I am happy to introduce you to a woman that knows a lot about looking beautiful with very little time required. Here is Myriam and her marvelous hair coverings!
Hi Myriam, what is the most memorable thing that has happened to you today?
I am running a lot of errands today instead of working (my office is closed for maintenance, what can I do ) but I am also cooking and bringing a meal to a friend of mine who just had a baby (last week). Our community organises a meal rota for new moms. The best thing: this friend asked if she can also be on the rota for the next two of moms who are due in a couple of weeks! Some women are incredible!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am French but have lived in Israel, Ireland and now England for the last 7 years. I am doing a PhD in international law which I am hoping to finish in the next 6 months. I am hoping to lecture at university and be a consultant on my main expertise, which is counterterrorism.
My husband and I hope to move to Israel in the next couple of years, where my four sibblings already live.
I also absolutely love baking and, when I have time, I make costume jewlery.
How long have you been covering your hair?
Since I got married, almost three years ago.
Have your feelings about hair covering changed over time? If yes, how so?
Before I got married, I wasn’t sure how often and how I would cover my hair. My husband always said I had to do whatever I felt was right and once I got married, I actually didn’t even think and covered all the time (although not when alone at home with him). What has changed is the way I cover: I used to have short hair and so would cover most hair but have some sticking out.
I have now grown my hair, so I now ‘put it all in’ and cover everything.
What is your favourite aspect of covering your hair?
I never particularly loved my hair so it wasn’t too hard to cover. I love the variety of it, and also, I never have a bad hair day! I have always loved hats so it’s mainly fun.
How do you normally cover?
I tend to wear hats/berets during winter and scarves during summer, although I have light cotton berets and warmer scarves. I quite like the seasonal aspect of my covering.
How do you cover your hair on formal/unique occasions?
I have a couple of fancier scarves which I tend to wear at all formal occasions. I do buy expensive scarves and hats in general because I am not original at all and am useless at ‘wrapping’ with various colourful scarves. So I tend to be lazy and buy scarves and hats that are already a bit special. I am always so impressed by what Andrea comes up with, and the jewlery etc, but I guess I am either too lazy or not brave enough to try. I’ll tend to go for a scarf which has a wow factor already. My bank manager would probably prefer I didn’t….
Has covering your hair affected your work/study? How so?
Interestingly, no one has ever commented or asked about why I started covering my hair (although the Brits are way too polite to ask anything anyways 🙂 My thesis supervisor never mentioned anything.
I must stress though that I am a student and even if I attend conferences and teach, I do not work as a lawyer, or have clients. I do think that if I did, I might feel more comfortable with a wig, even though I do not want to wear one (and don’t have one). I also know that I always feel more ‘normal’ covering when I am in Israel.
I have had a couple of muslim colleagues ask for recommendations of where to buy scarves.
What is your most vivid hair covering memory?
Presenting a paper at a conference and having a couple of people commenting on how nice and elegant my hat was. One even said ‘women used to cover their hair when they went out in public, things have changed’. It just felt funny to be discussing such things in the middle of a very serious conference on state sovereignty and the european union. I guess everybody needed a break!
What kind of community do you live in, in terms of hair covering practice? How does this affect you?
In my community, most women only cover their hair for shule, if at all. There are only a couple of us who cover entirely and all the time. I have always been a very independant person so I don’t really care what people do and think, although most people comment on how nice my hats are, which doesn’t hurt 🙂
Our community is very intellectual and cultured so I feel that this is what matters most, not particularly the physical appearance or the religious practice.
What is your favourite hat?
Hard to choose, usually changes on the season. I have a favourite designer though (see below).
Can you recommend some of your favourite places to find hats?
I buy A LOT from Chirelle D, a former student at my Jewish school in France, who makes scarves and hats. They are all unique and handmade creations, which means they are very expensive.
But because I cover everyday and feel like I have to look professional, I have invested in many of her creations, which always make me feel glamorous, original and professional at the same time. She has such an amazing creativity and, as I said, for those of use who can’t make it beautiful wraps, her scarves and hats are the answer. She has people who sell her creation in France, the UK and Israel and will soon sell online. I usually try to wait for sales but it is my guilty pleasure (on the contrary; I have like 3 pairs of shoes…)
I have bought hats from arts fair in Toronto, shops in Jerusalem and brands like H&M, etc. Israel is always a great place for diversity and price.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for having a really supportive family and an amazing husband; for my good health and for the internet that allows me to share my passions (cooking, hats, etc) with so many people and which allows me to connect with everyone dear to me.