First Russian female cosmonaut to visit ISS angry after being asked questions about her hair style during press conference

Elena Serova was asked how she would maintain her style in space

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The Independent Online

The first Russian female cosmonaut to visit the International Space Station criticised journalists for focusing on her hair and appearance during a pre-launch news conference. 

Elena Serova became the fourth woman in Russia to enter space when she joined the mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. She has spent seven years training for the flight.

But during a conference with two of her male colleagues ahead of the launch, the 38-year-old was forced to refocus questions from the press, who appeared more interested in how she would wash her hair in space and continue her relationship with her daughter while in space.

The BBC reports that after initially humouring reporters, she responded to one who asked her how she would maintain her hair style in space with: "Can I ask a question - aren't you interested in the hair styles of my colleagues?"

Ms Serova has spoken of the issues she has faced in the past because of her gender, telling Russian Space in 2012: “We can now say without any doubt that compared to previous years, fewer women are even applying for the (cosmonauts) group.

Anatoly Perminov, former head of the Russian space agency, has joked in the past that having women on board a spacecraft is bad luck.

The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M docked with the ISS six hours after launching from Russia's manned space facility in Kazakhstan.

The capsule launched at 2.25 am Friday (2025 GMT Thursday, 4.25 pm EDT) from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

The new crew is beginning a planned six-month deployment on the ISS, joining three others already on board.

Ms Serova is the first Russian woman to fly to space since 1997. Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963.