Studio 5’s Brooke Walker explains.
We’ve come to expect a certain stereotype when it comes to lawyers…both male and female alike, conservative is the name of game. Black suit, white collar, stiff style—but Rose Blakelock breaks that mold with flying colors.
“If they want a traditional lawyer, they are going to be unhappy,” she laughs.
Rose has purple hair. Sometimes it’s pink, blue, and even green. At Christmastime she tried a red green combo. “I looked like a poinsettia,” she recalls.
“I tried orange during hunting season – I thought that was kind of funny,” Rose said. “I never got shot, so I guess it worked pretty well.”
Her daring hairdo got off on a subtle start. While getting her haircut a few years ago, she noticed the young person next to her had all sorts of color worked in through their hair. Rose thought, “Why not?”
“I started with just a little streak and I went to court and everybody said ‘You can’t have a color streak – that would be inappropriate.’ And then I determined I would have all the color that I wanted,” Rose said.
Judges warned it might scare off clients, but it did the opposite. The calls came pouring in.
“I suppose if I was really bad at what I did, it would work the opposite,” Rose shrugs. “But I find many of my clients don’t even know my name when they step into my office – but they know what I look like.”
“Clients want protection,” Rose explains. “They want somebody to stand in front of them, like shield and they figured if I had the nerve enough to do that I would be a good lawyer. It’s not a logical jump, necessarily, but that’s what they think.”
Former 4th District Judge Anthony Schofield remembers the first time he noticed Rose’s unique hairstyle.
“I was in the middle of sentencing a women to prison,” he recalls, “and I looked back and saw this bright purple hair and I thought, ‘I’m going to smirk.'”
Schofield says on two different occasions Utah County judges met to discuss if such an appearance was appropriate for the courtroom setting.
“We ultimately concluded it wasn’t our business and left it alone and I think all of the judges in Utah Country have long since quit worrying about her hair color,” he smiles.
In 2002, Rose lost that colorful hair to cancer. The news hit hard, but something else the doctor had to say had an even stronger impact.
“A little tear started running down my check and the doctor asked ‘What are you fussing about?” Rose remembers. “I said, well I’m kind of sad. She told me something I will never forget. She said, ‘Today is the luckiest day of your life. You had it yesterday, you’ve had it for awhile, but today is the day you know what to do about it.’
Rose said from that moment on, she decided to always view her problems as just that – lucky.
“I think you have to look at any challenge like that. It gives you an opportunity to overcome something,” Rose explains. “And that’s how I look at it.”
During the difficult months ahead, Rose continued to live…and to fight.
“I would do chemo in the morning and court in the afternoon. If I got sick, I took my bucket with me,” Rose said. “The only way to get over something, to win – is to fight.”
It was an experience that changed the way Rose views life and her hair.
What was once an act of defiance is now a sign of spirit.
“I think it really symbolizes love of life. I’m trying to live every minute. Before I got cancer it was more oppositional behavior – I enjoy being oppositional,” she admits. “But now I associate it with living every day, experiencing something fun every day.”
“I don’t want to forget that first feeling you get when you are told you have a second chance at life. Now I appreciate every day.”