‘I didn’t want to be pretty’ - Sinead O’Connor on her ‘rebellious’ buzzcut

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor performs on stage during the Positivus music festival in Salacgriv in 2009. Picture: Reuters Ints Kalnins

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor performs on stage during the Positivus music festival in Salacgriv in 2009. Picture: Reuters Ints Kalnins

Published Jul 27, 2023


Besides her famous song, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, Sinead O’Connor was well known for her buzzcut.

The Irish singer who passed away on July 26, 2023, at the age of 56, once said: “I don’t feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I’m an old lady, I’m going to have it.”

For those growing up in the 90s, she was a symbol of rebelliousness during a time when hair was everything.

While that hasn’t changed much over the years, O’Connor’s iconic buzz cut made it fashionable to have one.

Sinead O'Connor performs on stage during the Carthage Jazz Festival in Tunis April 4, 2013. Picture: Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi

However, the reason behind her buzzcut had nothing to do with being fashionable.

During an interview with Dr Phil in 2017, she shared why she shaved her hair.

“My sister had the most beautiful red hair, glorious red hair, the type you’d be jealous of. But my mother took it into her head that my sister’s hair was ugly, and horrible and disgusting.

“And then, when I had long hair, she would introduce us as her pretty daughter and her ugly daughter. And that’s why I cut my hair off. I didn’t want to be pretty,” she said.

The singer continued: “I didn’t want to be raped or molested, I didn’t want to dress like a girl, I didn’t want to be pretty. Other girls beat you up if you were pretty too.”

She added that the music industry also influenced her decision to keep her androgynous look.

“I was asked one day if would I grow my hair long and wear short skirts because they wanted to sell me on my sexuality.

“I didn’t want to be sold on that. If I was going to be successful, I wanted it to be because I was a good musician,” she said.

She stuck with the style for the rest of her career. As recently as 2021, O’Connor was still shaving her own head “about every 10 days,” as she told the New York Times.

Irish singer and songwriter Sinead O'Connor poses at the amfAR's Inspiration LA Gala in Hollywood, California in this October 27, 2011. Picture: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Over the years we’ve seen many celebrities follow in her non-conformist footsteps by shaving their hair.

Sigourney Weaver donned a buzzcut in the movie ‘Alien 3’ in 1992.

Then there was Demi Moore in G.I. Jane in 1997.

Natalie Portman said she felt a “super cool feeling” when going out in the rain with her freshly shaved head during the filming of the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ in 2005.

We even saw Charlize Theron shave her blonde locks for the movie ‘Mad Max’ in 2015.

Natalie Portman. Picture: Instagram/adecourv

While these stars all donned the look for movie roles, other female celebrities now shave their heads by choice.

Stars like Doja Cat, Jada Pinkett Smith and Adwoa Aboah all rock buzzcuts.

Jada Pinkett Smith. Picture: Instagram

Florence Pugh shocked everyone when she rocked up at the 2023 Met Gala with a freshly shaved head.

Florence Pugh at the 2023 Met Gala. Picture: Instagram/florencepugh