“Who am I?” is a question asked in various forms by people of all ages and cultures. Kriss Drass (1986), a researcher on gender identity, states that “the self can be conceptualized as a collection of identities organized into a hierarchy of salience or importance to the individual” (pg. 295). In answering the above question, the asker must determine not only which identities to internalize, but also what level of importance each identity holds. Victoria Bergvall (1999) writes about three aspects of identity: 1) the innate; 2) the achieved; and 3) the ascribed, (pg. 274). Answering “Who am I?” includes making the choice of whether to accept or reject innate, achieved, and ascribed identities. Even though the asker may not consciously know the answer, linguistic performance can hold the key to finding out a speaker’s identity.
When we speak, we tell people who we are and what groups we identify with. Teun A. Van Dijk (1997) explains, “At all levels of discourse, we thus find the ‘traces’ of a context in which the social properties of the participants play a fundamental role, such as their gender, class, ethnicity, age, origin, position or other forms of group membership” (pg. 20). Drass (1986) argues for a more purposeful affiliation, stating that “in interaction, individuals are “motivated” to enact behaviors that correspond in meaning with their identities” (pg. 295). Jessica Mange et al (2009) mimic this statement with more recent research, saying “lexical markers constitute an implicit manner for speakers to mark their discourse and a way for receivers to infer what groups the speakers belongs to (sic)” (pg. 365). The idea that group membership impacts language, and vice versa, is the basis for the concept Community of Practice (CofP). Holmes and Meyerhoff (1999) cite Lave and Wenger’s description of CofP as “a means of examining one natural method of learning, which, in many respects, resembles an apprenticeship” (pg. 174). In other words, in order to be a member of a particular CofP, a person must learn and exhibit a specific set or subset of identity features. Over the following pages I will discuss how aspects of identity are maintained and constructed in a youtube.com video. In particular, I will discuss how innate and achieved identities interact in the conversation to maintain or construct the speakers’ overall identities.
Linguists and Anthropologists have long proclaimed the importance of natural speech for research. While the video I chose to analyze is an example of a fairly informal setting, both participants are aware of the camera in the room, as is evidenced by 1) the speakers’ occasional glances towards the viewer and 2) one speaker’s reference to the other speaker in the third person despite no one else being visible in the room. Despite their knowledge of the camera, the video I chose contains fairly natural language. Some facts which support this statement include the presence of interruptions, laughter, backchanneling, and non-verbal language, all markers of informal natural speech.
Malinowski (1936), in his research in the Trobriand Islands, concluded that “the meaning of any single word is to a very high degree dependent on its context” (pg. 306). Although I will not delve into the “shades and details of meaning” Malinowski says are required for a more complete understanding of meaning (pg. 305), I will preface the following discussion with a description of the context of the conversation represented in the transcript. The video was posted on youtube.com in April 2010. The two participants, Kellie, the hairdresser, and Jamie, the customer, both appear to be Caucasian females in their mid-twenties. Kellie’s dress, jewelry, hair, and makeup indicate that she is somewhat affluent. Jamie’s clothing appears simpler. She is wearing a v-neck shirt with decorative buttons lining the vee; however, she also has makeup and expensive-looking hair. Both have a Southern accent, although Kellie’s is somewhat more pronounced. As the conversation progresses, it becomes clear that both women have family in the South (lines 57-61). Over the duration of the video Kellie is alternately spraying and combing through Jamie’s hair in preparation for cutting it. The session takes place in a room in a house, rather than in a salon. Throughout the video both speakers look at each other via a mirror that is off screen. The conversation prior to the beginning of the transcript indicates that the purpose of the session and the video is as a youtube.com post.
Although gender, age, ethnicity, and class are visually represented in the video, the following pages will provide evidence for the speakers’ identities based on linguistic clues from the transcript. Then I will give possible locations where the conversation takes place and provide linguistic evidence. I will conclude with an analysis of other lexical items present in the transcript which provide insight into the speakers’ schemata, cultural models, and hegemonies. This final set of topics relates to the subject of identity, although they can also indicate groups the speakers do not identify with.
As stated above, the sex of the speakers is apparent in the video; however, according to Bergvall (1999), most linguists have accepted gender as “a social construct, operating in a complex and contested association with the biological construct of sex” (pg. 274). This means that individuals can shape and mold their gender identity in relation to their biological sex, and one way to accomplish this is through speech. Drass (1986) states, “it is reasonable to expect that individuals will use conversational strategies that correspond in meaning with their gender identities, regardless of their sex” (italics in original) (pg. 296).
Much recent research has delved into the aspect of gendered language. Jennifer Coates (1993) advises that “gender may be better described in terms of a continuum or continua” (pg. 4). The significance of this is that gender identity should not be considered either “masculine” or “feminine” as this simple dichotomy can skew reality. Instead, gender identity should be seen as more/less masculine and more/less feminine. Although research into gender and language differences have yielded mixed results, several researchers have made generalizations for “male” and “female” language use.
Eckert and McConnell-Ginet (1999) conclude that there is an “intersection between interest, activity, and viewpoint that underlies a CofP; and one can assume that the practice that unites these communities includes not only ways of talking, but also activities, dress…, concerns, and other topics of talk” (pg. 191). These are especially salient in the subject of gender. Research done by Kerstin Nordenstam (1992) indicates that conversations between two females show “an average of 8.2 words per utterance” (pg. 77). After analyzing my transcript and accounting for non-words (including um and false starts), the average utterance length of the two speakers came out to approximately 8.7 words for Jamie and 10.2 words for Kellie. While Jamie’s average utterance length falls close to Nordenstam’s average for women, Kellie’s is closer to the male number. Nordenstam’s (1992) research encountered this phenomenon as well. The explanation she provided is that “there is a general tendency for the people who have been allotted the recording task to talk more than the others. It gives them a greater right to the floor” (Nordenstam, 1992, pg. 79). Applying this to my results of average utterance length, it is obvious from the beginning of the video that Kellie is the one making the video, not Jamie. Thus, Kellie has “been allotted” the task of recording; therefore, she claims more rights to speak, which shows by her longer average utterances.
Nordenstam (1992) states that, in her study, “women talk to each other about womanly things – children and personal relations” (pg. 80). In the transcript, Kellie and Jamie talk about Jamie’s relationship with her hairdresser (lines 3-9 and 43-50), the family background of both speakers (lines 55-108), Jamie’s relationship with her extended Creole family (lines 76-80), Kellie’s sister (lines 60-61), and Jamie’s mother (lines 125-129). This list of topics not only supports Nordenstam’s research, it also shows gender identification of the speakers.
Backchanneling is another indicator of gender. According to Tottie, as quoted in Kjellmer (2009), “backchannels are the sounds (and gestures) made in conversation by the current non-speaker, which grease the wheels of conversation but constitute no claim to take over the turn” (pg. 83). Carter and McCarthy, also cited in Kjellmer (2009), mirror this definition, adding that backchanneling serves to “acknowledge the incoming talk and react to it” (pg. 83). Vocalizations such as yeah, uh-huh, and oh, as well as nods and laughter, are all included as instances of backchanneling. Some instances of backchanneling in the transcript that serve as examples of wheel-greasing appear in lines 20, 43, and 61. Other occurrences of backchanneling seem to be for the purpose given by Carter and McCarthy: reaction to another speaker’s utterance. Examples of this appear in lines 36, 101, and 133. The first two are verbal reactions and the third is laughter. According to Kjellmer’s (2009) research, “women are relatively more likely to add a backchannel after a completed turn…than they are in the middle of a speaker’s turn” (pg. 89). This also bears out in the transcript. Of the approximately 31 instances of backchanneling, 17 occur at or near a turn boundary, indicating a more “feminine” identity.
Nordenstam (1992) states that “Women’s talk during the other speaker’s turn is a normal part of relaxed informal conversation between equals. Women also address the talker, frequently interpolate remarks, and offer enthusiastic comments during the other speaker’s turn” (pg. 91). Interpolation, in this case a spoken insertion, appears in lines 58-80 of the text. Line 58 marks the divergence from the topic of conversation from Jamie’s background to Creoles and Louisiana. The topic of Jamie’s background is picked up again in line 80. Enthusiastic comments occur in several places, including lines 6 and 16, where Kellie reacts to Jamie’s statements, and lines 42 and 101, where Kellie voices her sympathy for Jamie’s situation. All the above instances point to the speakers’ gender identity as female.
While the age of the speakers cannot be determined with complete accuracy, an approximate range can be found based on lexical items from the transcript. The word like can act as a marker for age identification. According to Suzanne Romaine and Deborah Lange (1991), like can serve as a preposition, conjunction, suffix, discourse marker, or quotative. The latter two are most salient for a discussion of age marking in discourse. Discourse markers, defined as “particles which are used to focus on or organize discourse structure,” are “sequentially dependant elements which bracket units of talk and which are independent of sentential structure” (Romaine and Lange, 1991, pg. 245-46). An example of like as a discourse marker occurs in line 33 of the transcript when Kellie says “So, like, it d- drank up all the color, then.” In this utterance, like serves no grammatical function; that is, it is not considered part of the sentence. Instead, the speaker uses it to set off the following unit of speech.
The second use of like relevant to age is as a quotative. Reported speech comes in three forms: direct, indirect, and constructed. Direct speech allows the person quoting to take the role of the original speaker. With indirect speech, “speakers normally use themselves as the spatiotemporal point of reference” (Romaine and Lange, 1991, pg. 229). This means that speakers using indirect quotes will change deictic elements of the utterance to fit the situation (e.g. “I’ll be there tomorrow” might become “John said he would be here today”). The third type of reported speech, constructed, is a bit more complicated. Romaine and Lange (1991) state that “in some cases, utterances are reported as quotations of a dialogue that either has not occurred or is never intended to occur” (pg. 230). What the authors mean by this is that like can signal to the listener that what is about to be said may not be a direct quote. For example, in line 45 Kellie precedes her quote of the hairdresser who was “cheated” on with like, saying “that’s what happens when you cheat on me.” However, it is obvious from her utterance in lines 22-23 that she was not present when the hairdresser allegedly uttered those words (if she had been there she would have said so). Therefore, Kellie is using like to indicate that the quote may never have happened exactly as she says.
Constructed dialogue takes another form as well. According to Romaine and Lange (1991), like can occur as a precursor to a quote of actual speech, but often it appears as a means of “reporting and/or modulating the speaker’s feelings, which may or may not have been explicitly lexicalized at the time of the event” (pg. 238). In other words, like, in conjunction with be (i.e. be + like), acts as a verb similar to say, but with different connotations. An example of this function occurs in line 41 of the transcript where Jamie says “I was like, “Oh my gosh!”” While it is unclear whether these words were spoken, this phrase of exclamation is commonly used to report feelings or reactions rather than actual speech. In this case, Jamie uses like to indicate that the following quote refers to her feelings when she looks in the mirror and sees her hair.
In the above examples, the speakers’ use of like allows them to lexicalize their membership in a particular CofP, one related to age. Romaine and Lange (1991), drawing from recordings and observations of teenagers and adults, state that “the use of like tends to occur in the speech of those under 30″ (pg. 236). In the transcript, Jamie uses like approximately 8 times. After accounting for the instances where like is used in a legitimate grammatical way (e.g. “it looked like Rainbow Brite”), Jamie’s use drops to six. I conclude from this that Jamie is still within the range given by Romaine and Lange. This puts her age under 30 years old.
In lines 3-4 Jamie mentions that she went to a new salon because she works. We can infer from her statement that Jamie works normal business hours (i.e. 9am-5pm) at a full-time job; otherwise she would be able to see her usual hairdresser, who also likely works normal business hours. Given the laws regarding legal working age for full-time employment, Jamie must be at least 16 years old.
In order to further round down Jamie’s age, I looked at references she made to pop culture. One of these occurs in line 126 when Jamie refers to her mother’s “Madonna stages.” A second appears in line 37 with a reference to Rainbow Brite, a cartoon character from a television show that aired in the mid-eighties. Although I attempted to use these two references to pinpoint a more exact age range for Jamie, the presence of too many variables (e.g. age of Jamie’s mother during her “Madonna stages,” age Jamie’s mother gave birth to her) prevented me from doing so; however, the ranges I established from the pop culture references supported the current range of 16-30 years old.
Kellie also uses like in her speech, but more frequently. Her use tops out at 43, all but six of which serve as discourse markers or quotatives. My conclusion is that she falls well within the range given by Romaine and Lange. Other than like, Kellie used few age markers. One of the only others in the transcript occurs in lines 150-51 where Kellie says “I only go to the dentist like once every, like, five years, um, because I don’t like to.” The significance of this statement lies in the fact that Kellie chooses when to go to the dentist, rather than someone else (i.e. a parent/guardian) choosing for her. This indicates that she has reached an age where this is socially acceptable. Given the multiple references to places in the United States, it is safe to assume that the speakers live in America where the age of social and legal independence is 18. Therefore, Kellie’s age is between 18 and 30. No other markers were available to narrow this range.
Ethnic identity falls into both the innate and constructed categories. Innate ethnic identity consists of the speaker’s ancestry or heritage, while constructed ethnic identity includes, among other things, mannerisms, dress styles, or speech patterns a person adopts in order to be accepted into a particular ethnic CofP. In the transcript, both speakers claim European origins, including German (lines 82-3), Jewish (line 84), Irish (lines 92-3), and Black Dutch (line 91) ancestors.
The fact that both women claim several ethnic identities is significant when considered in conjunction with their living in the United States. The U.S. has long been known as “the melting pot.” This phrase refers to a process where immigrants coming to the U.S. become homogenized into the larger culture. A claim of multiple ethnicities is a claim that one’s ancestors succeeded at homogenization. While this may be more idealistic than realistic, there is a certain amount of pride involved in being part of the melting pot. This pride shows in lines 88-89 where Jamie calls herself a “mutt” and Kellie introduces herself as “Heinz 57,” a reference to the successful ketchup brand whose famous slogan was “57 varieties.”
Jamie additionally claims Creole descent. In a diachronic and synchronic study of attitudes toward Creoles in southern Louisiana, Sylvie Dubois and Megan Melançon (2000) found that “those who are fluent Creole French speakers now seem to be the repository of Louisiana Creole identity” (pg. 237). In other words, being Creole means knowing how to speak Creole French. Jamie’s statement in line 77 confirms this conclusion as she understands that her lack of French fluency prevents her from claiming full membership in the Creole community. Despite their origins in France, Creole people have lived in the U.S. since around 1678 (Dubois and Melançon, 2000, pg. 239). The prominence given to the Creole identity by Jamie (it is the first one she mentions in line 57) indicates that it has significant meaning for her. I suggest that, given Creole people’s longstanding presence in North America, Jamie is able to have a greater claim to the land, a sort of “I was here first” attitude.
Based on the ethnicities that Jamie (i.e. Creole, German, Jewish, and Irish) and Kellie (i.e. German, Irish, and Black Dutch) claim as innate, I conclude that both are White/Caucasian as this is a defining characteristic of a majority of the individuals in these ethnic groups. In addition, Jamie constructs/emphasizes her Creole identity despite the fact that she does not feel entirely accepted by this group.
One of the first indicators of class in the transcript occurs in lines 10-20. Jamie mentions that she paid $65 for a cut and color at a salon. The fact that she can afford the extravagance of a hair-coloring service indicates that she is within the middle class. Although prices for this service range widely, $65 falls in the low to moderate range, as evidenced by Kellie’s statement in line 14, which can be inferred to mean something like “that’s a pretty good cut for that price” based on its relation to the preceding sentence. As stated in a previous paragraph, Jamie works normal business hours and, presumably, is not in a financial position where she can afford to take time off to go to her usual hairdresser. Therefore, I draw the conclusion that Jamie can afford a lower-middle-class lifestyle, but not at her leisure. A clue to Kellie’s class appears in line 130 where she refers to her consistent use of “lots of makeup.” Her ability to afford so much makeup places Kellie within the middle class.
The dialogue exchange in lines 58-61 provides hints as to the speakers’ location during the video. Jamie mentions in a preceding line that she has Creole ancestry. Kellie, in trying to remember where Creoles are in the U.S., gives their location as “that’s, like, in the, um, Louisiana.” The significance of this statement lies in what she did not say. For example, she did not say “that’s here” or “that’s a few miles away” or “that’s just across the river.” Her reference to Louisiana indicates that her present location is not only outside Louisiana, but relatively distant. In comparison, Kellie says that she has “a sister in Beaumont that I go see.” Her use of the city name without the state indicates two possibilities: 1) Jamie is familiar with where Kellie’s sister lives so mentioning the state is unnecessary or 2) Kellie and Jamie are presently in the same state as Beaumont and Jamie will infer the correct state so its mention is unnecessary. Kellie’s use of the indefinite article “a” indicates that this is the first time she has mentioned her sister to Jamie, which reveals the first possibility to be incorrect. Therefore, Jamie and Kellie are in a state which contains a city named Beaumont. There are only four known locations in the U.S. by this name, one each in California, Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas.
Lines 130-32 provide an opportunity to further pinpoint the speakers’ location. Two concepts that can help are syntagm and Relevance Theory. Guy Cook (2001) states that one of the ways to create meaning is through syntagm, “in which signs create meaning by their relationships to the signs before or after them” (pg. 61). This concept can apply both intra- and inter-sententially. Relevance Theory, explored in depth by Sperber and Wilson (1995), explains that “a whole range of linguistically possible interpretations for any given utterance can be inferentially dismissed” when the speakers follow standards of truthfulness, informativeness, comprehensibility, and so on (pg. 13-14). I applied intersentential syntagm and Relevance Theory to analyze the aforementioned sequence of speech. The topic of conversation in line 130 is makeup. In line 132, Kellie begins by saying “I went to mac yesterday.” Relevance Theory allows the interlocutor to infer that Kellie, holding to a set of conversational standards, mentions her trip because it is relevant to the current topic. Furthermore, syntagm creates a link between the topic of makeup and the mention of a particular store. An internet search of “mac” and “makeup” found a major makeup company named M.A.C. The company’s Web site, maccosmetics.com, included a store location search capability. A search of Mississippi locations returned no results, which means the state does not have any M.A.C. stores. California, Kansas, and Texas are left as possibilities.
Kellie mentions in lines 60-62 that Beaumont also has “a lot of that Cajun and Creole there.” Wikipedia.com’s “Louisiana Creole People” entry lists regions of the U.S. with significant Creole populations, including East Texas and Los Angeles County, but nowhere in Kansas. Taking into account the speakers’ Southern accent, California can be removed from the list as well, leaving Texas as the location of the speakers.
Roger Fowler (1996), in a chapter entitled “Language and Experience,” writes that the world does not have a natural structure; rather, people create and learn artificial boundaries and concepts with language (pg. 15). These learned concepts often surface through the use of schemata. A schema, or “mental construct of taken-for-granted assumptions about how reality is ordered” (Widdowson, 2007, pg. 132), occurs in lines 3-9 of the transcript when Jamie refers to her decision to go to a different salon as an instance of cheating and Kellie supports Jamie’s self-accusation via her utterance “You cheater you” (line 9). Jennifer Bloomquist (2010) states that cheating falls under the cover term “dishonest acts” and that “the understanding of “dishonest” is one based on culturally determined ideas of morality and ethics” (sic) (pg. 1602). The absence of miscommunication and questioning indicates that both speakers share a schema related to the concept of cheating. Jamie’s intended meaning is similar to cheating in relationships, where one person “sees” another person while s/he is in a committed relationship, such as dating or marriage.
According to Bloomquist (2010), “there is one common definition of cheating: “achieving some goal by breaking the rules”” (pg. 1595). A prototypical act of cheating must meet the following criteria: 1) it must be a deliberate act, 2) the person doing the action must know the action is wrong, and 3) the action must be done with the intention to cause a particular result (Bloomquist, 2010, pg. 1597-98). While the presence of all three will make it easier to label an act as cheating, prototype theory allows one or many of the prototypical features to be absent and still allow a judgment of cheating. Bloomquist’s study found that belief of wrongdoing has more weight in judging an act as cheating, followed by intent and then action (pg. 1601). I suggest that it is the belief of wrongdoing that is causing Jamie and Kellie to consider Jamie’s act cheating. The main verbal indications that this is not a prototypical case occur in lines 3-4. Jamie’s reason for “cheating” is that she works at the same time as her hairdresser and is forced to go to someone else. This means that she did not “cheat” with malicious intent (e.g. to prevent her hairdresser from making money). Furthermore, Kellie’s feigned look of shock in line 6 indicates that she does not take Jamie’s self-accusation seriously.
A second schema present in the transcript mentioned in a previous paragraph relates to lines 3-4. Jamie states, “she only works Monday through Friday and, course, I work.” The interlocutor interprets the utterance of “works” and “work” to mean “work(s) normal business hours (9am-5pm) Monday through Friday.” If this schema had not been in place for both speakers, a miscommunication would have resulted, and no evidence for this exists in the transcript. Evidence for a miscommunication conclusion might include Kellie asking “Why didn’t you just go see her after you got off work?” This question would have resulted in Jamie outlining the schema, stated above, as it exists for her.
“One way to look at cultural models,” according to James Paul Gee (1999), “is as images or storylines or descriptions of simplified words in which prototypical events unfold” (pg. 59). Van Dijk (1997) elaborates on this by saying “when we want to say something, a model will serve as the starting point for the production of discourse” (pg. 18). A cultural model from the transcript occurs in line 21 where Jamie says, “I looked like a circus clown.” As a cultural model, the phrase “circus clown” calls forth a prototypical image of a silly-looking person with a painted face, ill-fitting colorful clothing, and multi-colored hair. The latter feature is the most relevant aspect of the image since the remark was made in regards to Jamie’s hair dye gone awry. Jamie elicits this model as a shortcut, “overlooking many of the complexities in the world in order to get on with the business of social action and interaction” (Gee, 1999, pg. 60). Using this model allows Jamie to get to her point faster and Kellie to quickly and easily understand the intended meaning without having to analyze alternate meanings.
Brown and Yule (1983) state that “sociologists and sociolinguists have been particularly concerned with the use of language to establish and maintain social relationships” (pg. 3). One way in which social relationships are established and maintained is through hegemony, defined by authority or dominance over a person or group. The transcript demonstrates several subtle instances of hegemony. Fairclough (1992) mentions at least three ways to analyze hegemonic statements. This section will look at two of these types and provide examples from the transcript.
The first type of analysis includes looking at “alternative wordings and their political and ideological significance” (Fairclough, 1992, pg. 77). Kellie introduces the topic of Jamie’s background in lines 55-56 by asking “where does your hair come from?” The ensuing conversation covers the ancestry of both speakers, with an emphasis on Jamie’s Creole ancestry. In lines 61-62, Kellie says “they’ve got a lot of that Cajun and Creole there.” Her use of the distal form that, as opposed to the proximal form this, gives the impression that Kellie is trying to remove herself as far as possible from Cajuns and Creoles.
The second type of analysis noted by Fairclough (1992) focuses on “word meaning, and particularly how the meanings of words come into contention within wider struggles” (pg. 77). In lines 114-15 Kellie tells Jamie, “You have to do, like, a great deal to your hair to make it look so good every day.” The relationships between the words in this utterance create the implication that Jamie’s hair does not look good naturally, that it has to be “fixed” every day. Furthermore, given that the previous topic of conversation relates to Jamie’s background, an additional relationship created is that Jamie’s hair results from her ancestry. Jamie’s hair is the segue for initiating the subject of background in the first place and then again in the transition in line 110 the comment about Jamie’s hair being coarse comes almost immediately before the negative statement about Jamie’s hair not looking good naturally.
This paper has discussed the concept of identity and how speech can reveal an individual’s innate, achieved, and ascribed identities by revealing group affiliations (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity, etc). Group membership, stated in the literature as Community of Practice, requires the individual to learn and perform certain behaviors (e.g. dress, speech, etc.) in order to determine membership status (e.g. full, partial, non). In relating these concepts and others to the video on youtube.com, I was able to determine the gender, age range, ethnicity, social class, and location of the two speakers using linguistic clues. The concluding pages focused on verbal representations of the speakers’ schemata, cultural models, and hegemonies and how these related to identity.
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Transcript – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5zfJKmdch0
Kellie: So how much do you pay, like, the salon that you go to? Cause I know you have a salon,
but, um, do you go to different ones or do you go to the same one?
Jamie: Uh, I usually go to the same place, but the lady, she only works Monday through Friday
and, course, I work. Uh, so I kinda cheated on her and I went somewhere
Kellie: (Mock shocked look.) Oh, (spraying hair with spray bottle)
Jamie: Yes. And…
Kellie: You cheater you.
Jamie: But the lady I usually go
Jamie: pay, like, sixty-five dollars for a cut, which – she’s amazing – but…
Kellie: That’s a pretty good cut.
Jamie: When I cheated…
Kellie: Oh, no.
Jamie: …it was a disaster. Yeah.
Kellie: (Picking up a comb from counter) Now, is this like a cut, or like a cut and, um, like, um, hair color…?
Jamie: They did a hair color (yeah) and a cut. The cut was ok, but the hair color was horrible.
I looked like a circus clown (chuckles).
Kellie: Uh-huh. Oh, man. (Puts down comb and picks up sprayer again) And I saw you like the day after (uh-huh) it happened, before you got it fixed.
Jamie: It was so bad.
Kellie: (Glances at camera) Oh my gosh. It was, like, red (yeah). (Glances at camera) Like a color red that I can’t even
Jamie: They were supposed to put, uh, uh, like a brown with a reddish color, low lights, and
blonde highlights; and they, um, actually, did, um, all over blonde (uh-huh) and then tried to
do the brown-red on top of it.
Kellie: On top of it?
Jamie: And it wasn’t a…
Kellie: So, like, it d- drank up all the color, then.
Kellie: It’s like sh-
Jamie: It wasn’t brown-red at all (Oh, man). It turned out Easter-pink, hot pink, red, blonde,
orange, yellow. And it was, it looked like Rainbow Brite, or something (laugh).
Kellie: I know that like everybody listening has a horror story (puts down sprayer and picks up comb and combs Jamie’s hair) of stuff that has happened to their hair.
Jamie: I looked in the mirror and I was about to cry.
I was like, “Oh my gosh!”
Kellie: Oh, you poor thing!
Jamie: And then (yeah) I had to call my hair lady and tell her. I had to say “I cheated on you.
Can you please fix my hair?”
Kellie: Oh, no! And she’s like “That’s what happens (wags finger) when you cheat on me.”
Jamie: She, well, she did give me a hard time, but she fixed it
the best she could
Kellie: Cause she knows you’re not gonna go anywhere else anymore (laughs).
Jamie: Yeah. She fixed it the best she could without it falling out. Um, so…
Kellie: Did your head like feel tender?
Jamie: Hu-uh (shakes head side to side).
Kellie: OK, that’s good, cause I was, like, trying to be real careful. And – your hair is thick.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s…
Kellie: And it, it’s got like – what is – what is your background? Like, where does your
hair come from? (laughs)
Jamie: (Laughs) I have, um, some Creole and…
Kellie: Creole. Now, that’s, like, in the, um, Louisiana, um…
Kellie: (Glances at camera) On um, uh… Now I know there’s a bunch in, in Beaumont. I have a sister in Beaumont (uh-huh) that I go see. And, and they, they’ve got a lot of that Cajun and
Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Call ’em Louisiana swamp rats (laughs).
Kellie: (Laughs) Louisiana swamp rats.
Jamie: That’s what they call ’em.
Kellie: Love it.
Jamie: They used to hunt swamp rats and eat ’em and…
Jamie: Yeah. They speak French (yeah) so I haven’t really met really any of my family there,
Kellie: Oh, really? Now is it, like, (finger quotes) “true French” or is it, like, you know,
Spanglish, you know, like, Spanish and English? Is it, like, French and English? Or
French and something else? Or is it just strictly French?
Kellie: (Looking at camera) Like, I’ve learned a lot from people; I love this.
Jamie: It’s sh – I’m not sure, really (laughs). That side of the family I really don’t, uh, know.
I guess they really don’t want nothin’ to do with us cause we, um, don’t speak French –
Kellie: Oooh. (inaudible)
Jamie: and we kinda, you know, are mixed
and different things.
Kellie: So, so what’s, like, the rest of it? Let’s see. You’ve got Creoole, and…
Kellie: German. (Excitedly) Hey I got some German, too.
Jamie: And Jewish.
Kellie: Jewish? No Jewish.
Jamie: Yeah. And I’m, I’m quite…
Kellie: I think I have a Jewish nose, though. (Poses for camera to show off nose)
Jamie: (Laughs) I’m quite the mutt. So you can call me, um…
Kellie: I’m Heinz 57. Nice to meet you mutt. (laughs)
Kellie: Yeah, I’ve got, like, Black Dutch, which is, like, the dark, dark hair, pale skin, dark
eyes (uh-huh). And I’ve got some Irish, and German, and Indian…
Jamie: Got Irish, too.
Kellie: Irish. Like, how much Irish?
Jamie: Let’s see (eyes looking up, thinking). My…
Kellie: Like, how’s your, did you check your attitude today? (Laughs)
Jamie: It’s my, my mom’s dad. Yeah, he’s Irish.
Kellie: Your mom’s dad’s Irish. Was it, like, flaming Irish hair?
Jamie: Like, red hair, green eyes… And he’s really, really, really mean. He was mean. He
Jamie: …everybody said he had evil in his blood.
Kellie: Oh, really?
Jamie: Cause he was just always so mean, but I (inaudible)
Kellie: Oh, he was the Irish one?
Kellie: (Sarcastic tone, rolling eyes) Well, we got some Irish in my family. I call it attitude. I
try to lighten it up a little. It’s not mean, it’s just attitude. (Laughs)
Jamie: (Laughs) Yeah…
Kellie: Your hair is, like, curling as I’m doing this. I thought I was going to be able to comb
straight through this. (Looking at camera, Jamie notices and also looks at camera briefly) This might be one whole video of me combing through your hair.
Jamie: (laughs) I have really coarse hair.
Kellie: It is. It’s, like, so much thicker than it looks. You have to do, like, a great deal to your
hair to make it look so good every day.
Kellie: (Looking at the camera) Jamie’s hair looks good like all the time. She’s like this
hair guru. You should have your own channel (Jamie laughs). You’re like this hair guru, and she does makeup, and, and all that, and… And, um, Jamie was in entertainment one time, so
she’s, uh, she kinda knows the business a little, and… Did you have to – did you teach
yourself makeup, or, like, did you always just know how to do this, cause you… I
mean, I see a lot of, a lot of women, they are, are so pretty, but they don’t know what to
do with what they’ve got. (Looking at camera) Jamie knows what to do with what
Jamie: Well, my mom, she, you know, showed me growing up on how to do makeup and stuff
like that. She’s very, um, into Madonna stages, like, um, the poofy hair, the, the
spandex with the cowboy boots and the cutoff jean shorts…
Kellie: That’s me.
Jamie: …and the hair scrunched up on the side and lots of makeup (Laughs).
Kellie: Yes, lots of makeup. I never got over that stage. You can tell… (both laugh)
Kellie: I went to M.A.C. yesterday… Oh, my gosh. I swear, I’m never going to get your hair combed out (Jamie laughs). Does it ever comb?
Jamie: Uh-huh (Laughs).
Kellie: Like how long does it take you to comb your hair?
Jamie: I, I’m just probly a lot rougher with it.
Kellie: Oh, yeah.
Jamie: I’m just like…
Kellie: Well, I’m so afraid I’m gonna hurt your hair, rip it outta your head, cause like, I’m like
so tender that way.
Jamie: I’m not. I just do it
Kellie: (laughs) I can tell. So I’ve got two combs and I’m not sure which comb – this
is like the comb-out comb, and (sigh)… Are you sure that’s not hurting?
Jamie: It’s not.
Kellie: Cause I would like be hitting someone in the nose if they were combing my hair this
way. Just bop ’em like that (both laugh) (Kellie pretends to be punching someone in the face
behind her) – “stop it.” But, then again, that’s why I do my own hair. An, and, uh, I
don’t know if you see my videos on, like, cleaning your teeth (Jamie purses lips and runs tongue across her teeth) and stuff like that, um, but I use these products on my teeth so there’s no tartar and no plaque on, on my teeth. I only go to the dentist like (looking at camera) once every, like, five years, um, because I don’t like to. (Scared look on face) I don’t like going to the dentist. So I don’t have any cavities, at all, I take really good care of my teeth. And, um, so I don’t like anybody touching my hair, or my teeth, or anything (both laugh).