Life Video

By Lucy Notarantonio

 

A blindfolded woman has given members the public the chance to cut and shave her shoulder length hair completely off in a bid to promote self acceptance.

Jae West, 29, sat in the middle of Times Square, New York, whilst spectators stopped to stare or snipped her hair.

Jae, from Perth, Aus, believes ‘beauty is beyond physical appearance’ and wanted members of the public to share the message by cutting her hair.

The experiment was a success as she was left bald and can be seen gleaming with pride as she says she felt ‘empowered’.

The science presenter said: “In society women feel as though they must be a certain weight and have nice hair but beauty isn’t dependant on our external appearance.

“I put myself in a vulnerable position and put my trust into the public and they joined in.

“I also trusted the people of NYC to connect to the message of self-acceptance and not take advantage of the situation.

“Being a catalyst for change was a risk I was willing to take to start the conversation about our societal definition of beauty and address the shame that is often attached to the perfectionism we try to uphold.

“I felt nervous and apprehensive the week before but as soon as I put the blindfold on, I felt excited.

“I wondered what will I look like without hair and what will bald feel like?

“For 15 minutes, people just starred – understandably they were confused but one by one they slowly began cutting my hair.

“I could sense the fear and hesitance in many of the participants as they were processing what they were about to do.

“When the first person picked up the electronic shaver a huge smile came across my face.

“I felt relieved when I heard the shaver as it was finally happening.”

The experiment in August, 2016 wasn’t for other people to shave their hair but to promote self-acceptance and self-love.

It isn’t the first time Jae has conducted a social experiment as she has previously stood in Central London wearing just her underwear – to get a conversation going about self-esteem.

She said: “People say that I am brave, but I am supporting other people who are struggling with their self-esteem or body image.

“I didn’t allow stranger to shave my hair for others to do the same; I did it to spread a powerful message.

“When I took the blindfold off, I was surrounded by people and they were cheering and hugging me.

“I had no idea what I looked like, but I didn’t care either, I just allowed myself to be happy.

“Every time I look in the mirror I will see a courageous woman staring back at me, someone that I can be proud of – with or without hair.”