I was happily silver the day I received the call from Oprah’s producers. Having sent several emails concerning health questions, I was floored to find the woman on the other line asking me if I would like to be on the Oprah show for a makeover. My barely audible voice squeaked out a "Yes…yes, I would love a makeover!"
In my younger days, I had never been afraid to color my hair. It was every shade known to man. But in my early 40s I had an epiphany. "Gray is a color!" It became my mantra. But, as some mantras go, it was my singular voice I heard when I looked in the mirror.
By the time I reached Harpo Studios in Chicago, I steeled myself for the inevitable. There’s no way they would let me keep my gray. On the one hand, I was thrilled for this exciting opportunity. Clothes, limos, a chance to be on television, meeting Oprah herself…..still, I really LIKED my silver hair!
The producers and stylists circled me like hawks eyeing prey. They conversed in quiet tones I wasn’t able to hear. They nodded and asked me: "We want to make you a blond!" If I was a rabbit, now would have been the time to disappear into my hole. Being a mere human in "Oprah’s House", I just blinked, then stammered sheepishly, "I…uh..my silver?" It was too late. The force was too strong. Two hours later I was sporting a very BLOND, super short bob!
The gravity of what happened to me didn’t sink in until one year later. After enduring countless hours in the salon chair, trying to recreate my Oprah Blond, I’d had enough! It was time to return to my roots!
I felt empowered, yet very alone. I knew my decision would be met with opposition from all sides. Like a woman hiding a pregnancy, I knew I could keep my "no dye" decision a secret for just a short time. Sure enough, my sprinkling of silver at my root line grew into the dreaded "skunk stripe"! The jig was up!
Frantically, I began an online search to find a hairstyle that would allow me to transition to my silver in a dignified fashion. Like an angel of mercy I found a book: "Going Gray, Looking Great!" by Diana Lewis Jewell. What was this?? She had a website too??? I contacted Diana immediately and poured out my heart.
Thus began my journey home. On Going Gray, Looking Great, I have found like-minded women all in various stages of returning to their natural silver. They are my friends, my comrades in this brave thing we do.
It shouldn’t have to be so hard. Society should honor those of us who choose to see gray as a color. We shouldn’t be viewed as "letting ourselves go". But paradigms "dye" hard and trendsetters are sometimes brushed aside.
But this I know for sure: Gray is a color. And no one, not even Oprah, will EVER shake my tree again!!