Pushing the boundaries of fashion and societal norms, the mullet is indisputably known as the most outrageous hairstyle to date. It is unruly, extreme and controversial. Despite/because of the attention-grabbing nature of the hairstyle, the mullet revival seems to be upon us. Creatives are reclaiming the shockingly wild hairstyle to be bold, unafraid and self-expressive. Channeling the energy of the original punks and skinheads in the 70s and 80s, the mullet symbolises and displays an unapologetic attitude that no other hairstyle can compare.
As a contemporary mullet hairstylist, Jemima Bradley (AKA Mullet Babyy) has found her voice in the hairstyling industry. What started out as a tactic to catch people’s eyeballs – doing an avant-garde mullet on her best friend who was modelling for her show – turns out to be her calling and her passion. Today, we chatted with Jemima about the history of the mullet, her biggest fashion and style inspiration and her take on the Mullet Hall of Shame.
An interview with Jemima Bradley, AKA Mullet Babyy
When and how did the mullet first become your look?
After cutting a mullet on my best friend for the first time, we grew to love it and messed around with different mullets for a while. She brought me clients and helped me find myself. I then changed my Instagram handle to @mulletbabyy. I spent a lot of time at parties asking people if I could cut their hair. I’d do it for free because I needed a portfolio. Most people would say yes but I definitely got a fair share of weird looks! I guess my clientele grow because the queer community is pretty tight. I think a lot of it goes down to what I named myself. It was never meant to be a branding tool, but it definitely works in my favour.
Can you give us a potted history of the mullet?
A lot of people think it emerged in the 80s but the first ones to have mullets were actually the Romans. It was a craze amongst young men. It then emerged again in the 50s as an insult – “Mullet Head” meant “stupid”. Afterwards, the iconic 80s mullet was made cool by the punks and skinheads. And now, the modern mullet.
Whose mullet gives you the most inspiration?
Vicky McClure playing Lol in This Is England. She had the sickest mullet!
What would be your nomination for the Mullet Hall of Shame (unless there is no such thing)?
Mullets are the ugliest and one of most mocked haircuts and that’s why we love them. The trashier the mullet the better, so can there be such a thing?
The mullet is a hairstyle that sits amongst the great subculture hairstyles of all ages. Which subculture gives you the most joy?
It has to be the cowboys or the skinheads. They have such iconic mullets and I don’t think any other mullet hairstyle can beat that.
Apart from your own contribution, what trend or movement has helped in creating a revival of the mullet?
It goes out to the queers! They’ve only really come into the mainstream this year, but queers have been on the mullet game for a few now. They started to be seen on runways, and now even on TV and the red carpet.
If you could style anyone’s hair, who would that be?
The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. That’d be a dream!
We’ve seen that you have styled a few local punk bands, any favourites and stories to tell?
You guys have actually already done a Q + A with him! I listened to Forrest Flowers for the longest time, so you can imagine I was psyched to chop at his mop. Pale Waves were pretty surreal too. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of seeing the hair I did on the O2 stage. To say they were an atmosphere to have in the salon would be an understatement.
Where do you go for live music in London?
I don’t go to many live music sessions. But one of my favourite nights is Inferno hosted by Lewis J Burton.
Sum up your personal style in three words.
Punk, queer and dyke.
What would you say to those who are afraid to change their hairstyle?
If you’re afraid to change your style, maybe you’ve had the same cut for years? There are ways to dip your toes in the water without buzzing it all off, like adding a little fringe or some colour. In any case, hair grows back! It is all about confidence. Anyone can wear anything, you’ve just got to know how.
Our ongoing series of reports on emerging and established artists with close-up Q&As, gallery reports and exhibition reviews, with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in art, women in art and the independent art scene.
Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.