for women, do you think STYLE collection wigs will give women an independence and newfound confidence they might not have had without them?
JS: I think certainly that is true, and I think with my branding — as you know I've been with K-Mart 25 years — part of my giving back, my philosophy on giving back is making things possible that ordinarily wouldn't be or doing the leg work to bring some idea together. Certainly having Jose, I mean, you know, he's my friend so he just cuts my hair. But, a haircut by Jose is quite expensive. A wig is quite expensive when you go to certain wigmakers, so by doing this for the masses, we're really giving quality, wonderful hair. We have synthetic, but we also have human hair. We’re really able to give them something that ordinarily wouldn't be possible and having his expertise was immeasurable — getting the root color right, getting multicolored pieces put into the wig for highlights and low lights, where it isn't just one color. Certainly he's an expert at that and choosing the right hair, and he’s handpicking the colors too. They call my color caramelized brown, which has a lot of different colors in it — it isn’t just brown. It might have a lighter blond, a caramel blond, a honey blond, so you get this look of being more natural. When something is all one color, it feels or screams “Wig!”
CE: The design of wigs in general really has come a long way — they really look natural!
JS: Definitely, and I think we’ve designed our wigs so it doesn’t look like a hat. There’s not too much hair — it’s not thin, but it’s not that “wiggy” look that you used to see where there is just so much hair in it that it said, “Hey I’m wearing a wig.” We don’t have that. Putting the wigs on myself, I’ve wanted to make it more tossled, more windblown looking, which is what your real hair is.
What we do sometimes is find styles we like and then design our wig around that. We might pick an iconic style — Katie Holmes sort of inspired the Vivian wig (pictured left). It’s a version of that bob. And then certain roles I’ve done like through my career, those have inspired particular styles.
CE: Can you tell me a bit about the spring collection?
JS: The new part of our spring collection is the lace wig. It’s 100% real hair. We added a few new styles, the Vivian being one, the Millie (pictured below) being another. And they’re just really different styles of hair. We’ve added our hair volumizer — it use to be synthetic, but it’s real hair now and easier to put into your own hair.
We have some little clip-on pieces that you can put anywhere. You just clip them where you want. Also you can do those in different colors. Like if you want a blond streak in your hair, you get blond even if you’re a brunette. And it just gives you that added streak without stressing your hair.
CE: I know you successfully fought breast cancer about seven years ago. I don’t know anyone who isn’t affected in some way by some form of cancer. Can you tell me about your participation in the documentary, 1 a Minute, and the overall importance of this film?
JS: Enlightening women everywhere is so important. You don’t realize how many women are in denial and then when they hear that diagnosis they shut off, and they don’t open themselves up to knowledge and what’s out there. We’ve come so far with research, we’ve come so far with treatment — with stage one breast cancer there’s a 98 percent cure rate. I understand shutting off, because sometimes you hear something like that and your world stops spinning.
I haven’t seen the finished film yet, but, boy they really brought together a great team. They knew what they were doing. Everybody’s story is unique and special, and I think it makes women everywhere feel they’re not alone. But as you know, you’re getting older; being female puts you at greater risk. It’s not family history, it’s just being female and getting older. With each passing decade, your chances of getting breast cancer go up. That early detection is the key. We want to put that out there.
When I did some publicity for my home line for K-Mart before Christmas, there was all that talk going around that we don’t need our mammograms every year. Well, that’s not true. You need a mammogram every year. If I hadn’t had my mammogram, my diagnosis and my prognosis could have been different. So you need that, and you can’t base it on a price analysis. That is not where to cut down. Everybody’s life is important. And you need to get out there after 40 and do it, and if you have a family history, then you need to do it even earlier.
CE: I am very glad you are helping to get the word out, because this really is something that we women need to be aware of and active in.
JS: Oh, I know. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Many women are in denial. When I traveled for Strength in Knowing, women would come tell me: “Well I was diagnosed, but I need to do this and I need to do that; I’m being healed through mental telepathy; I’m a spiritual healer.” Come on — I believe in spirituality and a positive attitude but, you need to get the poison, you need to get the tumor out.
I’m seven years out. I feel just enlightened about so much from that experience. It did make me stronger. I am definitely stronger for it.