A cut above the rest

They say that nobody really knows a woman like the man who cuts her hair, and when it comes to hairdresser Yossi Pol, 30, of downtown Jerusalem's Asher Mintz salon, that's certainly the case. After all, it was Pol who brought the "Shifra" cut to Israel, which since Cornfeld's triumph on Big Brother has made him a very busy man indeed. It was during a course he was taking in London, he recalls, that the cut that would become the latest rage caught his eye. "I saw hair-dos there. Most of them were short. About three years ago I did it for her for the first time. I always give her the same cut. Even before the show people came to get them, but not like now." Now means "at least 12 to 15" Shifra cuts he does a week in his salon, including one taken a few moments before our interview by a bride-to-be, a woman he confided once had long, long hair but gave it all up for a Shifra two months ahead of her wedding. As for his client's winning the show, Pol wasn't surprised, though even he learned more about her than he had during their close relationship. "She's such an amazing person, everyone falls in love with her," he says as we walk through the salon to a back room, orange and blue lights and banks of TV screens featuring MTV dance channel - which carried only Big Brother during the contest - adding to the sophisticated, upscale salon look. Big Brother contestant Yossi Bublil might not agree with Pol's analysis of Shifra's character, but that doesn't bother the hairdresser, who followed his client intently throughout the series and even forgave her one day when she wore her hair pulled back. Following her on the program gave him new insight into his customer, he says. "She's been getting her hair cut with me for four or five years now, and I didn't really know her. Now I do. She's a very intelligent, highly talented girl. She's pleasant and has a good heart. It's hard not to love her. I saw on the show that there were some people who didn't get along with her, but here, anyone who knows her - that never happens. She's simply a special person. She never does anything bad to anyone. She comes here and there are 12 workers, she always talks to all of them." He claims it was Cornfeld's "special warmth that did the trick. At the beginning, it didn't come out - it's television, you don't always see things as they are. But after 107 days, you see the real person. People connected to the good person that she is." As for those who dismiss the program as a showcase for rudeness or just plain low-level, boring TV, Pol says they simply don't appreciate it. "There's a certain truth to it that you can't see anywhere else on TV," he says. "It's real, it runs 24 hours a day, it's live... I had it on 24 hours; I'd turn it on when I got home. There are some people who like it and some who don't... but there's something true about it, that talks straight to you." To Pol, at least, this was one TV show that was a cut above the rest.