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Drastic Hair Change For Job?


Erika Van Peldt Before Drastic Hair Change On American Idol Season 11

Erika Van Peldt American Idol S11

How far are you willing to go for a job or a career? Would you drastically change your hair to guarantee better odds or success?

On the current season of Fox/TV's American Idol (AI) one of the finalists was forced to ask this question.

Blonde Erika Van Peldt who is a DJ and singer from Rhode Island was known for her shoulder length buttery tresses which were spiked with shocking splashes of red/orange stripes positioned a few inches back from her hairline.

In a shocking turn of events, Erika, who was never a clear front runner in the contest, took designer Tommy Hilfiger's hairstyling tips to heart.

Tommy's tips? Go with a dramatic new hairstyle, color and look.

In her consultation session with Tommy, who is on Season 11 to provide image and styling advice to the AI finalists, Van Peldt expressed a desire to channel Pink.

The famous rocker who became initially known for her vibrant pink hair, has transitioned over the years through an array of shocking hues, lengths and styles. In response to Erika's comments about wanting to emulate Pink, Helfiger told the DJ to go with a brand new look, including for her hair.

Erikca Van Peldt with shoulder length buttery blonde hair with red highlights

Erika Van Peldt American Idol S11

When Erika entered the stage her hair was dramatically different. Gone were her shoulder length blonde tresses and replaced by a short raven black cropped hairstyle. It was a drastic change. Indeed, Erika was truly channeling one of Pink's previous short hairstyles and colors.

While all of the judges expressed how much they loved Erika's shocking new haircut, color and style, in the end it didn't save her from being eliminated the very next night. Even worse, although Jennifer Lopez expressed admiration for the new look and mentor Jimmy Iovine expressed respect for her bold hair moves, she was not saved by the AI judges.

Was The Dramatic Hair Change Worth It?

When Ryan Seacrest wished Erika well, he told her to "keep the hair" letting her know how much he loved the new look. But was it worth it?

It obviously didn't help her keep her job or win the big prize of American Idol. However, the singer made it clear to the media that she had no regrets about her hair change.

Erikca Van Peldt after hair makeover with raven black short cropped hairstyle

Erika Van Peldt American Idol S11

She admitted she's quite daring when it comes to her hair and was considering a change long before her meeting with Hilfiger.

Why? mainly because she felt like she was “drowning in a sea of blondes" on the AI show. Indeed, there are a high number of blondes in the finals. Van Pelt revealed that the AI producers weren’t on board with the idea to dramatically change her hair.

“Every time I asked to change my hair, I wasn’t allowed to because of consistency with the show,” she told reporters during a Friday conference call, adding that producers were afraid it would scare people before they had “really gotten a chance to know me.”

Hair Chameleon

Van Pelt said that when she finally made the transformation this week -- Hilfiger said to go short, and she took it one step further to go dark -- her family wasn’t surprised in the least.

Erika Van Peldt After Dramatic Short Haircut

Erika Van Peldt American Idol S11

The singer described her hair as “chameleon,” admitting that her mane has already undergone perms, extensions and various other styles over the years.

“I’m pretty fearless with that stuff,” she said, joking that color schemes do not frighten her in the least-and she may totally go hot pink, purple, blue, back to blonde, or “anything I feel.”

As far as not being saved by the AI judges she confessed to PEOPLE "I definitely felt a little shafted by their decision not to save me," referring to the panel's ability to veto the audience's decision one time during the season.

She continued "It's one of those things that, in hindsight, I'm looking at it like they didn't want to use their save this early."


In the case of Erika Van Peldt taking her hair to a drastic new color, from buttery blonde to raven black and from shoulder length to a short crop was job related.

Erika Van Peldt With Raven Short Cropped Hair After Being Eliminated On AI11

Erika Van Peldt American Idol S11

Van Peldt was advised by the American Idol stylist, Designer Tommy Helfiger, to take a drastic change with her hair.

Although the AI producers didn't want her to undertake the hair makeover, Van Peldt felt it would help her success standing out in the crowd.

Did her dramatic hair makeover help her on American Idol? Not really.

She was still eliminated, but at least it made her unique and memorable with all of the fans, the media and the judges. In the long run it was a good thing and the eliminated contestant has no regrets.

"I love it, and it's funny 'cause everyone was so shocked," Van Pelt told MTV News. "I've gotten good responses, but they're like, 'Wow you really did that? You'd be bold enough and audacious enough to do that?' she noted.

Would you drastically alter your hair for a job, a contest or similar quest? Or would you consider the price too high?

Original Publication Date: 03/31/12 - Revised Publication Date: 03/31/12

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