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Quirky Curls
Pictured above, this trope (left) and a completely different curl trope (right).

Characters with elegant Regal Ringlets are refined and high class, but characters with tightly coiled, all over the place curls tend to be the opposite. Where ringlets are large, sleek coils that look like they were made with a huge curling iron, Quirky Curls tend to be rendered as zig-zagging kinks which stick out all over the place, much tighter than their more elegant counterpart and are prone to frizzing.

This type of curly hair, especially in girls, represents non-conformity or high energy. These characters are the type to march to the beat of their own drum, sometimes on purpose, other times because they simply feel they don't fit in. They may be quirky and fun, rebelling against expectations, or just eccentric or different. There also seems to be a correlation with this type of hair and being nerdy or intelligent, which contrasts popular girls having long straight hair, and too add to their 'differentness' is not uncommon for characters with Quirky Curls to also have glasses or freckles. If in a fantasy work, if a character has very tight zigzaggy curls they may have lightning or fire powers, or if they have softer waves, they may have water magic.

They may try everything they can to get sleek, straight hair, possibly representing a desire to fit in or be popular. Often there will be a scene where they try to tame their wildly curly hair but as soon as they have it smoothed down or pinned into a Prim and Proper Bun it poofs up again.

Compare Messy Hair. When a character only has one weird curl, it's probably an Ahoge. Contrast Regal Ringlets, Ojou Ringlets, Mega Twintails. This hairstyle was one of the defining styles of the eighties.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Dorian for From Eroica with Love. Energetic, loud, openly Camp Gay aristocrat and Super-thief who steals for the love of the hunt/art rather than monetary gain and likes tweaking the nose of a certain NATO agent who would happily strangle him given the chance. His quirks regularly get him into trouble, since he likes to try things just to see if they can be done (stealing the Pope, anyone?).

Comic Books

Film
  • Amanda Peet's character from The Whole Nine Yards. Talks about her assignment to kill Oz while he's in the room. And that's just the beginning of her Crazy Awesome.
  • Mia from The Princess Diaries has naturally curly hair and at the beginning of the film she is gawky, not very popular and very much quirky, as it her mother who has wavy hair and is an artist. When she finds out she is a princess, she has to have her hair straightened to look acceptable as a princess.
  • In Like Water for Chocolate Gertrudis is the only one of the three sisters with curly hair. Her character-defining moment is when she runs into the desert and rides away on horseback with a Mexican revolutionary. A few years later, we find that she married the man and is now a general in the revolutionary army.

Literature
  • Tris from Circle of Magic, has wildly curly hair which is always frizzing. She's also a Deadpan Snarker, Bookworm and loner who doesn't fit in, and has extreme abilities in weather magic, including lightning. In fact, her hair tends to either trap or produce lightning. When her abilities as a mage advance, she actually begins to use her hair to store her magic in tight, carefully wound braids.
  • The unnamed narrator of the children's book I Like Myself. Might make a good trope image, actually.
  • Susan Sto Helit, granddaughter-by-adoption of the Discworld incarnation of Death, has hair like this in her first couple of appearances; after that, her hair seems to settle down, although it remains self-styling. Her hair seems to rebel in proportion to how much effort she puts into being normal; in Soul Music she makes the biggest deal about it, and that's the book where she attempts to braid her hair and it always manages to unravel itself. (Although the braids could simply be to conform to her school's dress code, rather than a reflection of her personal preferences.)
  • Hermione Granger has the 'nerdy girl frizz' version of these curls, including the classic scene where she straightens them out and transforms into a beauty (once, for a dance, and it took hours and a lot of magical hair-care potions and we never see her do it again).
    • In the movies, we don't need to, as Emma Watson has naturally straight hair. Which meant it took hours and a lot of magical hair-care potions to frizz it out originally.
  • Skylar St. Clair in Gives Light. It's one of his defining characteristics.

Live-Action TV
  • Maeby from Arrested Development.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Fourth Doctor is a clear male example.
    • In a different way, so is the Sixth Doctor
    • River Song, a rebellious, Crazy Awesome sociopath.
    • Paul McGann, who played the very Cloudcuckoolanderish Eighth Doctor, got some bright ideas about buzzing his near-shoulder-length curls off between the audition and filming. So they made him wear a wig (which gets obviously frizzier throughout the Made-for-TV Movie). He once stated in an interview that hair generally seems to be an important part of playing the Doctor.
  • Blaine from Glee shellacks his hair down with a ton of hairgel, but when he's finally persuaded to go without in public, he's got these curls. They frighten Brittany. Appropriately enough, he's got all the quirky and highly energetic traits that go with this trope, but spends a lot of time trying to act more sober and grown up than he really is.
  • Lizzi in Greek. As part of her makeover in her last episode (to break her out of being just a Plucky Office Girl being stepped on by the other Nationals, particularly Tegan), Casey and Ashleigh got rid of the frizz and gave her a more professional, dead straight haired look.
  • By extension (same actress), Phoebe in Beakman's World.
  • Dr. Cox from Scrubs has loads of thick curly hair whose length tends to vary greatly over the course of each season.
  • Cassie from Skins, who is the resident Cloudcuckoolander, although averted with Michelle who also has curly hair.
    • Cassie's hair isn't particularly curly. More just unbrushed. Sometimes she styles it wavy.
  • Felicity: Pretty much the reason the show existed.
  • Dave Starsky's exuberant mop of dark '70s style curls in Starsky & Hutch, matching his irrepressibly cheerful, enthusiastic, sometimes-ditzy personality. In one episode he teases them out to be even quirkier than usual when he goes undercover as a patient at a mental hospital.

Newspaper Comics
  • Curly from B.C. is a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Little Orphan Annie, a funny and lively Genki Girl.
  • Peanuts: Freida has Naturally Curly Hair and, as originally presented, fancies herself quite the conversationalist. She got Flanderized into only being conversational about her naturally curly hair though.

Video Games
  • Takatsuki Yayoi from The Idolmaster, an energetic and hardworking Cheerful Child. Her hair is usually rendered as wavy rather than extremely curly in the game and anime adaptation due to the difficulty of properly animating curly hair, but in illustrations it's more clearly curly.
  • The heroine in Sword of Mana.

Visual Novels

Webcomics
  • Catalina Bobcat, the little boisterous gingery closet-lesbian girl from El Goonish Shive. It was revealed that she deliberately styles her hair that way, and it is naturally flat. Also has freckles.
  • Angelica, the ditzy Russian strange girl from Bloody Urban, has very thick, curly, bright orange hair.
  • Pato, the Deadpan Snarker from M9 Girls!, has very thick, brown curls.

Western Animation
  • Princess Merida from Brave who has very curly red hair and doesn't fit with her mother's expectations of how a princess should act.
  • From The Magic School Bus, Miss Frizzle has extremely curly hair. She's also incredibly weird.
  • Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an extremely hyper and high energy Genki Girl, and the only member of the Mane Six with this kind of curly hair. She apparently maintains it by sheer exuberance: in a flashback in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", she had straight hair as a filly before she learned how to smile and bring cheer to others, in "Party of One" her hair goes back to being straight when she convinces herself her friends don't want to hang out with her anymore, and in "The Best Night Ever" she gets her hair straightened, only for it to quickly poof back to its usual curly mess.
  • Recess: Miss Grotke, the Genki Girl Hippie Teacher.
  • In Winx Club,of the three Trix witches, Icy and Darcy have long straight hair while Stormy has a cloud of kinked curls. Guess which one is the spitfire. Guess which one has the storm powers.

Real Life
  • Carrot Top is a Real Life example.
  • Rebekah Brooks (of the Rupert Murdoch scandal) is a Real Life Example. Some of the coverage of her smacks of body-policing.
  • This is ingrained enough that many naturally curly-haired actors and actresses get type casted into the roles the trope is designed for. David Krumholtz springs immediately to mind.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic kept his frizz even when he ditched his glasses and mustache.


Prim and Proper BunHair TropesRapid Hair Growth
Peek-a-BangsExpository HairstylesSamurai Ponytail
Western AnimationImageSource/Western AnimationRoad Sign Reversal

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