Betsey Johnson never felt better
You are known for your signature look. How did you get settled?
You don’t know you are doing it, and all of a sudden one day you just can’t stop doing it. You find the makeup that suits you, the hair that suits you. I have always hated my hair. So in the late 60s or early 70s I came to London and went to a barbershop called Antenna. They would add hair to the hair, and rockers like Rod Stewart would go there to get their extensions. It was very rock’n’roll. I met [my hairstylist] Andrew, who I have worked with for 35 years.
I like [fake] Hair. I have always hated my soft, wavy, shabby, thin hair. So I got these hair extensions. They are made of plastic. They’re called monofilament, and they’re tight and secured with a heat sealant. They unfortunately only last three or four months, but that’s my look. Since that day, I don’t do anything to my hair anymore. I wake up everyday and it looks perfect because it’s flawed. I usually wear it and very lively. It’s the only way for me to be recognized. On the days when I wear it, I am very sad because no one will come and say hello to me.
Would you ever change it?
There’s no way I’m going to change it. It’s a look I don’t want to stray from, and I know it works for me. It’s good to get there. I think it’s long, long, long to find. It’s finding out who you are and what you want to look like, then it becomes who you to do looks like, because you become it or it becomes you. He feels good. But at my age, my very young 79, who I just turned, I look great! I think I’m more beautiful than ever, in a weird way. I would never want to look like I was in high school. I would never want to look like my 20, 30, 40, 50.
If you could change one thing about beauty standards on social media or in fashion, what would it be?
I like to have fun with beauty, just like with my clothes. Keep it light and easy. Never take yourself too seriously. For me, that would be to keep pushing that mindset. Keep pushing the limits and don’t forget to take time for self-love!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Charm. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.