(Photo: Fox News)
Turns out that Megyn Kelly’s famous feud with Donald Trump may have had a major upside for the Fox anchor: It helped her feel empowered, and bold enough to cut off her hair into a fierce ’do.
“We change when we get in a different phase,” Kelly, who is included in People’s 2016 Most Beautiful issue, told the magazine about the decision to crop her blond hair in January. She debuted her new look on the night of the GOP debate in Iowa, at which Trump was a no-show because of his grudge with Kelly. “I think I was just in a stronger mood,” she said about her drastic style change.
Kelly, whose battle of wills with the Republican candidate has reportedly mellowed recently, referred to her haircut as "the big chop,” and noted that it wasn’t a simple move. “I think hair is sort of emotional for all women,” she said, adding, ‘There’s something about putting your whole face out there that is just empowering: Here I am, have at it.”
Trump did have at it many times throughout these past several months of campaigning, most memorably when he jabbed at Kelly’s anger over Trump’s record on women’s issues during an interview with Don Lemon.
“Certainly, I don’t have a lot of respect for Megyn Kelly. She’s a lightweight and y’know, she came out there reading her little script and trying to be tough and be sharp. And when you meet her you realize she’s not very tough and she’s not very sharp,” he had said. Then came the zinger, “She gets out there and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever.” That remark kicked off a lengthy Twitter campaign that had women around the country tweeting the Donald with details about their menstruation.
Kelly is not the first to emulate power — and wield it — with a drastic haircut. Several years ago, when Beyoncé when short-short, her colorist Rita Hazan told Us Weekly, “I was shocked. I think she was just feeling empowered, like a strong woman, and she said she’s been feeling it for a long time. She didn’t want to hide behind her hair in real life.“ Rihanna, similarly, has noted, “Short hair is my mojo.”
A study published in the Journal of Psychology, in fact, found, unsurprisingly, that feminine attractiveness can actually work against women who are aiming for power in their careers. "Within seconds of meeting you, people begin forming a first impression about the type of person you are, and it’s not your face that gives you away; it’s your hairstyle,” noted lead researcher and Yale University psychology professor Marianne LaFrance, an expert in the psychology of hair. LaFrance found through the study that women with shorter hair are perceived as more intelligent and confident than those with longer styles.
As for Kelly, it’s clear her power and confidence is staying high, no matter what length her hair is. “I wonder sometimes whether the question I asked [Trump] at that debate and the backlash against me has cowed other journalists because they don’t want it to happen to them or maybe they don’t have a boss who they think will stand behind them … or maybe they just want access and they want the numbers,” she told Katie Couric during a live interview at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit in New York City earlier this month. “We have to worry about numbers to some extent…but we also have to worry about our souls and journalism.”