This post was first published in The Times of Israel.
Atsuko Tanaka doesn’t fit the standard “sheitel lady” profile. Nonetheless, many discriminating, well-to-do ultra-Orthodox Jewish women trust her to take care of their $5,000-plus wigs.
The Japanese-American Tanaka may not know more than a few words of Yiddish, but what she does know is how to expertly style an exorbitantly expensive hairpiece. Consequently, Haredi women (or sometimes just their wigs, delivered by limousine) have been flocking to her chair at the tony Julien Farel Salon on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
“They call me the Japanese sheitel macher,” Tanaka, 39, told a New York Times reporter who came to watch her in action.
Tanaka, who has styled the hair of celebrities and royalty, is used to pressure. But these super-expensive wigs create stress on a whole different level. “The hardest part is that you cannot mess up — the hair will not grow back,” remarked Tanaka “You make one mistake, and it’s ruined.”
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.