What Coloring My Hair Taught Me, According to UT Students

By Leslie N. Adami

College is the time to try new things and take risks. Some may switch majors, while others switch hair color. Whether you have been rocking virgin hair for 20 years, or have experimented with everything from bright hues to ombré, these UT students have great advice we can all take note of.

Stacy Rickard —

Broadcast Journalism junior Stacy Rickard knows all about the pressures of appearance in the workplace and on-camera. “It’s definitely not for everyone. It’s a bold move,” Rickard says. “At work, if I had done my whole head, I would have gotten fired. It’s not really what many would say is a ‘professional’ look, but I’m still young.”

Although it was a hard decision to dye her hair at first, Rickard says she’s happy with her purple locks and is glad she took the chance to dye it before having a professional career. “I think I’m a fun person, and now I have hair that reflects that,” Rickard says.

Lauren Ferguson —

For art history and English major Lauren Ferguson, going bold was nothing new. When she dyed her hair, she decided to experiment with a bright, electric blue color she had never tried before. “I wanted to do something weird, and it felt really really right when I did it,” Ferguson says. “It makes me feel pretty. I try to picture myself as a bright sunny person, so I think this helps.”

Ferguson considers herself fortunate that her employers don’t seem to mind her hair color, but does realize that is not always the case. She recommends letting employers know when experimenting with hair color. “I let them know it’s not something I have to do, but something I like to do, and they worked with me,” Rickard says.

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Stage McNulty —

For English and radio-television-film major Stage McNulty, changing her hair and her name were ways to establish a new identity. “Blue is one of my favorite colors. I just like how it looks,” McNulty says. “Also, I’m Agender, and for me it was a reclaiming-my-body thing. Like a way to make myself comfortable in my own skin.”

Kimie Lansangan —

Chemical engineering junior Kimie Lansangan found her inspiration to color her hair while scrolling through Pinterest during class last summer. Later that day, her dark brown hair transformed into a dark purple shade. “I knew if I didn’t do it that day, that if I thought about it, it probably wouldn’t get done,” Lansangan says. “Now is the best time. I want to be able to look back on pictures and show my kids ‘oh hey look, I lived it up!’”

Lansangan is conscious that her hair color can affect her professional life.“My dad always just reminds me before going into interviews to tie my hair up in a bun,” she says. “It’s important, but people who interview you really should look more at your qualifications and not at your looks.”

Alana Zimmerman —

Government major Alana Zimmerman has moved on from her days of experimenting with bold hair colors. After years of dyeing her hair, it is now dyed a modest chestnut brown. She made the change for her job at the Capitol. Although she says she misses the fun colors, she has no regrets making the change. “I’ve done streaks, I’ve done pinks and I knew that the time was running out for me to go big or go home, so last year I dyed my hair purple,” Zimmerman says. “As much as it’s fun to have cool hair, it’s distracting, and I want to be known for the work that I do.”