What's Up With That Anchor's Hair?

February 8, 2017

Have you ever wondered why your favorite TV anchor hasn’t changed the style and/or color of her hair in four years, while you’ve done some experimenting with your look? I've had a few TV gigs in my day, both in the newsroom and on the entertainment side of the business. One thing is for sure, News Directors and image consultants have a great deal of say over an anchor’s hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Some news directors favor blondes and others brunettes. Red heads seldom anchor. Chances are that if a woman is hired as a blonde, she'd better stay blonde. I know one local TV talker who is contractually required to keep her hair blonde and longer than shoulder length. I know another who was told to always straighten her naturally curly hair. There is only Black woman I know of in the Queen City who wears her hair "natural." I was shocked when I visited Toronto a few years ago and saw an Afro-Canadian wearing braids on the news. I have yet to see it at an anchor desk here. For the men?  A short haircut is all he needs. I've only seen one White anchor go completely bald. In this town being burly and/or bald seems to disqualify you from being a male anchor.

Women larger than a size 8 are new to anchoring here. Weight gain clauses are common. Upon announcing her pregnancy, one local TV talker was told by her boss that he was relieved that he didn't have to talk to her about the weight gain he'd already noticed.  

For the most part female anchors are encouraged to wear solid colors. One confided in me that her boss required only dresses and blouses with solid colors that you'd "find in a bag of Skittles." Brown, tan, black and navy were banned. An image consultant hired by one TV station I worked for told me to avoid all  patterns because as a "larger girl" they'd just make me look even heavier. Necklaces can't be too clunky because they could interfere with the microphone tucked into her top. Some stations give talent a clothing allowance, but that’s not the rule of thumb. Give the ladies a break. Without a fortune to shop with, it can be difficult to have 20 different outfits per month. Guys can wear the same white or blue shirt with the same dark suit every day and no one seems to care just as long as the tie changes fairly regularly. There are a few fellows who’ve gotten jazzy with lavender, pink and even green shirts and you’ll spot a three-piece suit occasionally, but most guys play it straight.

None of our Queen City stations provide a makeup artist so the fierce eye shadows and lip colors you see are expertly applied by the anchors themselves. At least one station I know provides an air brush system for talent to use to apply foundation. Male anchors wear makeup too. One confided that he's had the same Mary Kay lady for decades.

Why Local News Anchors All Have the Same Look