The hair, style and ink of Inika McPherson


Watch out Moscow, should the world’s coolest high jumper leap 1.95m in the coming weeks she’ll hit the Russian capital. She is known on the circuit for her sense of style, and has been working with stylist Queen Mafia Couture to hone her look. SPIKES brings you the fashion, hairdos and ink that make up US high jumper Inika McPherson.

“I’ve always been into style,” McPherson tells SPIKES. “When I was at elementary school, I would get a new pair of shoes and colour them with different colours. My mother was similar to me, although maybe not quite as bold. I’ve always been an odd one out of the box.”

Kit is just kit, right? Not for Inika. She has worked on a couple of uniforms with Queen Mafia, and has even worn gold tights to compete in, for which she ”got a great response”. Meanwhile, during the recent indoor season she wore a bejewelled sports bra.

And for McPherson’s next trick? “Queen Mafia has lots of plans for me, with lots of gold and lots of jewels.” 


Sunglasses… check. Tattoos out… check. Multi-coloured shorts… check. Now JUMP!

Taught how to apply her warpaint by San Francisco-based make-up artist Isabella Mack, this element of the look helps “show off my features,” says McPherson.

“Wearing make-up was a growing process and the older I get the more I enjoy wearing and learning how to apply it. I am looking forward to trying a lot of different, dramatic colours. I usually wear a lot of gold, and a lot of neutral colours.”

No look can quite be complete without the hair, and McPherson is no different. She has gone for orange dye, a mohawk (main pitcure) and has even totally shaved her head.

“Yeah, I did that on purpose. I was growing my hair out but I kind of messed it up. So I thought, I’m going to go back to being bald, all natural. I loved it. It suited my egg-shaped head.

"The orange dye? I needed to mix three colours to get that look. Blonde, honey blonde and a reddish colour.”

At last count, McPherson has “26 or 27 tattoos” covering all parts of her body: feet, calves, arms, hands, chest and neck. She loves the look, although her neck is now “fully-loaded”. It’s not cheap either: her tats have cost her in the region of $2000 (£1300).

Her first tattoo was a college thing. “I drew up a compilation of the letters of my siblings and parents’ names and put it all together on my foot.” Her favourite is the hummingbird on her neck, which represents the message: “Life moves on, and you should look forward to the future.”

She doesn’t plan on stopping just yet, and next up she hopes to add a giraffe tattoo on the right side of her ribcage. “I want all the continents of the world in the shape of the spots on the giraffe.”

Inika McPherson, 26, finished second behind Brigetta Barrett at the 2013 US National Championships, meaning that she will be representing her country in Moscow at the World Championships if she can achieve the A Qualificaton standard of 1.95m. You can follow her on twitter @HighJumpQueen.