“At three in the morning, on eBay, I bought a long, red wig. The style was fittingly called "Showgirl,” and I fell in love at first sight. “ So begins author and artist Stacy Harshman’s journey down the rabbit hole of disguise and sets off a life-altering and moving journey. Crowning Glory shares the highs, lows and hilarity of a sociological experiment Harshman undertakes to see how her life – and especially the reactions of others – might change just by donning different hair colors.
Harshman, our intrepid narrator, leads readers on hysterical adventures and heart-wrenching misadventures. As she dons a plethora of wigs that bring out different personae – latent personalities that embolden our heroine to get out of bed during a serious bout of depression – Harshman finds surprising new tools to cope with mental illness and painful childhood memories. Her unrelenting honesty will have even the most stable reader wondering – “how much power do my looks have over my life?”
In an infinitely relatable style that has been heralded as “Eat Pray Love, A Beautiful Mind, and Sex in the City have a ménage à trois,” Harshman delivers a tour de force debut memoir that asks readers to consider the questions: How much does our appearance affect the way people treat us? How much do our hair and wardrobe choices affect how we feel about ourselves? And who are we really when our life can change so dramatically with something as innocuous as wearing a shiny new wig?
Employing a sarcastic research assistant “spy” found of Craigslist, Harshman and her “Agent Thorn” bravely explore nearly every iconic New York neighborhood, at all times of day and night. Her no-nonsense partner in crime dutifully catalogs not just the number and types of looks and stares that Stacy’s alter ego’s garner, but also Stacy’s changing emotional states. Some wigs draw praise, lust and marriage proposals – a red haired wig inspires a complete stranger to ask Stacy to knight him - while other colors inspire unrepentant glares and cutting, nasty remarks. Throughout this odyssey, Harshman and her spy confirm that not all hair colors are treated equally, and that even a small change of appearance can set off a dramatic chain reaction in one’s life.
What emerges is a wholly original experience of identity. Harshman takes readers on her wild, fun role-playing ride, as she straddles the tightrope between dealing with her inner turmoil and basking in external gratification. Harshman poses an eternal question in a fresh way – when appearances are intended to deceive, what does it mean to be yourself?
Crowning Glory: An Experiment in Self-Discovery Through Disguise is Harshman’s first memoir. Launching this June with a series of readings and events in New York City, Crowning Glory will be available in print and all major multimedia formats. For more information on Stacy Harshman and excerpts from Crowning Glory visit www.crowningglorybook.com.