Marcia Clark knows she’s had some bad hair days, so much so that her highly publicized 1995 “makeover” was a big part of the storyline on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story episode “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” And while Clark says the FX miniseries got a whole lot right, the lead prosecutor from the O.J. Simpson murder trial admits that some parts of the show are edited to illustrate a point. When it comes to that infamous makeover, Clark told Vulture the whole thing was a “media creation.” Clark said her new look was more about her having a lack of time to go to the salon to get her hair done.
“In the very beginning of the case, before opening statements, our press person said, ‘You need to get a haircut. You look kind of messy.’ And I did. I was kind of scraggly. So I got my hair cut. That was it. And after that point — the media goes crazy with this sh*t — it’s just so weird. There came that point in the trial when my perm grew out. I didn’t have the time to go and get permed again.”
While the FX series made it seem like her “makeover” was the shorter perm — Judge Lance Ito (played by Kenneth Choi) even smirks “Ms. Clark, I think,” when she walks into the courtroom — Clark says that in real life, Judge Ito said this line later, when she appeared with her straight, blown-out hairdo.
“That was the day I blew my hair out straight. It was silly. I was like Whatever, dude. Let me call the next witness. That particular morning I looked at myself and I said, Just blow it out and stop trying. You can’t keep it up. You’re never going to have time to go back to the hairdresser now. And I have straight hair. So I blew it out. Thus began the media parade about the makeover.”
In addition, Clark laughs off the whole “makeover” story, saying she didn’t even look good at the time because she was too busy to take care of herself. She said a friend gave her some makeup — presumably to help cover the dark circles under her eyes after so many long nights working on the trial — and even that didn’t get used.
“And my girlfriend gave me a concealer pencil, which my youngest son then stuck down a sprinkler pipe, because it fit. That was my makeover. How could I have had a makeover and still looked that bad? I just don’t understand.”
While the single mom was mocked early on for wearing off-the-rack suits, Marcia admits that L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti did help her out in that department.
“Behind the scenes, very quietly, he got suits donated to me that were much nicer than the ones I had. The suits were a quality I could never even have dreamed of, let alone buy. [Garcetti] was the only person who really stood up to help me out with that,” Clark said about the public attacks on her looks. The jury consultant said to wear pastels and talk softly. Thanks, dude. That’s very helpful. Wear a pinafore.”
In a separate interview with People, Clark revealed she was criticized in the press for her failed marriages, parenting style, and fashion sense, and she was given a lot of unsolicited advice.
“People would try to give me advice like, ‘You shouldn’t come across tough. Wear pastels. Talk softer.’ I thought, ‘So I’m going to present that I’m someone else? Then I’m some cream puff who can’t take the heat.’ There was no winning this.”
While Marcia Clark said she can’t stand watching her ’90s self on TV, she does love watching Sarah Paulson play her on the FX series. Marcia called Paulson “a genius,” and she praised the FX miniseries as a “very good” show.
The People v. O.J. Simpson airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
Watch the video below for more on how Marcia Clark was scrutinized during the O.J. Simpson trial.
[Photo by Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images]