December 2005: Sharyn Alfonsi of CBS News
We feel a disclaimer is in order at the beginning. This web site is not affiliated with CBS in any way - not sponsored by it, or run by someone connected with it. But people with great hair at CBS easily have been the most cooperative with us, compared with other TV networks. In fact, a connection with one person sometimes leads to others....
SHARYN ALFONSI, for example. Hair Fans voted for this CBS News reporter as a Hair Watch focus in September 2005 - and they wouldn't stop there. We were asked to go after an interview with her. So when we chatted with fellow correspondent Sharyl Attkisson for this section, we asked if she could help us make contact -- and we thank Attkisson for doing exactly that!
Alfonsi declared our web site "amazing" after looking it over. She asked us to e-mail her a set of questions, as her job keeps her traveling quite a bit -- from coast-to-coast in the U.S., and even to Iraq. The exchange confirmed what many Hair Fans have suspected: she's in the process of lengthening a style which was once quite short:
SUPER-HAIR: How would you describe your current style?
SHARYN ALFONSI: It's a mess! I'm trying to grow it out, it isn't pretty.
S-H: How long have you had your hair in this style?
SA: I'm from the South. My hair has been very big and very long. Think Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias. I was given hot rollers on my ninth birthday.
S-H: What do you like most about it? Is there anything you dislike about it?
SA: My hair is very curly. If it gets wet, it grows like a chia-pet. It's ugly.
S-H: We first posted your picture when you worked in Boston [left, from 2003], and had a quite short "pixie cut." Was there a reason for your style being that short -- and how long was it BEFORE that cut?
SA: I kept it short because it was easy and I worked the morning shift. It was all about time. When you have to be at work at three in the morning, you don't want to get up a minute earlier to mess with your hair.
S-H: What's the longest your hair has ever been?
SA: In college, my hair was about three inches below the shoulders.
S-H: Do you plan to let your hair go longer than it is right now? Do you have a "goal" in mind for it? Some people in our Hair Watch have told us they'd like to see that, and think your hair looks better longer.
SA: I am trying to grow it out. I'd like it to be just beyond my shoulders...long enough that I could put it in a pony-tail in bad weather or if I'm in a war-zone, etc.
S-H: Which was tougher -- keeping your hair in place in Iraq [left]? Or on the Gulf Coast, during and after Hurricane Katrina?
SA: I actually had my hair Japanese straightened before I went to Iraq. It was worth the 8 hours in the chair. We often didn't have hair dryers, etc. So it was great to be able to just let it dry straight and not worry about it. At Katrina and in Iraq, you just had to improvise. My hair was my last concern.
S-H: What's the biggest challenge you face keeping your current style in place?
SA: Just keeping it neat in the wind and rain. I don't want it to be an issue. I want people to focus on my stories, not my hair blowing around.
S-H: Do you use any specific treatments to keep your hair in place? (Spray, gel, curl, etc.) What would be your routine in getting ready for television?
SA: I normally do my hair in the rear view mirror of whatever car we are traveling in. People think we travel with hair and make-up; it's hardly that glamorous.
S-H: When was the last time your hair fell into your eyes in public? How did it happen?
SA: Oh, it happens all the time. I'm a mess!
S-H: We recall one report several months ago, when you bounced around on a pogo stick....
SA: Oh lord! Very embarrassing. I'm a tom-boy at heart. I was more worried about killing myself on the pogo-stick, not messing up hair!
S-H: We can't resist about some of your CBS colleagues, and what you think of their styles.... Sharyl Attkisson, whom we thank for passing on our request to interview you.
SA: Sharyl always looks polished and professional. I think she has a great look.
S-H: Trish Regan, your fellow reporter.
SA: Trish is a total glamour queen. She always looks great. She could shave her head and still look great.
S-H: Susan McGinnis, whom we've interviewed a couple of times.
SA: Susan looks wonderful even at 3:00 in the morning. How can you NOT respect that?!
S-H: What advice would you give someone who wanted to develop Super-Hair?
SA: I'm not sure I have any advice to give; I need all the help I can get! But I'm a huge fan of the Japanese straightening and a bigger fan of the old baseball hat when all else fails.
S-H: Who would you consider to have the best head of hair you've ever seen?
SA: I saw Angie Harmon once in the city. She was stunning.... I love Jennifer Aniston, Faith Hill and Nicole Richie's hair. They all look great without looking like they are trying very hard.
SUMMARY: The main thing we learn here is that Ionic straightening is not only for women with long hair, such as Juliette Moore - it can work for keeping short styles in line as well. We never guessed that was Sharyn's approach in Iraq, yet her never collapsed there on camera from what we saw.
While she may declare her hair a mess, we post this interview three months into a Hair Watch in which we have yet to see Sharyn's style collapse into her eyes. We know Hair Fans are rooting for her to succeed - especially with her move toward a longer style. With all her travel and outdoor assignments, she's an adventure worth watching.
More Interviews, in the Super-Hair Q&A Archive
Do you know a woman who's willing to share her secrets of hair success? Is there a particular woman you'd like us to interview? Do you have a question we should ask? Simply e-mail us: SuperHair@Gmail.com .
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