Previous Page | |Issue One |Next Page

IAXS Project #037
By Kym Masera Taborn (
Content © 1996 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 1996 held by Whoosh!
1619 words

So, What Is Ms. Lawless' Natural Hair Color?

Thank you for letting me come into your home so you watch me beat up people every week

[1] Editing a newsletter about Xena: Warrior Princess (Xena Media Review -- subscribe TODAY!) allows me much opportunity to delve into the more arcane topics which would primarily appeal to the fringe of Xena Fandom. One such pressing concern is what is Lucy Lawless' natural hair color, anyways???

[2] Ms. Lawless has appeared in 6 different Hercules productions, and did a variety of other projects before and simultaneous to her Hercules work. It is common knowledge that her hair color had been dyed, however for what specific role and from what color the media record is in conflict.

[3] On October 1, 1995, in the LOS ANGELES TIMES (TV Times, page 10, ""Lucy Lawless Didn't Have to Pray to the Goddess of Spinoffs, but Knowing Hercules Didn't Hurt Either" by N.F. MENDOZA), N.F. Mendoza reported, quoting Robert Tapert in part:

"'Since she [Lucy Lawless] already played two different parts in Hercules [Lysia and Lyla], the studio wanted another actress,' explains Tapert, from his car phone on his way to LAX to leave for New Zealand, where he'll direct a Hercules episode. So Tapert and crew changed her look: They dyed the naturally blond Lawless brunette."

[4] Note that it is Mendoza that stated Ms. Lawless was naturally blond; not Robert Tapert. Blond, of course, comes in all shades and is a term used liberally. Technically, though, blond means flaxen or golden hair color. Flaxen is a pale yellow or grayish- yellow. These are the colors of which most people immediately associate with the term blond. To be sure there are many variations, such as strawberry blond, where reddish tints are mixed with fairer hair; ash- blond, which is usually a very fair brown or grey with some elements of yellow; platinum blond, which is a pronounced almost white color; etc.

[5] Mendoza's article could have been the start of the blond pre-Xena Lucy Lawless belief within fandom. In some cases an ash-blond or "dirty" blond is difficult to distinguish from some light brunettes. Usually, though, those hair colors are referred to mainly as "fair", and not blond. The blond hair apparently envisioned by many fans was a strong and definite blond. One that would perhaps make a striking difference in appearance in Ms. Lawless.

[6] Remember, Mr. Tapert was not directly quoted as saying that Ms. Lawless was blond. True, he could have said it, but the reporter chose not to indicate that. As stated above, many people use the term blond liberally.

[7] On November 24, 1995, in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (page 86, "Toys in Babeland; Lucy Lawless of 'Xena'" by A.J. Jacobs), A.J. Jacobs reported, quoting Lucy Lawless in part:

"She [Lucy Lawless] waxes tough on subjects ranging from her hair dye ('I love being a brunet. People are kind of intimidated') to the show's kung fu-style fight scenes ('I've hit plenty of people on the set, and it's great because stuntmen don't cry')."

[8] Ms. Lawless confirmed that she viewed Xena's hair as brunette, just as the reporter in the LOS ANGELES TIMES recited. Brunette is a term used to describe "dark" as opposed to "light" or "fair" hair. It can refer to both black or brown (inferred dark) hair.

[9] Thus far the record stated that Ms. Lawless started out blond and then had her hair dyed darker for the role of Xena (the LA Times strongly inferred the hair change was for Xena).

[10] Later articles from the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER and the VIRGINIAN- PILOT did not contradict this position.

[11] On January 30 1996, in the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (page F01, "She's a Kick in More Ways than One. Xena, Warrior Princess, Is TV's Toughest Sister. Foes - and Fans - Know She Can't Be Beat" by Jennifer Weiner), Jennifer Weiner reported:

"She dyed her hair black and got ready fast. Two days later, filming started. The episodes were a success - and Xena became a series."

[12] Ms. Weiner's article confirmed that Ms. Lawless changed her hair color to black for the Xena role. Anyone watching the show can see that Xena's hair is black. This was not a major revelation.

[13] On April 19, 1996, in the VIRGINIAN-PILOT (page E2, "Xena: One of TV'S Guilty Pleasures" by Larry Bonko), Larry Bonko reported:

"Her bangs are dyed black."

[14] This last articled implied that other parts of Xena's hair was not dyed black, but that's neither here nor there. It merely supports a corollary position that news reporters often get just as confused as anyone else.

After awhile, shilling fever hits even the best of them.

[15] On or about February 13, 1996, on the MIKE & MATY SHOW, a light interview television show, there was an interesting interchange between the hosts and Ms. Lawless' regarding hair coloring:

"Mike: I know they dyed your hair, didn't they?
"Lucy: Yeah. I used to have fair hair, kinda like yours (pointing at Maty).
"Maty: Well, mine's dyed. (Audience laughs)
"Lucy: Is it?
"Maty: Was yours naturally fair?
"Lucy: (in a British accent) Dark's the look now lovie, dark.
"Maty: Dark's the hair . . . dark's the look now. OK, well I'll think about that."

[16] Ms. Lawless does not say she had blond hair, but "fair hair". On the tape, Maty's hair was not brown, but neither was it a what one would call a traditional blond. It was clearly fair, however, as it appeared to be streaked with a grey or ashen color.

[17] On February 15, 1996, in USA Today (page 3D, ""TV's mythical heroes; 'Xena' makes Lawless an accidental action star" by Jefferson Graham), Jefferson Graham reported, quoting Lucy Lawless in part:

"'Two days later I [Lucy Lawless] was at the set, they dyed my hair and the rest is history.'

"Lawless has 'honey brown' hair, 'but they dyed it black, rather than making me a blond chickie whose hair would one day fall out.'"

[18] Ms. Lawless was once again quoted not referring to her hair color as blond. In fact, she contrasted it by using the term 'blond chickie'. Why would she imply that the hair stylists had an option of dying her hair blond if she already were a blond? (There is an explanation for that from the Blond contingent: Ms. Lawless' hair was originally died for her role in Hercules and the Amazon Women and not for XWP. But this theory is not strongly supported by the evidence nor the urban legends which have cropped up about XWP and Ms. Lawless). It was not clear, but the use of quotations around "honey brown" strongly implied that Ms. Lawless referred to herself as having naturally a "honey brown" hair coloring.

[19] This is perhaps the best description of her pre-Xena hair. Not only is this supported by a visual check of her hair color in Hercules and the Amazon Women, but by the other circumstantial evidence.

[20] On April 8, 1996, in PEOPLE MAGAZINE (page 93, "Xena-phile New Zealander Lucy Lawless Conquers" by Karen S. Schneider and Kirsten Warner), Karen S. Schneider and Kirsten Warner reported:

"Within a week, Lawless's ash-blonde hair had been dyed black and cameras were rolling."

[21] Here the blond had been tempered by the prefix "ash". This was in agreement with Ms. Lawless' comparison of her original color ("fair") to Maty's color during the "Mike and Maty" interview.

[22] On May 19, 1996, the NEW YORK TIMES (Television, page 4, "A Woman Wielding Many Weapons, Among Them a Sneer and a Stare" by William Grimes), William Grimes reported, quoting Lucy Lawless in part:

"'I was sort of a Bolshie lieutenant to the Amazons,' said Ms. Lawless, who dyed her blonde hair black for the role and waved goodbye to her job as the host of a travel show."

[23] The show being referred to in this paragraph was Hercules and the Amazon Women! However, Ms. Lawless' hair was not black in that role, it was more of a "honey brown". I have to admit I haven't seen the first Lyla HTLJ episode, but by the 2nd Lyla episode (The Outcast), Ms. Lawless' hair color was black.

[24] By the way, "Bolshie" is a slang word meaning an extreme radical. It was derived from theRussian word, Bolshevik.

[25] Ms. Lawless' natural hair color has been described as blond, fair, honey brown, and ash-blonde. The fair designation is perhaps the fairest one, since fair is the counterpart of brunette. The safest statement would no doubt be: Ms. Lawless became a brunette after being fair-haired. But who wants to be safe?

[26] A visual reconnoiter of Hercules and the Amazon Women showed Lucy Lawless not what one would call a traditional blond. In my humble opinion the color is more a light honey brown than ash-blond. *IF* that was Lucy Lawless' original hair color, then that settles the matter once and for all. However, there is a possibility that her hair was dyed for that as well.

[27] To my knowledge, and it is limited, there is no footage available of Lucy Lawless as a "blond chickie". I have seen her in "The Rainbow Warrior" and "Peach", movies made around the time of Amazon Women, and her hair color in both films were very similar to that in Amazon Women. Therefore, my position, until I can be proven otherwise, is that her natural color was a light honey brown which could be mistaken for an ash-blond (I like to hedge my bets).

[28] Just in case you thought the issue was closed, please read further.

[29] On May 25, 1996, in the TAMPA TRIBUNE (Baylife, page 1, ""Mythical TV Heroes; They're tan, they're taut, they're TV titans" by Walt Belcher), Walt Belcher reported:

"She [Lucy Lawless] also dyed her red hair black for the role [Xena]."

[30] Red hair???? No further comment.

Previous Page | |Issue One |Next Page

Episode Guide Air Dates Encyclopedia   Xenaica Xena FAQ IAXS Membership Submission  Guidelines Back Issues