Charlie's Angels (1976–81), a show about the adventures of three attractive female private investigators, debuted in September 1976. By mixing sex appeal and feminist self-reliance, the series drew large audiences of both men and women, quickly becoming the top-rated television program in the United States. Former model Farrah Fawcett (1947–), then known as Farrah Fawcett-Majors, soon emerged as the most popular of the show's three stars. Her feathery blonde hair and broad white smile were the image of wholesome sensuality. Fawcett's ascent into superstardom was sealed with the release of a poster depicting her in a red swimsuit. It sold some eight million copies and was a fixture on the bedroom walls of American teenage boys from coast to coast.
Fawcett's hairstyle in particular seemed to touch a nerve with the public. Before long, young girls and women across the nation began to adopt the Farrah Fawcett look, a flipped back, winged, layered and tousled style held in place with plentiful amounts of gel and spray. "Farrahmania" reached its peak in 1977. At one point a Farrah-mad entrepreneur reportedly offered five million dollars to bottle water from the starlet's kitchen tap. She declined. As Fawcett's acting career fizzled, so did her influence on fashion. The feathered Farrah Fawcett look dropped from fashion in the early 1980s. The style was revived in the late 1990s, when designers started to couple the hairstyle with 1980s-inspired apparel. Singers Madonna (1958–) and Gwen Stefani (1969–), country music phenom LeAnn Rimes (1982–), rapper Mary J. Blige (c. 1971–), and actresses Liv Tyler (1977–), Jenna Elfman (1971–), and Pamela Anderson (1967–) all adopted the cut in the early twenty-first century.
Burstein, Patricia. Farrah: An Unauthorized Biography of Farrah Fawcett-Majors. New York: New American Library, 1977.
Oliva, Christine. "Feathered Hair on the Cutting Edge." Cincinnati Enquirer (July 6, 2000).