After a score of platinum models appeared at Juun.J, we chart the most iconic times guys picked up the peroxide
There is something therapeutic about dramatically changing your appearance – and everyone knows there’s few better ways to do it than bleaching the hell out of your hair. Inspired by Juun.J’s boys with bleached-blonde locks by stylist Shon Hyungsun Ju, here we count down the ten most dramatic times men used blonde to change it up, from cult icon River Phoenix, to Ewan McGregor’s rendition of Iggy Pop.
JARED LETO IN FIGHT CLUB
The singer and actor bleached not only his hair, but also his brows to become Angel Face in Fight Club, the ultimate ultra-violent tale of postmodern boredom and the search for meaning in a capitalist society. Having his face completely deformed by Edward Norton, who “felt like destroying something beautiful,” this ghostly look gave a seemingly punk edge to Fight Club’s most dedicated follower – although he did get yelled at for being “too fucking blonde.”
There is an aura of mystery that surrounds the late River Phoenix. Be it as a rent boy in search for his mother on Gus Van Sant’s iconic queer film My Own Private Idaho or as a child looking for a different life to his family in Stand by Me, the James Dean of the 90s is today looked to as a cult icon. Usually a dirty blonde, he bleached his hair white in 1991 when trying to nab the role of a young Warhol in a Van Sant biopic.
JAMES MARSTERS AS SPIKE FROM BUFFY
With cheekbones to die for, Buffy’s Spike, played by James Marsters, was the bad-boy heartthrob of the 90s and early 00s. Charming the Slayer and teen girls through their fuzzy TV sets, his slicked back, gelled white hair and leather jacket combo channelled Billy Idol, although the vamp claimed it was him that Idol stole his look from.
EWAN MCGREGOR IN VELVET GOLDMINE
Playing the Iggy Pop-inspired character Curt Wild in this almost-surreal tale of guyliner, drugs and music, Ewan McGregor did not hold back on the eyeliner, glitter and nakedness. With ratty, visibly damaged (rock 'n' roll) blonde hair, he teetered the line between total debauchery and absolute self-destruction, alongside Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ Bowie-inspired chameleon character and glam king, Brian Slade.
From the crazed Tyler Durden in Fight Club, through to the charismatic (and definitely Italian-speaking) Lt. Aldo Raine in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds – there’s no doubt that Brad Pitt is more than just a pretty face. But his versatility doesn’t only extend to his roles: the actor bleached his long locks peroxide blonde for the red carpet in 1994, becoming another celebrity to ride the grunge wave that hit 90s America.
There are few hair colours that the leading figure of grunge didn’t experiment with. From sky blue to wine red, the iconically blonde Nirvana frontman bleached his tangled ‘do even lighter during the 90s. With a mane that almost matched his wife’s (maybe they shared peroxide), he set the scene for many others, very likely smelling like teen spirit, to come as they were – or as they wanted to be.
Rocking a shaved head with silver/white hair, rapper SisQó became known in the early 00s for his legendary praise of sexy undergarments in “Thong Song” – with an album that sold over 4 million copies. Memorably appearing at the 2000 Grammy Awards wearing tinted red sunglasses and showing off a lot of skin in a bright red leather combination with silver chains, SisQó’s looks were always outrageous.
Alter-ego personality with questionable morals aside, Eminem has rocked the bleached-to-death buzzcut and silver hoop earrings look since the early 00s. In some of his songs, he refers to his blonde ‘do – explaining that it’s his way of visually expressing the more violent side of Slim Shady, affirming the idea of the blonde bad boy.
CHRISTIAN SLATER IN GLEAMING THE CUBE
Right after playing the most charming psychopathic serial killer in cult film Heathers, Christian Slater rocked spiked-up, frosted tips with roots as the 16-year-old California skater, Brian Kelly in 1989’s Gleaming the Cube. Featuring Tony Hawk, this was many people’s first experience of a skater movie. And by the way, the title means “pushing yourself to new limits”. You go, teen Slater.
CHRIS TUCKER IN THE FIFTH ELEMENT
Starring as talk show host Ruby Rhod, a character constantly on the verge of hysteria – comedian Chris Tucker fretted through The Fifth Element. Sporting a white pompadour, his look was finished off with a Jean Paul Gaultier leopard print bodysuit with a structured neckline. His extremely flamboyant and sexually impudent character served as a nuisance to Bruce Willis’ protagonist, by constantly demanding quotes. Essentially, his persona does nothing useful – but his hair game is strong.