'The Rachel' Cut On 'Friends' Went From Hair Envy To Hair Nightmare
Friends was such an exploding phenomenon that even the hairstyle worn by Jennifer Aniston quickly became a star on its own when she debuted the look in the 20th episode. Many styles came from the character before this moment in TV history, though none quite transcended time the way "The Rachel" did.
An average of 25 million viewers turned in each week during the first three seasons, and for Rachel-wannabees, adopting her hairdo was how they could evoke the show's coolness in a way that kidnapping laws prevented them from having their own David Schwimmer.
Prior to the episode release in 1995, Aniston's look consisted of long hair with a fringe that, according to her hairdresser, needed a bit of freshening up. Chris McMillan, the real Picasso of Hollywood hair, was no fortune teller and therefore not prepared for what his creation would bring to '90s hair culture.
And so the hair salons started buzzing. One hairstylist claimed that 40% of her business came from giving the haircut to women at least four times a week. McMillan even had people fly over to his LA salon to get the cut done by him for $60. In reference to Mental Floss, "Some women would come in with their copy of TV Guide in hand for reference; others would record an episode of the show and play it at the salon to ensure accuracy." Because you wouldn't want to resemble a mediocre Rachel Greene, even if attaining the cut is quite harder than it appears. The iconic haircut was described by McMillan as a "high-maintenance, not a wash-n-go style, needing regular trimming."
None could quite re-do the original, though many stars tried, including Tyra Banks, Meg Ryan, Jessica Alba, and Kelly Clarkson. Debra Messing was told by producers to attempt re-creating the cut while she starred on Will and Grace, but that didn't quite work out, either- it took McMillan three hours of trying and failing.
As for the person whose head sported the style? "I think it's the ugliest haircut I've ever seen," Aniston explained, stating that the cut was difficult to keep up with, as it needed to be styled by McMillan at all times, otherwise "I was totally left with this frizzy mop on my head because I had no idea how to do what he did." Clarifying her gratitude for McMillan's long-time friendship and that at first, she adored the style, let's just say the fans saw something in it she no longer sees. "The Rachel" was certainly inevitable for humanity, perhaps larger than the character herself.
Top Image: Warner Bros. Television