When Judge Judy Scheindlin figuratively let her hair down, changing her iconic hairdo for the first time in decades, she caught fans off guard. Choosing to forgo her classic style in favor of a chic ponytail was a decision that Scheindlin, 78, was somewhat surprised would cause so much discourse among her fans. Now that she's wrapping up Judge Judy's run on CBS and prepping for Judy Justice on Amazon Prime Video, she's opening up about the hairstyle change that preceded this even bigger career change.
"I thought it was the message, not the look of the messenger. I didn’t even think people looked that closely anymore," Scheindlin told The Hollywood Reporter. "They look to see what Halle Berry looks like, but that was never my thing. I mean, I was cute but not a knockout. People stopped whistling at me as I passed a construction site decades ago. And what happens when you reach a certain age is that people say, 'Oh, she looks better than I thought she did!' or, 'Considering, she looks OK.' There’s always that qualification."
"It’s sort of funny. 'How could she change her hair? It’s an iconic hairdo.' No, it’s not. It’s a lot of goop and teasing and product and fussing around by somebody else," she continued. "This is so much easier. And as each hour in every day we have becomes more precious, the less you want to spend time patshkeing over the way you look. Do you know how to spell 'patshkeing'? You’ll have to look it up. It’s a Yiddish term. It means messing around."
It comes as no surprise that Scheindlin's no-nonsense courtroom manner translates directly to her day-to-day life, personal hygiene included. Another famous no-nonsense tidbit from Scheindlin is her well-known negotiating tactic for her Judge Judy salary: presenting a sealed envelope containing the desired number to the CBS executive at the end of a lunch. While she said she did not try the same move with Jeff Bezos at Amazon, she hinted that she has no plans to relinquish her title of highest-paid TV host.
"Without giving you specifics, because that’s a little unseemly, my compensation has not been a secret," she said. "It’s been out there for a long time — not by me, but it got out there and had its own life. So, the folks at Amazon understood what the parameters were. There was no issue."
As far as Scheindlin's eventual plans for retirement, there are none. "I’m not tired. I don’t play golf or tennis. I have no desire to learn how to play mahjong, chess or checkers. I know what I like to do," she said. "Why, at my stage in life, would I try to find something else when I already know what I like? And this isn’t a 9-to-5 job. I’ve still got the time to see the children I love, the grandchildren who are growing up very fast and the cute mate who I still get a kick out of."