Four non-blonds

By NATHAN BURSTEIN
August 2, 2007 14:59
4 minute read.
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1 Ofra Haza Hair color: Black Claim to non-blond fame: Born to Yemenite immigrants in Tel Aviv's impoverished Hatikva neighborhood, Haza broke through to fame in 1979 with "Shir Hafrecha" (The Frecha Song), a disco-influenced hit that still gets radio play nearly three decades later. The song caused controversy on its release with its use of the slang term "frecha" - a derogatory word sometimes translated as "bimbo" and used to describe a loud, provocatively dressed, generally Mizrahi woman from a lower-class background. Emerging from Haza's lips, the word became a pronouncement of pride, with the raven-haired singer bidding "ciao" to a potential suitor but expressing the hope that he would one day learn to "understand the frecha." Though the word drew displeasure from some early listeners, the song would ultimately be understood as a declaration of confidence and Mizrahi self-respect. Haza's death from AIDS in early 2000 was mourned as a national tragedy. Yemenite pride: The most famous daughter of the Yemenite community, Haza paid proud tribute to her heritage in many of her biggest hits, which often combined traditional Yemenite melodies with an insistent disco beat. Her music made Haza one of the country's most successful performers overseas, with the singer speaking with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and earning a Grammy nomination for her unique sound. Haza's stage performances often featured the singer in traditional Yemenite clothing, as did her video for "Im Ninalu," an international hit that led to work involving Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. 2 Svika Pick Hair color: Dark brown (now with some gray mixed in) Claim to non-blond fame: Born in Poland, Pick made a splash in the early '70s with his musical mix of pop and rock and his unconventional appearance, which was notably (and literally) topped off by a head of long hair. Dark and flowing well past his shoulders, his hair served as an implicit rejection of the blorit and other Israeli hairstyles. The look fit into a larger trend that began the previous decade in Europe and the US, where members of the first post-war generation abandoned the conservative hairstyles of their parents and asserted their independence via a shaggier approach to hair. Still at it: Now approaching 60, Pick has stuck with his long-haired look for nearly his entire career. A prolific performer and songwriter, he has penned hits for a long list of other stars and currently helps create new ones as the longest-haired judge on A Star Is Born, the local version of American Idol. Well. That's appropriate: Pick starred on stage as the lead character in Hair, the Hebrew-language version of the hit 1960s musical about sex, drugs and rock and roll. 3 Judy Nir Mozes Shalom Hair color: Magenta A well-known TV personality and radio host, Nir Mozes Shalom is probably the most famous example of what's perhaps a uniquely Israeli trend: the head of magenta hair. A small but unmissable phenomenon in its own right, the look is particularly popular among women of a certain age, and in her case nicely mirrors a famously colorful personality. Signature look: A member of the Mozes family, the well-connected owners of the Yediot media group, she has often found herself lampooned alongside her husband, former deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom, on the TV news parody Eretz Nehederet. Like the other celebrities and political personalities sent up on the program, Nir Mozes Shalom has been subjected to a caricature-like version of herself - gleefully played by Orna Banai - replete with bright magenta locks. Magenta as a lifestyle: "The press want to put me in a box and [insist] that I have to behave like they want," Nir Mozes Shalom once told the Hollywood trade newspaper Variety. "I don't give a damn about criticism. I want to look in the mirror and be happy in what I do." 4 Moran Atias Hair color: Black Claim to non-blond fame: Atias' North African ancestry, ordinary by local standards, helped make her a hit in Germany, where the model temporarily moved as a teenager after her career at home began to plateau. They also love her in Italy: Following a successful stint in Germany, Atias moved on to Milan, where she learned the local language well enough to appear as a host and performer on several TV variety programs. The Haifa native eventually caught the eye of director Mario Monicello, a two-time Oscar nominee, who cast her as a young Arab woman in World War II-era Libya in his most recent film, 2006's The Roses of the Desert. Meanwhile, back at home: They may have been a bit slow to catch on, but Israelis have also embraced the 26-year-old Atias, putting her on a variety of magazine covers and making her the face of the Renuar clothing chain. Atias has also appeared in several TV shows and movies, including the upcoming Kavod (Honor), about two families of Moroccan ancestry involved in organized crime.

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