If you've been away from your computer for the past few days, you might not have noticed my Epic Baby Hair Contest blowing up over the weekend.
Not only did people catch on to the contest when it was already over (it was featured on the Daily Mail, MSN Now, Yahoo, Buzzfeed and my favorite *nerd alert!*, as a question on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me"), but the whole wig debate was reopened. Sheesh!
This was especially annoying for the winner's mom, who thought the issue was resolved after she provided proof of her daughter's "hairthenticity" over two weeks ago.
Annette's mom (aka Layla's mom) (aka a woman named Sohaila) emailed me after the story spread to MSN.com on Saturday. In addition to featuring several contestants from the contest, MSN deemed Annette's photo "a scandal" and asked people once again to debate the wig accusations in the comments.
I don't know if you know this, but commenters on big news-type sites are DERANGED. I suspect they are all forty-year-old men still living in their mothers' basements who only come out to replenish their Doritos and welcome their Magic the Gathering friends in the front door. Reading the comments under something like the MSN article is like eavesdropping on a bunch of internet trolls at a party.
Once on HuffPo, someone commented that Mazzy was psychotic and I should be in jail and then I pretty much ignored commenters besides my own after that.
But to the uninitiated, it can be a bit brutal.
Unfortunately, the comments on MSN overwhelmingly believed Layla was wearing a wig, that her mom was a cheat and they should both have the title stripped.
EPIC BABY HAIR GATE 2013!
Sohaila was rightfully displeased at the extra coverage, so I did the only thing I could to help her out— offer the woman who won my Epic Baby Hair contest fair and square an interview to tell her side.
Sohaila, who is from Morroco but currently lives in England, took a little bit of time to answer some questions and clear her name once and for all.
ME: How did you find out about the contest?
ANNETTE'S MOM: My sister saw an article in the Daily Mail and sent me the link because she thinks Layla's hair is crazy.
ME: How did you feel when people started saying Layla was wearing a wig?
AM: I completely forgot I entered the contest until you messaged me on Instagram asking me if my daughter's hair was real. I had no idea what was going on over on the Facebook page. I thought the Goldfish was really cute, so I wouldn't have been a sore loser. I was only upset because people were saying they wouldn't vote for Layla because they didn't believe her hair was real. But once everyone believed it, I thought the whole thing was funny. It's pretty ridiculous people would think I'd put a wig on my baby just to win an epic baby hair contest!
ME: After all the controversy, did you ever think she'd end up winning?
AM: When she made it to the final, there was a lot of good competition. I thought the Lollipop Guild would win because he was really funny. So it was a big surprise when I found out Layla won.
ME: How did you feel about the coverage after the contest was over?
AM: The Daily Mail article was very exaggerated on my behalf. They made me out to be really angry when I wasn't. Then it was frustrating to have the wig question come up again. Some comments were hurtful calling me a bad mother because I cared about myself and put my baby in a wig. Seriously?!
ME: What's the most outrageous comment someone has made about the contest?
AM: The winner didn't deserve to win because she's a fraud.
ME: Ok. So explain to everyone what exactly is happening with Layla's hair in the picture. Did you brush out the curls? Tease it in any way?
AM: Previously that day, her hair had been tied up. But she pulled it out so I brushed it back so I could tie it up again. And thats what it looked like. Her hair texture is usually tight curls but that's what happens when I brush it out and back. Her hair needs no teasing!
ME: Did you have hair similar to your daughter when you were younger?
AM: I had a more tamed version and so did my husband, so I think when our genes were put together BAM epic baby hair was made!
ME: How much of a pain is it to wash and brush? Have you ever had any epic hair brushing battles?
AM: I have to wash it everyday without doubt because she gets really sweaty. I use adult hair conditioner on her so its manageable. If she's tired or cranky, I do have to chase her with a hair brush in my hand.
ME: If you had to do it all over again, would you still enter your daughter in the contest?
AM: Yes, but with proof right from the beginning!
ME: If you could make one final comment to anyone accusing you of putting a wig on Layla, what would it be?
AM: Shut up already!Hear that? Let's put this "coif kerfuffle" to bed.