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Polamalu preps for 'Mane Event'

Famous manes

Like Troy Polamalu, there are other public figures who have distinct 'dos that make them stand out. A slew of celebrities are known for their lovely, lush or simply laughable heads of hair.

Ladies like Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Dorothy Hamill, Audrey Hepburn and Farrah Fawcett have sported some of the most coveted coifs in the country. Guys like Elvis, Einstein, Justin Bieber, Robert Pattinson and Donald Trump all have donned memorable 'dos.

So what makes a person's hair go from simple statement to iconic style?

Acclaimed hair stylist and salon owner Philip Pelusi says unforgettable hair happens most commonly when the look mirrors a celebrity's personality — i.e. Audrey Hepburn's sophisticated upsweep or Sophia Loren's sultry styles.

“It's about the right place at the right time,” Pelusi says. “Take Jennifer Aniston. A lot of people relate to her. There is something in that spirit she captures and emotes.”

Aniston made news this week when she showed off a new chin-length bob.

“With Miley Cyrus, some people can relate to (her most recent hairdo) and see a certain perception of freedom to do that.”

In the past, certain styles would be requested in salons for years, like Hamill's wedge and Jane Fonda's shag. Today, the trends move much quicker to keep pace with a never-ending celebrity-news stream, Pelusi says.

“Now, there are more choices, more variety,” he says.

Izear Winfrey, artistic director at Studio Booth, Shadyside, says today's biggest trend is the long, soft waves sported by the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift.

While trends tend to stick around for years, the most popular celebrities are the ones who aren't afraid to try something new, Winfrey says.

“A lot of celebrities who stay in the business the longest are constantly changing and reinventing themselves,” he says, citing examples like Madonna, Pink, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna. “They keep it new and fresh.”

— Rachel Weaver

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Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, 5:44 p.m.

It will be the scissor-snip heard round the 'Burgh.

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, keeper of the most illustrious locks in the NFL, will cut his hair at Heinz Field on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to benefit Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Troy Polamalu has one of the most famous heads of hair in America,” says John Hamilton, VFW Adjutant General. “To have him take a role in our efforts is appreciated. We hope this event will help bring public awareness to the vital work the VFW is doing on behalf of those who deserve it most — our nation's veterans, military and their families.”

The event is part of the VFW's “Mane Event,” a fundraising campaign in which participants solicit donations from friends and family, then get a haircut and post a picture of the results online.

Polamalu and his wife, Theodora, are longtime supporters of veterans, as several of their family members and friends have served. They are founders of the Harry Panos Fund for Veterans, named for Theodora's grandfather who fought in World War II. The fund provides support for military-focused charities.

Polamalu is dismayed by the lack of moral support for veterans in today's society.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society now that is all about, ‘What have you done for me lately?' ” he says. “Once a veteran is done with his service, we just kind of forget about him. I don't think anybody could argue against the fact that they've done more for this country than any other person.”

To draw attention to the issues, Polamalu will give his famous mane a “ceremonial” trim. He'll only lose a 3-inch lock, but the cut is still significant — it's the first time scissors have touched his head in more than a decade.

For Polamalu, hair is about more than making a style statement.

“Every time a piece of my hair comes out, and I look at a 20-inch strand, I'm like, ‘Wow, what happened when this first started growing?'” he says. “You think about all the life experience that you've had, and my hair's been a part of me. It's kind of become my fifth appendage and my identity.”

No one in the Polamalu family brushes that sentiment off.

“We don't even cut our children's hair,” Polamalu says. “They'll joke around like, ‘Daddy, I want my hair like that,' and it's like, ‘Son, in this family, that's blasphemy.”

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