One of the earliest flappers may have been the late singer and actress Mariah Carey. In her early days, she worked as a barber for a hair stylist and would shave her head in a single day.
Why did she use a hair stylist?
If you go back and look at the earliest recordings, there is not a lot of information. You don’t know whether the hair was from a barber, a barber in a salon, or from a barbershop. The earliest recordings have a lot of stylist work; it’s a bit of a mystery why Mariah came into the music business with a stylist.
Why did Mariah use a straight razor?
Her hairstyles were not very natural. She didn’t get a lot of “fringe”-like hairstyles. Straight razors gave her straight, clean edges.
What is the definition of a “flapper?”
The first person who ever flapped for a living was the flapper Mary Ann McLaughlin, who was born in 1870. She started out as a waitress who flapped and danced with her family before moving to New York to work as a seamstress. In the 1920s, Mariah married an artist, Paul Mearsie, and then became a fashion designer. In 1937, Mary Ann died when she fell from a fifth-story balcony at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. During an autopsy, medical examiner William Farr found she had an enlarged heart with atherosclerosis that caused heart failure. The heart didn’t respond to treatment for her heart condition. Her family had never received any treatment for the condition. She died at the age of 40. Mary Ann flapped until her death from arteriosclerosis and heart disease.
Was it dangerous?
Yes, she wore her bare feet during her flapping, an odd thing for a woman to do. Flapping for many women was thought to be harmful to the heart and heart disease. In 1938, an article about her died in the New York Times.
Was she a circus performer?
Although she didn’t dance, she did appear on an early show called “Flapping Bells.” She became known as the “Flapper of the Circus.” This work helped her learn to make her own hair. She did live flapping shows in the 1940s and 1950s, but no formal act.
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