If you’ve seen the TV Show 'Normal People', there’s a few things that you may have googled:
- Where is Marianne’s holiday house in Italy?
- What is Connell’s name in real life?
- How can I cut bangs like Marianne?
If you’re googling the third option, we can shed a little light. Although there’s not a single answer to this one.
Like all TV shows and films, the costume, hair and makeup of characters aren’t just last minute decisions. They are mood boarded and planned out, not only to suit the character in general, but also reflect their emotional status.
We broke down Marianne’s hairstyles from Ep 1 - 12, to help you clarify which Marianne you’d like to be, and give a bit of background on why we think she was styled this way.
1. The Awkward School Girl
Marianne’s character begins as an awkward but fiery school girl. She’s not afraid to say what she’s thinking and is incredibly intelligent, but she also is socially isolated, with people rarely talking to her.
Her fringe is thick, scooping around the edges of her face, framed by pieces of curls. It’s woven into a neat, single braid.
So what does this tell us about her? She’s a little closed off and doesn’t necessarily want to be the centre of attention. Her natural ‘no makeup; look also reflects her lack of caring about appearance, whilst also showing off her youthful, innocent glow.
Still in her awkward school girl phase, we got to see this fringe styled in a different way in the comfort of her own home.
When I saw this hair look, I immediately considered bangs. An effortless high bun, beautifully framed by loose pieces of curls. You can see more here the unevenness of the fringe - it isn’t a clean straight cut, because Marianne is far from simple and sophisticated
2. Finding her freedom
By Episode 2, we see Marianne has let her hair down, emotionally and quite literally. In the earliest stages of what’s about to become quite the story of romance and self-discovery for her, Marianne’s hair reflects the natural process of ‘breaking free’ from who she once was. Her fringe remains the same, but her natural waves add softness to her.
3. Glow Up No #1
Remember that makeover scene in every 90’s movie? Episode 3 pays tribute to the ‘She’s All That’ moment, in the same thoughtful and delicate way the show handles just about everything. Marianne still sports the uneven fringe, but this time her hair down is more styled with a loose curl. Does this reflect her trying to fit in? Personally, I would argue that isn’t the case. To me, it’s probably the first time she’s actually had the chance to go out. It doesn’t feel like a moment that she ‘isn’t being herself’ but rather, she’s having the opportunity to become herself and enter a new chapter of her life.
If you weren’t sold on a fringe yet, just keep reading.
4. Glow Up No #2: College Marianne
Say goodbye to awkward school-girl Marianne - this gal has found her place in a world full of like-minded people at college and it shows.
Her fringe remains but is more sophisticated. She's had a good chop and added some more variety to her styling, with some straighteners and curling wands likely added to her tool kit, not to mention some eyeliner too.
5. A girly moment
A summer abroad in Italy - this definitely called for a girlier style and the hair and makeup artists knew it. With pieces pinned back, Marianne’s fringe is lighter and airier, with subtle waves adding a softness to her face. Also, take note of the slight frizz to her hair - the stylist has clearly taken into account the humidity/frizzing of wavy hair in summer in Europe.
Something to note, however, is that this is probably the thinnest we’ve seen her fringe so far. Is it because she’s skating on thin ice in her toxic relationship with Jamie? We can’t confirm. We can confirm, however it is super cute and we will be showing our hairdressers this as inspo.
6. A darker period
To be clear, we still completely love this look. Her bangs are soft and even, nicely blown out to compliment her face and it is totally a style we love. However, within the context of the story, this look means a little more. Marianne is not herself. Caught in a new disturbing relationship, this look takes us on an emotional step back. Though often neat and tidy looks can evoke a feeling of control, this feels more like Marianne is losing herself.
7. Quite literally, split
Both physically apart in different parts of the world, Connell and Marianne maintain their friendship through video calls. During this period, we begin to see her fringe split into curtain bangs, naturally framing her face. Is this representative of her divided emotions? We can’t confirm for certain, but we do know that the curtain bangs are totally in for 2020 and look super cute with hair up or down.
8. Mature and Decisive
If you’ve seen the show (which if you haven’t by now, it probably already feels like you have) you’d remember this scene. Marianne makes a major decision, and her hairstyle ultimately reflects her maturity and decisiveness at its peak. Her fringe is soft, airy and subtly styled, with more gaps than high school Marianne probably knew existed. Her hair evokes honesty, purity and comfortability. It’s not tightly pulled back, or styled in a way that’s trying to be anything other than her true self.
So which Marianne will you be showing your hairdresser? We still can’t decide, but we think it will have to be between number 4, 5 or 9.
The biggest takeaway from this (beyond how you cut your own hair) is that there are no accidents in film and television. Every haircut, lipstick colour, style of top and more are all character-based decisions. Influenced by the character's emotional status, the location a scene may be set and the period of their lives they are entering, the creative decisions made by my hair, makeup and wardrobe are vital in storytelling.
Interested in a career in hairdressing for film and television? Learn that and more in our hair courses.