All eyes were on BBC One’s The Great British Bake Off yesterday evening, as viewers watched Candice crowned the winner in the finale.
However, elsewhere in the world, former finalist Ruby Tandoh was making headlines for a very different reason.
Taking to Twitter, she shared a selfie of herself, captioned “Do what you want” – and fans were stunned to see that all of her auburn curls had been shaved off.
Explaining why she’d decided to do it, she later tweeted: “I realised I was always hiding behind my big mop of hair and pulling it over my face.
“So I was like… bye curls, hello being unapolegetic.”
She added: “I was such a nervous, skulking little cockroach before. No more.”
Tandoh’s look went down a storm on Twitter, with fans telling her that she looks “magnificent”, “amazing”, and “strong”.
Here's what she looked like before...
And here's what she looks like now:
Fellow Bake Off star Tamal Ray joined the social media users flooding her feed with compliments, writing: “Argh, you look awesome!
“I’ve always been too terrified that my head would look like a wonky potato if I shaved it all off.”
Ray, sharing a photo of Eleven from Netflix’s Stranger Things, added: “Also you now have the option of looking like a total badass for Halloween.”
Tandoh seemed delighted with the suggestion, replying: “Tamal, YES – Halloween sorted.”
Tandoh, as stalwart Bake Off fans will no doubt remember, made it through to the final of GBBO way back in 2013 – losing out to Frances Quinn, who was eventually crowned the winner.
While she has since gone on to become a successful cookbook author, Tandoh found herself accusing by some viewers of having been shown favouritism by judge Paul Hollywood, and even of having an affair – with some baselessly speculating that she had flirted with the judge in a bid to stay in the show.
She responded to those comments in The Guardian, penning a powerful essay about the misogyny displayed by viewers at the time.
“The criticism ranged from the gently cynical to the downright obnoxious, but as the series went on I noticed an increasing degree of personal vitriol and misogyny,” she said.
“We (female) finalists are supposedly too meek, too confident, too thin, too domestic, too smiley, too taciturn.”
Tandoh continued: “I am tired of defending myself against the boring, inevitable accusations of flirting with Paul Hollywood, of emotionally manipulating the judges and of somehow surfing into the final on a tidal wave of tears.
“I'd rather eat my own foot than attempt to seduce my way to victory, and even if I had any intention of playing that card, it's insulting to both the judges to suggest that they'd ever let their professional integrity be undermined in that way.”
She concluded: “If a show as gentle as Bake Off can stir up such a sludge of lazy misogyny in the murky waters of the internet, I hate to imagine the full scale of the problem.
“But it's not something I'm willing to tolerate. Sod the haters. I'm going to have my cupcake and eat it, too.”
In 2015, Tandoh came out as gay and tweeted: “P.S.. For those who thought I fancied Paul Hollywood or that I’d ever bang him to get ahead – JOKE’S ON YOU, YOU MASSIVE S****ING MISOGYNISTS (sic).”
She later deleted the tweet after Hollywood replied and asked why she felt the need to bring him in to her decision to reveal her sexuality. Since then, it has become apparent that there is no love lost between the pair whatsoever.
Earlier this year, after learning that Hollywood had signed a contract to stay on as a Bake Off judge when it moves to its new home on Channel 4, Tandoh dubbed him a “peacocking manchild”.
She went on to accuse him of turning up to work in a “rental Lamborghini” and “lingering wherever the money is”.
Despite claims to the contrary, Hollywood has said that his decision to stay with the show was not due to enticing offers of increased wages by Channel 4, but because it's been “a huge part of my life”.
He said in a statement: “Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf.
“The Great British Bake Off has brought baking to the nation and we've seen people from all walks of life and backgrounds, experience the highs and lows of competition, and more importantly helping each other.
“It's been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn't turn my back on all that - the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget… the squirrels.
“So I am delighted that I will be continuing as a judge when Bake Off moves to Channel 4. I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding.”
Images: iStock, BBC One, Love Productions