The Sad Reason Why Sia Started Wearing Wigs To Perform

Sia's stunning transformation was not without its difficulties. Known for performing in a large, face-covering wig, the Australian pop star has sometimes struggled with her intense level of fame. While she's been spotted without the wig since 2008, she has undoubtedly become more recognizable with it. She's always been ultra-sensitive to the criticism that accompanies celebrity, even before her movie, "Music," got tons of backlash online back in 2020.

Though she'd been a singer for years prior, her collab with David Guetta was what really put her on the map. Released in 2011, "Titanium" lasted 33 weeks on Billboard's Top 100. That would be a huge achievement for anyone — that is, if the song was released with their permission. Sia had written the song for another artist as part of her pivot into songwriting, and was shocked when Guetta used her vocals instead. The rush of fame not only made her feel exposed, but also threatened her newfound sobriety. With the wigs, she has been able to balance the life of a singer with the life of normalcy she always wanted.

Sia's balance between fame and sobriety

Sia's wig is like her contempt for fame made physical. She went into detail about her rapid rise to fame with NPR in 2014 — and how much it hurt. In the interview, she confessed that the version of "Titanium" we've come to know and love was never supposed to exist. Sia, whose extensive songwriting resume includes Beyoncé and Rihanna, originally intended the song for Alicia Keys. After she passed up on it, the song was given to Mary J. Blige, who had sang on the track. However, David Guetta took matters into his own hands. "He took [Blige's] vocal off it, and put my vocal back on, my demo vocal, without asking and released it," Sia explained. "I was really upset. Because I had just retired, I was trying to be a pop songwriter, not an artist." 

At the time, Sia was dealing with complex PTSD, which she revealed in 2020 on Zane Lowe's podcast she didn't know she had. She was also dealing with undiagnosed autism, which she later find out was autism spectrum disorder, according to her interview with "Rob Has A Podcast" in 2023. Previously dealing with undiagnosed PTSD and autism, Sia had turned to alcohol and drugs to cope for several years.

Sia's wigs helped her to stay sober

When Sia decided to sober up in 2010, she later made plans to be just a songwriter instead of a performer because it got to the point where she couldn't get on stage while sober. However, the fame that came with "Titanium" thrusted her back into the spotlight.

During her 2016 "Carpool Karaoke" appearance, she opened up to host James Corden about the reason behind her retirement. "I was a singer already for 10 or 11 years to mediocre success. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and I sobered up and decided I didn't want to be an artist anymore because I was starting to get a little bit famous, and it was destabilizing." The only way she could maintain her sobriety and privacy while performing was with the wig. She told Corden that the air of mystery surrounding her was great for both her career and her mental well-being.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The end of an era?

Though Sia still prefers to remain out of the public eye, she has appeared without her wig a bit more frequently. Notably, she was hired to perform at the 2022 Kardashian Christmas party. She was relegated to a box in the corner, but her face was on full display — a big change for someone who once kept themselves under wraps. Along with "Chandelier," she sang her holiday hit "Snowman" with Kim Kardashian's daughter, North West. 

In a 2023 interview with Zane Lowe, Sia admitted that now that she knows why she's created "a little bubble" for herself with her wig, she's considering ditching it for future performances: "I think maybe one day I'll do a show with my face out again and have little fun talking to the audience and being heckled and getting present again because those shows were really fun back in the day before I had the wig on."

This doesn't mean Sia's completely warmed up to fame, though. While she's appeared at different events with her face showing, she still prefers her signature wigs and the privacy they give. Part of the reason why she chose to be free at the Kardashian party was Kim Kardashian's fierce protectiveness of Sia's privacy. In an interview with Mix 104.1, Sia said, "If she thought anyone [at Kim's house] was gonna try to ask me for a selfie or was gonna try to FaceTime their children with me, she was extremely protective."