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Iconic quiffs Jedward on shaving their heads, love lives and coping with losing beloved mum

John and Edward Grimes - AKA Jedward - on shaving their heads for charity, coping with the heartache of losing their beloved mum to cancer and why they are in no hurry to settle down

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Jedward sporting their iconic quiffs.

Jedward sporting their iconic quiffs.

Jedward sporting their iconic quiffs.

Jedward's iconic quiffs are slowly inching skywards once more - and the irrepressible pair already have Ireland's celebrity stylists in their crosshairs.

More than two decades after bursting onto The X Factor in matching black suits and gravity-defying dos, John and Edward Grimes have proven themselves to have more sticking power than their hard-working hairspray, with a 'Jedhead' range surely a gimme.

"We know everything there is to know about hair," Edward teases his 'Jedhawk', as their new, shorter style has been dubbed. "I'm surprised we don't even have a hairspray by now.

"There's people in Ireland who have massive franchises who can't even style hair, but have taken pictures with us; it's like, 'Hello! That's the worst my hair has ever looked, ever'.

"I'm sending a message out to all those people that we're coming for you!"

It's now almost four months since the pop sensations from Dublin helped raise an incredible €2.5m for the Irish Cancer Society by shaving each other's heads during The Late Late Show's Daffodil Day special.

But the powerful moment was as much 'hairapy' for the identical twins as anyone else, according to John, after they lost their mum, Susanna, to the disease in 2019.

"I think it's like a rebirth," he tells Magazine+ over a video call from their home. "You get rid of what everyone knows you for, and then you grow back a new you. It takes forever to grow it back, but it's OK. It was for a cause that was bigger than our hair, and it was just a really nice thing to be part of. We heard so many stories from everyone, even people just meeting us on the streets were telling us how much it meant to them."

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Jedward with their latest look after shaving their heads for The Irish Cancer Society.

Jedward with their latest look after shaving their heads for The Irish Cancer Society.

Jedward with their latest look after shaving their heads for The Irish Cancer Society.

"A lot of people who weren't as attracted to us kind of like the shaved hair," Edward lightens the tone. "They're like, 'Wow, shaved Jedward's doing it for me!'"

From joke reality TV act, when judge Simon Cowell branded them "not very good and incredibly annoying", to Eurovision darlings right through to their current incarnation as straight-talking social media superstars, it's not their first do-over.

Not even the most loyal Jeddict could have had the pair attending a Black Lives Matters protest, quarantining with Tara Reid in LA, posing in red budgy smugglers by the sea or slating "two-faced bitch" Louis Walsh on Twitter on their pandemic bingo card though.

"I feel like during this pandemic everyone's online," says John of the Jedaissance, which saw them take on everything from racism to Covid-19 conspiracy theories during lockdown. "Everyone's observing every little thing that happens in real life.

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"We never had a calendar where we're hitting the clubs, or doing that type of stuff, so we didn't really miss any of that. The only thing we missed was the performing, meeting people, because when you're making music, you don't really realise the reach you have and how much of a coping mechanism you are for a lot of people.

"People think, 'Oh, you did Eurovision, you're just relevant that time of the year'," adds Edward, who says he's "feeling good" after undergoing an emergency appendectomy recently. "I feel like me and John have strong opinions and it's so great to just say what you feel, what you stand for.

"We're not educated in every single area, but we still have good intentions about getting the conversation going on Twitter. I feel like it hits harder when we say it because we're in the entertainment world - we're not some politician or some person on CNN. Our DMs are flooded - sometimes we feel like life gurus."

Behind the viral posts and encouraging voice notes, the Grimes have privately been grieving the loss of their beloved mum to leukemia following a five-year illness. It's a daily struggle that they admit is often at odds with their bouncy public personas.

"Sometimes you would see us smiling on stage or being the strongest we are," Edward opens up. "It doesn't mean [we are not grieving]. We had to be professional on stage because people are coming to be uplifted.

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A photo John and Edward shared online of themselves with their mother Susanna. Picture: Jedward/Twitter

A photo John and Edward shared online of themselves with their mother Susanna. Picture: Jedward/Twitter

A photo John and Edward shared online of themselves with their mother Susanna. Picture: Jedward/Twitter

"Logistically, I was kind of scared because our mum was still actively driving up and down," he recalls. "As sad as it was, I was happy that she was peacefully leaving because I'd hate that she'd be in pain or in a car crash, or something like that.

"I think it kind of brought me and John back to earth, because I feel like sometimes people get disconnected from us, that we are just like everyone else no matter how extraterrestrial we are at Eurovision. We're still human at the end of the day.

"Everyone is going through stuff outside of what people see in the public eye," agrees John. "And obviously it was a very big deal because it was our mum. Some days it's like being in the deep end of the swimming pool.

"Some days you really can go right down the bottom and some days you can keep yourself above just level.

"At the same time, it's nice when there's a community involved and you're not just coping by yourself. I had a friend who lost their mum to cancer last October as well, and they were in a really bad place, so I was able to be there for them and give them advice on how to cope, because it's so hard.

"Our heart goes out to all the people who lost a loved one this last year. It must have been so hard for people who weren't able to be there physically with the person suffering in hospital."

With apologies to the Happy Pear, Ireland's most famous twins turn 30 this October, and despite the milestone, they're in no hurry to fully adult just yet.

"When it comes to 30, everyone's getting engaged, a lot of people are going by the status quo," muses John, "maybe we'll keep it for the early 30s.

"I think it's good as you get older not to lose that fun card, because sometimes people as they get older they kind of get more serious," Edward interrupts. "I'd love to do maybe a countdown of 30 wild activities up to 30, or launch an album with 30 songs.

"We're not going to put ourselves under pressure to just suddenly start doing big life things. We're 30, flirty and thriving."

The Lipstick singers next appear as judges alongside Boy George and Lyra on brand new Virgin Media talent show The Big Deal hosted by Vogue Williams this summer.

In the meantime, they're getting plenty of practice by helping to judge Cadbury's Dairy Milk Inventor competition, which will result in one of three new flavours - No Frownie Browie, Banoffee Nut Crumble and Fizzing Cherry - hitting the shelves.

"I feel like Cadbury is just like me and Edward, always trying to do new things," says John, declaring the cherry bar their favourite. "It's great that they keep bringing out new flavours." Quips his brother: "It's great that they're able to afford us as well."

Before our 20 minutes are up, Magazine+ has just one last question for the twins.

Where's our Jedward DM™ and exactly how has a private message from the pop stars become second only to a blue tick for the ultimate Twitter status symbol?

"Some people were like, 'Is this actually Jedward?'" laughs John. "'How the hell do they get to so many people?' It's something we've always done, but a lot of our hardcore fans kept it to themselves."

"Don't worry," winks Edward. "We'll slide into your DMs."

  • See cadburyinventor.com for more

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