Who’s Responsible for Bride ‘Wig Out’?

Update (Monday, 12 p.m. PST): Here’s a pretty good summary of the genesis of the video from the Globe and Mail. Turns out the haircare company AND the group of women came up with the stunt. And they’re going to try to milk it for all it’s worth. Says Bridezilla herself, Ms. Jodi Behan: “I don’t really care for it all, if it’s just going to be 15 minutes of fame.”

Update (Friday, 12 p.m. PST) : The original video has been removed. A couple copied versions are still up. Still no response from the Sunsilk people (who had claimed responsibility). Supposedly the actresses were on Leno last night. Did anyone see it?

“It looks so bad!” the bride squeals, collapsing on the hotel room floor after returning from the hairdresser. “Look at my hair!” She gets more and more hysterical, eventually pulling a pair of scissors on herself and chopping her hair off an hour before her wedding. Her bridesmaids try to placate and subdue her, and one of them gets the whole thing on film.

You really can’t help but cringe. I first saw the video while hanging out with my sister last weekend. Her reaction was to turn away, asking how this woman’s friends could possibly embarrass her by posting the tape this online. I wondered if it was a hoax; the camera-pans across the room to one of the bridesmaids sneaking a smile were ever so well-placed. But neither of us was laughing, that was for sure.

Over the last two weeks momentum has built around the video; at this point it’s been seen 2.8 million times and featured on the Today Show. Today, we find out it’s a hoax. But here’s the thing; more than one person is claiming responsibility.

After the Toronto Star reported on the video earlier this week, asking “Is wiggy Bridezilla for real?,” movie critic Peter Howell reported “numerous friends, family and associates blew her cover.” According to Howell, the bride was played by Jodi Behan, a 22-year-old aspiring actress, and the cast of bridesmaids included her real-life sister, Jessie.

He says in today’s story:

She was just a regular Torontonian, until she agreed to take part in a drama staged by Ryerson University grad Ingrid Haas, a local performance artist who wanted to make a splash on YouTube.com, the popular video-sharing website.

OK, so it’s the new Lonelygirl15. Or the new-new Lonelygirl15; we lost track.

But Behan isn’t the only one claiming responsibility for the stunt. An outfit called Sunsilk Haircare Brand issued a press release stating it had planned the stunt and never intended people to think it was real:

The recent “Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out” video was an initiative from Sunsilk Haircare Brand in Canada. The video was created to dramatize that “bad hair” is one of the challenges faced by young women, many of whom have experienced their own “wig-out” moments. It was never Sunsilk Canada’s intent to portray anything other than a dramatization.

I called the number listed on the press release and was forwarded to a nice man who said he was not able to answer my questions; I would have to wait for a spokesperson to return my call (but this is from Toronto, where it’s starting to get late). He said I might be able to get a response tonight if I emailed my questions, so I did. Nothing yet.

Behan’s story is backed up by a MySpace page that looks to be hers (we found it via Torontoist); her friend “Esther” is definitely one of the bridesmaids from the clip. The profile could be part of the hoax, too, but it looks legit, with comments dating back to last April and a marital status listing of “single.”

So are the aspiring actress and the haircare outfit working together, or are they competing to claim the mantle of the hoax? Are they just distractions thrown in our way by the true creator? Stay tuned.

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