After masquerading as a redhead for a Numéro Tokyo shoot, Coco Rocha was hooked on the fiery hue. Like supermodel Linda Evangelista — who famously dyed her hair red for three months in 1992 — Coco was in the mood for a dramatic change. “My mom is a natural redhead. If I changed my colour, I’d feel like her real daughter!” says the 20-year-old
Before paying a visit to the salon of New York-based colourist Louis Licari, Coco first chatted with Steven Meisel — the photographer who launched her career in 2006 — as well as Micki Schneider, her agent at Elite. Meisel was keen, and Schneider eventually warmed to the idea of his star client switching her hair from chocolate brown to a ravishing, look-at-me coppery red. “I was nervous at first, but her excitement won me over,” says Schneider. “Coco has reached a level where clients book her for who she is, not for her hair colour.”
When Coco arrived at Licari’s salon, she had one request: Her hair had to look natural. “She was fearless!” says Licari, who also created Evangelista’s red-hot makeover. “Her only concern was that the colour wouldn’t be red enough!” Three hours later, Coco’s transformation was complete. For the first few days, she was a little overwhelmed. “I felt like everyone was looking at me,” she recalls. “I’m already so tall, and now I have this fiery hair!” Today, Coco has totally embraced her redhead persona. “I’m very happy I did it,” she says. “It fades quickly, though, so instead of dyeing it every six weeks, I get it done every three weeks. But it’s totally worth it. I giggle like a little girl when I see myself in the mirror!”
It’s too early to tell what effect her new look will have on her career, but it definitely caused some last-minute drama for the creative team at Rootstein Mannequins. The night before the New York-based company was set to unveil its two Coco replicas, creative director Kevin Arpino learned of her new ’do. The mannequins’ hair was re-dyed just in time for the splashy cocktail launch. “It was very weird to see myself immortalized,” says Coco. “I can’t believe they chose me!”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.