A 1-year-old girl in Japan has become famous for her hair — so abundant and luxurious that she has become a global sensation, appearing in her own short film and kicking off her career as one of the world’s tiniest hair models.
This . . . is Baby Chanco, the adorable new face of Pantene Japan.
Chanco, from Kyoto, has gained worldwide attention for her lustrous mane of thick, black hair, which has earned comparisons to Theresa Caputo and Peggy Bundy and ultimately charmed Pantene.
Earlier this month, Chanco became the newest face of the hair-care brand, appearing in Pantene Japan’s ad campaign “#HairWeGo My Hair Moves Me Forward,” encouraging women to express themselves.
“I’m so surprised by such a reaction,” Chanco’s mother, Mami Kano, said in a statement provided to The Washington Post, “but am also very proud to receive praise from so many countries.”
Baby Chanco made her Internet debut last spring, when her mother posted a photo on social media, showing the then-4-month-old with an extraordinary head of hair.
And just like that, a star was born: Chanco earned hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, along with local and international write-ups from the likes of People magazine, Allure and Marie Claire. In fact, it was a story in People that caught Pantene’s attention, the hair-care brand’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, said in a news release.
Kelly Vanasse, chief communications officer for P&G Beauty and Grooming, said the company reached out to Chanco’s mother about featuring the infant in a Pantene ad campaign “encouraging Japanese women to own their power and to not let uniformity and conformity hold them back.” Vanasse explained that there are expectations that women in Japan should wear their hair a certain way, and Chanco “exemplified the notion of owning your own power” because what makes her different — her hair — doesn’t hinder her.
“She has this beautiful head of hair that is not normal for a baby,” Vanasse told The Washington Post, “and she is being celebrated for it.”
In December, the child was photographed with Japanese TV announcer Sato Kondo, who has been applauded for letting her hair grow gray.
The Pantene ad appeared Jan. 7 in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, P&G said, making Chanco the brand’s newest — and most captivating — spokesperson.
She also appeared in her own Pantene short film, appropriately titled, “The Hairy Tale,” with the message, “It’s okay to be different.” The film was narrated by Kondo.
“Baby Chanco is adorable, and she is unique. In any culture she would be unique, but especially in Japanese culture,” Vanasse said. “No woman wants to be held back by cultural norms, so the message resonates.”