The first thing Marcia Clark said to Sarah Paulson, who plays her on American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, when they met was, “I just want to apologize for the hair.” After watching last night’s episode, entitled “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” it feels like an understandable apology.

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Clark’s perm—one she was pressured to get in order to appear more likable—turned out to be a complete disaster for her in the press. It was, along with her divorce, and custody battle, and the publication of an old topless photo, just one example of the misogyny Clark dealt with while prosecuting the Trial of the Century.

And, according to Clark’s 1997 memoir Without a Doubt, last night’s recreation of her makeover was pretty spot on. In a excerpt referenced this week by Jen Yamato in The Daily Beast, Clark explained why she decided to perm her naturally straight hair:

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“[Jury consultant Donald] Vinson told Gil that the people he’d polled perceived me as ‘hard.’ I should speak more softly. I should get a softer hairdo. I should lose the business suits in favor of—get this—dresses. Just think about the logic here. Vinson claimed that black middle-aged women were carrying a grudge against me. And so the way to defuse them was to gussy myself up like Vanna White?”

In an interview with Vulture, Clark said the media went “crazy” in response to her new haircut, and Yamata notes that it was even examined in The New York Times.

When describing the new ‘do in her memoir, Clark wrote:

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The experience produced in me that awful naked feeling of being a teenager changing her hairdo to please the popular crowd.

And that’s pretty much what I gathered from watching last night’s episode—“Kiss From a Rose” and all.


Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.