How Rita Hayworth Changed Her Appearance For Hollywood

"Increasingly, stars are recruited from the ranks of professional models, with the result that today's starlets are better dressed and better groomed than ever before, though it is doubtful if they are better actresses," wrote Life Magazine in 1942. There's a statement that undoubtedly cuts straight through superficiality and to the core. People have plenty of opinions about today's beauty standards and the lengths to which individuals will go in order to align themselves accordingly, but artificial beauty is certainly not exclusive to the modern age of facial reconstructive surgery and permanent makeup. 

Even Hollywood's Golden Age had some fool's gold adorning parts of its surface. Before hyper-intensified plastic surgery methods, stars took other measures to change the way they looked. Rita Hayworth (1918-1987, per Biography) was one of the most fiery beauties to ever light up the big screen, but her iconic looks didn't actually come as naturally as you might think. 

She wasn't a natural redhead

Most associate Rita Hayworth with the amber blaze of red hair that cascaded down her shoulders like a radiant waterfall of luscious flames. However, being of Spanish origins, she was actually a natural born brunette. When her career was still in its preliminary trial period and she was struggling to gain professional traction, a studio head suggested that she dye her hair red in order to look less "simple." She did just that. Lo and behold, it worked, but it became something of a hectic upkeep once success took over and she had to re-tint her hair every other day to ward off any brunette bleed-over (per Daily Mail U.K.). 

Strangely enough, the studios preferred to photograph her with one day's regrowth, stating that the subtle sprouting of brunette from her roots framed her face and enhanced her features quite well (via Daily Mail U.K.).

She had to move her hairline back

Electrolysis was a method that employed chemicals or concentrated heat to remove individual hairs from the face or other parts of the body. Believe it or not, Rita Hayworth had to undergo electrolysis treatments to her hairline in order to make her forehead appear higher. Her thick head of hair was predisposed to start farther down her face, which experts also attribute to her Spanish origins. Most people dread a receding hairline, but it was actually something that compounded the star's beauty in a peculiar way (per Bright Side).

 It seemed that much of Hayworth's transformative effort was geared toward camouflaging her ethnic origins. She changed her professional name from Margarita Cansino to Rita Hayworth in order to fit the Hollywood mold. However, she never fully eradicated her true identity, and as Adrienne L. McLean once put it: "...rather than leaving her past behind, Hayworth always remained, or retained, Margarita Cansino." McLean noted that Hayworth's ethnicity was a useful way to mix wholesomeness and sex appeal, further emphasizing the role that Hayworth's origins played in her timeless beauty (via JSTOR Daily).