Free Announcer Aika Kanda, Why a 43-Year-Old Woman Got a Haircut | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Free Announcer Aika Kanda, Why a 43-Year-Old Woman Got a Haircut

47] Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration drawn by Kanda-san

In the past, women who made drastic changes to their hair have often been asked, “Did you break up?” This time, some people expressed concern (in my case, about divorce), but divorce was not the reason.


So why did I cut my hair? It was because I was tired of spending time thinking about hairstyles that would match my outfits.

I’ve been with the same stylist since my days at NHK. They understand my taste in clothes, incorporate overseas styles into colors and designs, and style me beautifully. For nearly 15 years, I’ve entrusted all my outfit selections for work to this person.

When the Fuji TV show “Pokapoka” started, I naturally asked them again. With “Pokapoka” airing five days a week, they would prepare about 20 outfits per month just for that show. Including other appearances, there were months when they prepared about 35 outfits.

The stylist said to me, “Because of the large number, it’s impossible to prepare everything exactly to your liking. Some compromises may be necessary, but is that okay?” I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else. I trust her. So my answer was, “That’s fine!”

But when “Pokapoka” started, I noticed that only “everyday wear” type outfits were being prepared. I understand that it’s unavoidable. However, the outfits were all different from before, like ordinary A-line skirts, regular wool sweaters, or loose-fitting dresses made of natural materials. These outfits were different from what I used to wear. When I appeared on TV in outfits that seemed more suitable for a 43-year-old woman, I felt like I looked older, perhaps because the other cast members had more glamour. I received messages from my mother asking, “What’s with the outfits?” and from my best friend asking, “Did you change stylists?” Gradually, I lost confidence and began to worry that if I smiled too much in front of the camera, people would think, “She’s trying too hard to look young!”

I had to do something about it. I asked the hair and makeup artist for help, and we came up with the idea of ​​styling my hair differently to cover up when the outfits look too casual! From then on, every morning, we had serious discussions about hairstyles and managed to create a look that suited the lively atmosphere of “Pokapoka.”

But one morning, I reached my limit. (“Thinking that I can make these clothes look cute with just a hairstyle change is wrong! Isn’t it the stylist’s job to provide clothes that make me look better than I am?!”) So, I made up my mind to cut my hair short, believing that if I couldn’t style it differently, the outfits would have to change!

I feel sorry for the stylist!

I was curious about the situation with stylists for other talents. When I asked someone I worked with, they shared eye-opening information with me.

It turns out that they establish relationships with multiple stylists who specialize in different genres, and they switch stylists depending on the program. For shows targeted at housewives, they use stylists who excel at clean-cut styling, while for late-night programs heavy on variety, they turn to those who specialize in bold and eccentric styling. Furthermore, they all unanimously say, “It’s unfair to burden one stylist with dozens of outfits every month!”

This made me deeply reflect. I had mistakenly believed that hiring multiple stylists would hurt their pride. Over the years, out of goodwill, they had taken on unreasonable requests and worked tirelessly alone. Finally, I realized this.

The stylist who had lent her strength to enhancing my image through outfits for years—I still want her to support me. To make this happen, I concluded that I need to ensure she has a conducive working environment.

Starting this April, I have been receiving support from another stylist whom I recently met, working together as a team of two. Somehow, her voice seems to bring a sense of calm and relief. It’s comforting.

Just to be sure, though, I cut my hair drastically so that I won’t ever have to rely on outfits that can somehow be pulled off with a matching hairstyle again. This is my current hairstyle. Stylist, I look forward to continuing our collaboration.

© Kazuki Shimomura

Kanda Aika / Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1980. After graduating from the Department of Mathematics at Gakushuin University, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003. She resigned from NHK in 2012 and became a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently appears as the main MC on the daytime program “Pokapoka” (Fuji TV).

From the April 19, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Text and illustrations by Aika Kanda

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