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Characters with elegant Princess Curls are refined and high class, but characters with tightly coiled, all over the place curls tend to be the opposite. Where Princess Curls are large, sleek coils that look like they were made with a huge curling iron, Quirky Curls tend to be rendered as zig-zagging kinks which stick out all over the place, much tighter than their more elegant counterpart and are prone to frizzing.
This type of curly hair, especially in girls, represents non-conformity or high energy. These characters are the type to march to the beat of their own drum, sometimes on purpose, other times because they simply feel they don't fit in. They may be quirky and fun, rebelling against expectations, or just eccentric or different. There also seems to be a correlation with this type of hair and being nerdy or intelligent, which contrasts popular girls having long straight hair, and too add to their 'differentness' is not uncommon for characters with Quirky Curls to also have glasses or freckles. If in a fantasy work, if a character has very tight zigzaggy curls they may have lightning or fire powers, or if they have softer waves, they may have water magic.
They may try everything they can to get sleek, straight hair, possibly representing a desire to fit in or be popular. Often there will be a scene where they try to tame their wildly curly hair but as soon as they have it smoothed down or pinned into a Prim and Proper Bun it poofs up again.
- Gaap from Umineko no Naku Koro ni has this crazy curly haircut, and her characterization follows pretty closely the Trickster Archetype.
- Dorian for From Eroica with Love. Energetic, loud, openly Camp Gay aristocrat and Super-thief who steals for the love of the hunt/art rather than monetary gain and likes tweaking the nose of a certain NATO agent who would happily strangle him given the chance. His quirks regularly get him into trouble, since he likes to try things just to see if they can be done (stealing the Pope, anyone?).
- In Winx Club, out of the three villains, two have long straight hair and the third has a cloud of kinked curls. Guess which one is the spitfire. Guess which one has the storm powers.
- Curly from BC is a Deadpan Snarker.
- Little Orphan Annie, a funny and lively Genki Girl.
- Delirium from The Sandman is a Cloudcuckoolander, which makes her Reality Warper powers kind of...dangerous. It's implied she was once the personification of Delight.
- Peanuts: Freida has Naturally Curly Hair and, as originally presented, fancies herself quite the conversationalist. She got Flanderized into only being conversational about her naturally curly hair though.
- Amanda Peet's character from The Whole Nine Yards. Talks about her assignment to kill Oz while he's in the room. And that's just the beginning of her Crazy Awesome.
- Mia from The Princess Diaries has naturally curly hair and at the beginning of the film she is gawky, not very popular and very much quirky, as it her mother who has wavy hair and is an artist. When she finds out she is a princess, she has to have her hair straightened to look acceptable as a princess.
- In Like Water for Chocolate Gertrudis is the only one of the three sisters with curly hair. Her character-defining moment is when she runs into the desert and rides away on horseback with a Mexican revolutionary. A few years later, we find that she married the man and is now a general in the revolutionary army.
- The Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka.
- Tris from Circle of Magic, has wildly curly hair which is always frizzing. She's also a Deadpan Snarker, Bookworm and loner who doesn't fit in, and has extreme abilities in weather magic, including lightning. In fact, her hair tends to either trap or produce lightning. When her abilities as a mage advance, she actually begins to use her hair to store her magic in tight, carefully wound braids.
- The unnamed narrator of the children's book I Like Myself. Might make a good trope image, actually.
- Susan Sto Helit, granddaughter-by-adoption of the Discworld incarnation of Death, has hair like this in her first couple of appearances; after that, her hair seems to settle down, although it remains self-styling. Her hair seems to rebel in proportion to how much effort she puts into being normal; in Soul Music she makes the biggest deal about it, and that's the book where she attempts to braid her hair and it always manages to unravel itself. (Although the braids could simply be to conform to her school's dress code, rather than a reflection of her personal preferences.)
- Hermione Granger has the 'nerdy girl frizz' version of these curls, including the classic scene where she straightens them out and transforms into a beauty (once, for a dance, and it took hours and a lot of magical hair-care potions and we never see her do it again).
- In the movies, we don't need to, as Emma Watson has naturally straight hair. Which meant it took hours and a lot of magical hair-care potions to frizz it out originally.
- The Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who is a clear male example. In a different way, so is the Sixth Doctor. Also in Doctor Who: River Song, a rebellious, Crazy Awesome Heroic Sociopath.
- Paul McGann, who played the Eighth Doctor, got some bright ideas about buzzing his near-shoulder-length curls off between the audition and filming. So they made him wear a wig (which gets obviously frizzier throughout the Made for TV Movie). He once stated in an interview that hair generally seems to be an important part of playing the Doctor.
- Cassie from Skins, who is the resident Cloudcuckoolander, although averted with Michelle who also has curly hair.
- Maeby from Arrested Development.
- Lizzi in Greek. As part of her makeover in her last episode (to break her out of being just a Plucky Office Girl being stepped on by the other Nationals, particularly Tegan), Casey and Ashleigh got rid of the frizz and gave her a more professional, dead straight haired look.
- Dr. Cox from Scrubs has loads of thick curly hair whose length tends to vary greatly over the course of each season.
- Blaine from Glee shellacks his hair down with a ton of hairgel, but when he's finally persuaded to go without in public, he's got these curls. They frighten Brittany. Appropriately enough, he's got all the quirky and highly energetic traits that go with this trope, but spends a lot of time trying to act more sober and grown up than he really is.
- Takatsuki Yayoi from The Idolmaster, an energetic and hardworking Cheerful Child. Her hair is usually rendered as wavy rather than extremely curly in the game and anime adaptation due to the difficulty of properly animating curly hair, but in illustrations it's more clearly curly.
- The heroine in Sword of Mana.
- Catalina Bobcat, the little boisterous gingery closet-lesbian girl from El Goonish Shive. It was revealed that she deliberately styles her hair that way, and it is naturally flat. Also has freckles.
- Angelica, the ditzy Russian Strange Girl from Bloody Urban, has very thick, curly, bright orange hair.
- From My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Pinkie Pie is an extremely hyper and high energy Genki Girl and is the only Pony with this kind of curly hair. When she loses her excitability because she thinks her friends have abandoned her, her mane and tail becomes flat.
- From The Magic School Bus, Miss Frizzle has extremely curly hair. She's also incredibly weird.
- Recess: Miss Grotke, the Genki Girl Hippie Teacher.
- Carrot Top is a Real Life example.
- Rebekah Brooks (of the Rupert Murdoch scandal) is a Real Life Example. Some of the coverage of her smacks of body-policing.
- This is ingrained enough that many naturally curly-haired actors and actresses get type casted into the roles the trope is designed for. David Krumholtz springs immediately to mind.