So Long, Swoosh: Bidding Farewell to Callista Gingrich’s Famous Bob

2 minute read

In a Republican primary season that saw changing frontrunners, surprise defections and shifting poll numbers, there was one constant the public could count on: Callista Gingrich’s perfectly-coiffed, platinum blond bob, with its signature swoop to the left. The interest in her hair was also constant—a pollster for the Gingrich campaign told the New York Times that the candidate’s wife was asked about the look “at every stop” on the campaign trail.

The interest is predictable at this point, as politicians and their spouses have come under increased scrutiny for their hair choices in recent years. From Hillary Clinton’s ponytails and headbands to Michelle Obama’s pinned back updo for a 2009 event, every departure from a public figure’s normal hairstyle creates a media stir. Which is why Gingrich’s consistency was so remarkable.

George Ozturk of Washington’s George Salon at the Four Seasons, which Callista Gingrich used to frequent, describes her hairstyle as an updated 1970s bob. “Only in this country would a potential president’s wife’s hairstyle get so much attention,” says Ozturk, who has styled Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and King Abdullah II of Jordan, among others. “But it has become so well-known that to change it now would be a big mistake for Mrs. Gingrich.”

Paul Ramadan, a hairstylist at Washington’s Nantucket Hair Salon who previously worked with former Second Lady Lynn Cheney, says that, in general, women tend to get picked on more than their male counterparts for their beauty and sartorial choices. “Callista’s hairstyle is not typical—it could be a little more contemporary, but I think this is how she likes it,” Ramadan says of the heightened awareness of the look. “It’s a nice bob, but Mrs. Cheney and Mrs. [Laura] Bush just blended in more.”

With Newt Gingrich leaving the presidential race, LightBox looks back on Callista Gingrich’s now-famous Swoosh.

More photos: Newt Gingrich’s Life in Pictures

January 29, 2012. Callista Gingrich during a rally at The Villages, Fla. Ricardo Cases for TIME
January 9, 2012. Callista Gingrich arrives for a meeting with employees at BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire.Christopher Morris—VII for TIME
January 23, 2012. Callista Gingrich appears on stage with her husband, Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as he speaks to a crowd at a campaign stop at The River at Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, Fla.Rod Lamkey Jr—Washington Times/Landov
January 31, 2012. Callista Gingrich steps off the campaign bus as she and her husband visit a polling place at First Baptist Church of Windermere in Orlando, Fla. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
January 28, 2012.Ricardo Cases for TIME
January 30, 2012. Callista Gingrich listens to her husband speak at a campaign rally with supporters at the Tampa Jet Center in Tampa, Fla.Jim Lo Scalzo—EPA
January 31, 2012. Callista Gingrich waits backstage before her husband delivers his concession speech after losing the hotly-contested state of Florida to rival Mitt Romney at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. Jim Lo Scalzo—EPA
December 30, 2011. Callista Gingrich, wife of Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich attends a campaign event with her husband in Des Moines, Iowa.Eric Thayer
January 21, 2012. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and wife Callista leave a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Anderson, S.C., on the state's Primary Day. Gingrich won the Primary. Peter van Agtmael—Magnum for TIME
December 19, 2011. Callista Gingrich watches as her husband Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during a town hall meeting held in Haiwatha, Iowa.Jonathan Gibby—ZUMA PRESS
December 31, 2011. Callista Gingrich at Tish's Restaurant in Council Bluffs, IA. Brendan Hoffman—Prime for TIME
February 14, 2012. Callista Gingrich meets with Republican supporters at a Smashburger restaurant, in San Diego.Gregory Bull—AP

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