Curl Alert – Jamila Hi by Ellen Wille

Just a quick post to share some fairly boring pics of a curly wig I received in the mail yesterday. The pics aren’t great, because I grabbed my camera and light really quickly and set things up without much preparation then snapped the pics without doing much to my already-worn-all-day makeup, but I mainly wanted to show the new hair off to friends.


As you might imagine, this is a polarizing one: people loved it or they hated it. I bought it for photos only, because I wanted to try out this awesome color even though I knew it was way too dark to look natural on me and I wouldn’t ever wear it out of the house. But it also comes in some natural colors that I think would look great and I might be tempted to wear. However, curly wigs (and curly hair, actually) are a challenge and seem to evoke more negative responses from people than straight or wavy ones do.


My husband didn’t dislike it but he couldn’t get past how ‘frizzy’ it looked, which to him equated with looking ‘fake.’ And of course a few friends of mine who aren’t worried about being polite said they didn’t like the style. I don’t mind saying that I can wear pretty much any style and pull it off, but when I go super-curly like this the response is more negative than any other I might do. The internet is stuffed to the gills with reflections and writings about why this is – mostly in the ethnic hair communities, but it’s true for caucasian women with super-curly hair too – why they get so  many compliments when they straighten their hair but so much flak when they go natural. Clearly, I am going the opposite of natural here, but when I was a child and a teenager my hair did actually have this much curl, and I always noticed the same response. Blow dry it and wear it straight and get loads of compliments, then just lots of “observations” about my hair if I let the curl come out.


It’s just an observation for me at this point, because it’s early in the morning and I usually write my posts the night before when I can think them through and edit them properly, and I am rushed to get ready for work. Plus, as I said, many people have written about this subject before and said it better than I can, and it probably doesn’t need to be said again. Bottom line, though, is that in general people in our culture are still much more comfortable with traditional, European-looking, silky straight hair than they are a head full of wild unruly curls. Or maybe this wig really just looks like crap on me and I’m reading too much into it (but I don’t think so, I think it looks kinda fabulous). The comedian Chris Rock even made a documentary about the subject called “Good Hair” that I believe won some awards – again, it focused on the African-American community but I think a similar sentiment exists for Caucasian women; I once read a book about the subject, for example, that mentioned a young college graduate with wild curly hair who was told when interviewing for internships in the White House that she would have to straighten her hair because she didn’t look “conservative” enough with her hair curly.

I don’t have any point here at all beyond, hey, look at my cool new hair. It’s going to take some fabulous photos, and I already have the outfit and makeup planned. But again – I think it would be great for daily wear too, if I picked it up in a lighter brown. Maybe I’ll buy one and wear it around just to see what sort of reaction it gets from people. But not today; it’s time to get ready for work instead!

*And as Russ pointed out – the black backdrop made it hard to see the hair here, but I didn’t have time to change it out, because that’s always a chore to do. I have bought a gray one that’s on it way to me and I plan to switch the black out for that one this weekend, and then I want to take some real photos of this with my makeup and costume on! 

16 thoughts on “Curl Alert – Jamila Hi by Ellen Wille

  1. Hey MM, I know you said it was slapdash, so perhaps the following doesn’t count but a lighter backdrop, or a back or head light would have ‘highlighted’ your curly subject matter–pun intended. Interesting thoughts about curliness. Makes me think of Shirley Temple, or the phase my daughters went through as tweens. 🙂

    • OH yeah, I was aware of that. I actually tried to lighten the photo some so you could see it! Hanging backdrops around here is a pain so I’ve had a black one hanging forever even though it isn’t the best for shots like this – I plan to take it down this weekend actually and hang a gray one 🙂

  2. It’s interesting that men just seem to prefer straight hair or smooth, at least. I mentioned in one of my own blog posts that one of my BILs told me my hair used to look “tortured” — merely because I let it dry naturally, tossed my head over and brushed it and it stood out a bit with volume and waves. Tortured, really? My husband insists that my hair be straight, so the only way I can get any style into it is by having layers, that then drive me crazy.

    This wig is beautiful on you. I love that riot of curls (will it keep them if you brush it though?). The color is interesting, dark red??? I personally love this look — it is very 50s and I will bet it is on its way back in. Why oh why does any change make people freak out.

    • Yeah, if you do a basic Google search for information about ‘natural’ or curly hair you will get a real eyeful of controversy over the subject. The color is black with plum highlights and is just gorgeous. I’d really love to try this out in a more normal color sometime, but while it’s not a particularly expensive wig it’s not cheap either – it retails for about $180 so that’s a lot of money to spend for an experiment (although most of my non-costume wigs are more in the $250 range). So we’l see if I ever do that. I am very tempted!

  3. I’m from the “I love it camp. ” frizzy? Not at all. It appears the curls are very soft. Looks great on you and I wished my makeup looked that great at the end of the day.

    • The hair fiber is pretty coarse, but if it’s too soft then the curls don’t hold. I think that’s what my husband didn’t like about it, that it didn’t feel as nice as my other wigs. Not that I let him spend a lot of time touching them anyway, LOL.

  4. I love curly hair, whenever I’ve gone with lots of curls I feel sexy, wild and fearless. I was only once able to get a hair stylist to give me a spiral perm that was gorgeous and since then all my attempts to recreate that look has failed. I’m gong to buy wig as the next best thing. The curls look good on you, it’s just the color is to dark.

    • Did you ever give the Ellen Wille wigs “Stream” a whirl? or “Switch”? I wish you were still doing reviews, it’s a different perspective and your photos are great. Thanks for doing ’em!

      • No, this is the only Wille I’ve tried. By the time these came out my own hair had grown out enough that I really wasn’t wearing wigs anymore. So I never tried any others.

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