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"I just said that you're pretty. Even when you're covered in... engine grease, you're... No, especially, especially when you're covered in engine grease."
—Simon Tam to Kaylee, Firefly
Mechanical inclinations have, for various reasons, traditionally been forte of men. The Wrench Wench is a girl who sets out to change all that. This can sometimes extend to pure electronic devices, but a Wrench Wench is more likely to be found with a blowtorch and ratchet set. She will always be confident about her own work, but because she's technically an enormous Geek she sometimes has trouble with other things. She might also have Machine Empathy and can diagnose problems just by listening to the motor. She has been known to be Curious as a Monkey in the presence of new and interesting machines -- or Constantly Curious, if inspection is impossible.
Can be used as a contrast to show that she's not as feminine as she first appears. She's often a MsFixIt. Can also be The Blacksmith. Highly likely to be the calling card of the Farmer's Daughter. When a Wrench Wench's talents go above and beyond the practical or realistic, she's also a Gadgeteer Genius. If it's computers and the Internet instead of mechanics, she's a Hackette.
The less objectifying version of Hood Ornament Hottie, where the woman may be dressed or posed as if she was the mechanic, but actually isn't.
Anime and Manga
- Pictured above: Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist. Winry made her first automail when she was eleven years old, and her Weapon of Choice is a wrench. She's even the picture for this trope!
- Ikuyo in Hanaukyo Maid Tai.
- Several of the girls in Ah! My Goddess, most prominently Chihiro Fujimi.
- Although the lead character Keiichi's little sister, Megumi Morisato, gets more screentime, and seems to fit this trope just as well.
- Miyuki Kobayakawa of You're Under Arrest practically built her mini patrol car from the ground up, and maintains Natsumi's motorcycles.
- Lavie Head in Last Exile.
- Morinas in Simoun.
- Bulma in Dragon Ball, especially in Dragonball Z.
- Ritsuko in Neon Genesis Evangelion is both this and the Hot Scientist.
- Kana in Haibane Renmei.
- Parfet Balblair from Vandread.
- Fio from Porco Rosso - who turns out to be the heiress of four generations of female aircraft builders. (Her great-grandmother wields a mean tinsmithing hammer.) The entire workforce of Piccolo Aviation are women, since the men are all abroad looking for work.
- Miss Yuki from Idaten Jump.
- Alto of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S is a mechanic in addition to a helicopter pilot. Striker S Sound Stage X reveals that she also spends her spare time restoring vintage cars.
- Leona Ozaki of Dominion Tank Police. Built her mini-tank, "Bonaparte" from the wreckage of the squad leader's Awesome but Impractical super-tank.
- Kururu from Air Gear. For that matter, the Tool Toul To team is completely made of Wrench Wenches.
- Rain Mikamura from G Gundam.
- Rally Vincent in Gunsmith Cats.
- Reite from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Kuroe Ayaka from Strike Witches
- Nae Aki in Medarot Spirits; she never was anything near fanservicey, but, in another hand, had Ikki slightly fawning over her. Justified by the fact that she's the granddaughter of Dr. Aki, the modern Medarot inventor. Thing is, if you considers the series' existence at all.
- Miyuki Ayukawa from Basquash.
- Hilde Schbeiker from Gundam Wing, who has her own scrapyard and is quite proficient with computers.
- Handa Suzu in Transistor Teaset.
- Noël Kannagi from Sora no Woto. Also something of a Child Prodigy as she developed a biological weapon some time when she was younger (as in single digit), although she didn't realize what it was until it was too late.
- Rikako Ota from Wangan Midnight.
- Miki Jounouchi from Future GPX Cyber Formula.
- Sky Girls has the twins Ranko and Haruko Mikagami.
- Chinatsu from Jormungand is a villainous example. When she's not gunning people down as part of her hitman duties, she apparently likes to build complex mechanical torture devices... including one designed to shoot a bound captive in the knee. In the same spot. 27 times.
- Mara Spencer from Love is in the Bag.
- Nanvel Candlestick from Burn Up W/Excess. Quirky but genius inventor and still as busty as most of her squad.
- Presea from Magic Knight Rayearth is a skilled Master Smith.
- Betty Cooper, from Archie Comics, can be considered one in some comics.
- Agent Boysenberry in Donald Duck comic books (the "Tamers of Nonhuman Threats" subseries featured in Gemstone's Donald Duck Adventures).
- "Ma" Hunkel, the original Red Tornado from the Golden Age of The DCU, worked as a riveter during WWII. All that heavy labor probably helped with her right hook.
- Maggie Chascarrillo, a.k.a. Maggie the Mechanic, from Jaime Hernandez's half of Love and Rockets.
- P.J., who ran her own garage in Y: The Last Man.
- Kat Pryde in Exiles, even more so than her X-Men counterpart.
- Angie from PS238.
- Sharri Barrnett from Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool is the computer-programming version of this trope.
- Chassis was more of driver, but she certainly knew her way around the underside of a bonnet.
- Courtney "Cover Girl" Krieger from G.I. Joe was a former high-fashion model who enlisted and became a missile-tank driver. Who does the upkeep and repair work on her own tank.
- Mikaela (Megan Fox) in the live-action Transformers.
- Stacy Ferguson plays a Wrench Wench in Planet Terror. Then her brain gets eaten.
- Another Robert Rodriguez example: In Sin City, Nancy tells John Hartigan "Nobody but me can keep this heap running".
- Jet Girl from Tank Girl (both film and comic).
- Alex (Jennifer Beals), the main character from Flashdance. She works part time as a welder in a steel mill.
- Monique in Better Off Dead, who fixed Lane's Camaro that would otherwise keep catching rust.
- Audrey from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- Lisa from My Cousin Vinny, whose insane (or rather dead-on-balls accurate) knowledge of cars saves the defendants in the murder trial.
- Clear from the first Final Destination movie.
- Michelle Rodriguez tends to play this character.
- Kate the blacksmith from A Knight's Tale is the 14th-century version.
- Terry in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder film Angels Revenge.
- Averted in Wing Commander, when the main character mistakes his commanding officer for one.
- June, played by Cameron Diaz, in Knight and Day.
- Kay and Hazel, the female leads in Swing Shift, both become wrench wenches after joining a munitions facility during World War II.
- Darya Melnikova stars as one in Cinderella Four By Four.
- As bizarre as it may sound, Disney seems to be taking Tinker Bell, of all characters, in this direction with her CGI movie. The reasoning is actually fairly logical--why else would she be named Tinker Bell? Plus, the novel Peter Pan is based on states that Tinker Bell is a tinker who mends the pots and pans. It's not like Disney pulled this out of nowhere.
- Mary in The Muppets.
- Jimmy Neutron's mother is seen working under the family car at one point.
- Tomasina "Tommy" Boyd in the 1985 film Tomboy.
- Cord in Anathem.
- To an extent, Rosalie in Twilight.
- The main character of C. E. Murphy's Urban Shaman trilogy is one of these, being a dedicated car enthusiast who restored a 1969 Mustang all by herself, and worked as a mechanic for the Seattle Police Dept. She even continues to use the idea of fixing a car to work her healing magics (fixing a broken windshield, replacing a flat tire, using windshield wipers to clear her vision, etc.).
- Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events is also a Gadgeteer Genius, while she is only fifteen.
- Nadia Chernyshevski of the Red Mars Trilogy was a nuclear engineer in Siberia before her job building mankind's first base on Mars. Her skills in solving technological problems earned her the nickname "Universal Solvent".
- Mercy Thompson, a.k.a. Mercedes the Volkswagen mechanic. She got started at 16 when she was sent to do community service fixing up cars, and now she owns and runs her own garage.
- Samella Connel from Douglas Hill's Col Sec Trilogy, although her particular talent seems to be mostly with computer hardware and programming.
- The eponymous Tinker of Wen Spencer's book
- Dagny Taggart, the main heroine of Atlas Shrugged, can't live without her railroad, is not too keen on pointless parties that other rich girls go to and has a very masculine dress code.
- Ellie Linton, from The Tomorrow Series, is quite competent at fixing machinery, which, considering that she's a ranch-raised country girl, is Truth in Television.
- Linda Connor, from Swedish SF author Anders Blixt's dieselpunk spy adventure Iskriget (The Ice War), is a trained mechanic with a solid professional reputation in her home town. She "saves the day" with her skills at several occasions during the story. She usually wears workmen's clothes and has a male haircut, both for purely practical reasons.
- Although Alice has spent most of her life studying sorcery her real gift is with watches and mechanical things, including her creating The Witch Watch.
- Mac on Veronica Mars
- Kaylee of Firefly and Serenity, as quoted above. Kaylee actually joined the crew because the captain walked in on her having sex with the ship's mechanic in the engine room. She diagnosed the engine's problem while in the act, and fixed it on the spot when Mal showed up. He fired his mechanic and hired her as she was getting dressed.
- There are numerous hints (including dialog by the first ship's mechanic) that her major motivation in having sex with him there was to get up close and personal with the ship's engine room and grok it, she being a technophilic homebody / ground-pounder up to that point.
Bester: Engine make her hot, you know?
- In "Shinding" when Mal and Kaylee go to a ball she cleans up and gets to wear a fancy dress. She becomes an instant hit at the party when the young men present find out that she works on engines and knows almost anything there is to know about them. Despite the fancy clothes, it is still a frontier world and a technical whiz like her is highly respected.
- Turns into a CMOF when a young man asks her to dance and everyone else tells him to leave her alone, she's talking about engines!
- Betty Jo Bradley (the youngest daughter) from Petticoat Junction.
- Gilina Renaez from Farscape.
- B'Elanna Torres from Star Trek: Voyager. Although Star Trek engine rooms tend to be cleaner than a modern-day operating theatre, she does still manage to get covered in dirt and grease on a fairly regular basis.
- Bonnie and April in Knight Rider.
- Cally on Battlestar Galactica would qualify, if her personality didn't make her The Scrappy of the series. And if she didn't smell like boiled cabbage.
- Seelix starts as one of these, before she becomes a pilot.
- Theora Jones of Max Headroom is of the high-tech variety rather than the grease-monkey variety.
- Heather from Jericho.
Heather: Mind if I pitch in?
- In CSI, both Sara and Catherine have their moments doing experiments or processing a car. It actually became something of a Running Gag in Television Without Pity that Sara delighted in tearing vehicles apart.
- Abby Sciuto on NCIS falls into this category, especially when the team is investigating a vehicle-involved crime. Off with the white lab coat, on with the bright red mechanic's coveralls.
- Charlene in Neighbours. Played by Kylie Minogue, no less.
- And later Steph Scully in Neighbours. Then Janae Timmons took up the mantle.
- Bella Banks in Young Americans. She is a high school student who works as a mechanic at her dad's auto repair shop.
- The series has had several Hot Scientists down the years, but it wasn't until Power Rangers Operation Overdrive's Ronny that it got a Wrench Wench to balance things out. Her tendency for practically fondling new weaponry with an awed smile on her face makes one wonder how the show stayed TV-Y7. Of course, she had to be the first to test out any new gadget. And apparently, being a race car driver who can work on her own cars has left her qualified to work on giant robots. Two seasons later, we got Gemma in RPM.
- Ashley Hammond in the Power Rangers Turbo episode "The Turn of the Wretched Wrench". Conversely, this was the day job of her Japanese counterpart, Natsumi Shinohara from Gekisou Sentai Carranger: she's good enough to dismount a moving bike.
- In the That 70s Show episode "Career Day", Jackie, who's a rich, spoiled Valley Girl type teen shows unlikely skill in fixing cars.
- Barbara in The Good Life
- Juliette Burke in the 5th season of Lost (in Dharmaville).
- Lacy Rand in Caprica turns out to be one of these, helping one of the other Soldiers of the One (who is apparently now her Love Interest) fix a motorcycle engine.
- Played straight in Flash Forward 2009 with Keiko.
- Stargate SG-1 has Samantha Carter, who builds Naquada reactors, which are like fusion reactors on steroids, in her office/workshop.
- Sanctuary has Dr. Helen Magnus, also played by Amanda Tapping, who again falls under this trope. Very obvious in episode 21, where they get stuck in an old oil rig, and need to MacGyver their way out.
- While we didn't get to see much of it "on panel," DG from Tin Man seemed happiest either drawing or fixing stuff with her robotic foster dad.
- Kari Byron on Myth Busters. Technically also falls under "real life".
- In one episode of Home Improvement, car enthusiast Tim gets a new mechanic who is one of these, which leads to him becoming slightly attracted to her.
- In Degrassi Goes Hollywood fashion model Mia, who tags along on the journey to L.A., later ends up helping fix the broken down bus with her expensive leggings, saying it was an old trick her mom taught her.
- The Audiobooks for The Sarah Jane Adventures make this into Sky's way to assist the team, in a much cuter and less fansevicey way. Her ability to sense and understand energy being part of it, but she just understands machinery.
- When the family starts fixing up a car for Matt in season 3 of 7th Heaven, it's boy-crazy Lucy who is shown to be an idiot savant when it comes to cars.
- In her music video to "Why don't you love me", Beyonce is playing one at the beginning.
- In The Protomen (a rock opera based on the Mega Man series), Dr. Light's lover works in a factory. Keeping her safe from a dangerous job is part of his motivation for creating the robots central to the series. Of course, Dr. Wily has other plans.
- The entire first verse from Felt's "Dirty Girl" is about this. Lines include "Standin' there holding that drippin' dipstick/With a firm grip, yet so delicate/And the way you took that orange oil rag and wiped it clean/Its guaranteed to get repeated in my dreams" and "Got so lost in your smile when you asked me what the mileage was"
- Bananarama in their video for "Cruel Summer."
- Rinhanna in her "Shut up and drive" MV seem to be this, but she doesn't do much though. Other girls in the MV also count.
- Steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing have written a song celebrating this sort of woman called Goggles.
- The girl in Dave Edmunds' "Slipping Away" video. She cleans up nicely at the end, too.
- The girl in the video for Take That's Could it be Magic.
- WOW, a short-lived women's wrestling promotion populated largely with goofy gimmicks, had Wendi Wheels to fill this role.
- Nora "Molly Holly" Greenwald and Lisa Marie "Victoria/Tara" Varon are both real life versions of this with the latter owning a customs shop.
- In the Elvis-based musical All Shook Up, Natalie is this.
- Li Kohran in Sakura Taisen.
- Roll Casket in the Mega Man Legends series.
- Jessie from Final Fantasy VII, who also displays a fascination with explosives.
- Led Campbell from Septerra Core.
- It should be noted that the wrench part applies literally in her case. Her primary means of tinkering, along with beating people up, is a giant, meter-long wrench.
- From Wing Commander:
- Maureen Corley from Full Throttle.
- Tali'Zorah from Mass Effect is a fairly non-sexual example. We never even find out what she looks like under the containment suit, though she does become a romance option in Mass Effect 2. At the very least, Shepard knows what she looks like.
- Like most character tropes involving the squad, Fem Shep can qualify for this one too - just make her an engineer.
- They are joined by Samantha Traynor in Mass Effect 3, though she's more the communications officer and spends her time cracking code.
- Alyx from Half-Life 2 is a Wrench Wench and an Action Girl combined in one. Not only is she a good mechanic, she's also a godly hacker. Where she learned the latter (even touching a Combine computer is punished by summary execution) is a puzzle.
- Keira from the Jak and Daxter trilogy. Tess is one as well, only her specialty is weaponry, not vehicles.
- The kappa Nitori Kawashiro from the Touhou Project series; an earlier example is/are Rika/Rikako Asakura.
- Valkyria Chronicles has Isara Gunther, a rare case of Yamato Nadeshiko Wrench Wench. She's also the one to first appear at a gun fight with her fathers customized heavy tank! Yes, a Moe tank opperator.
- Lucca from Chrono Trigger, according to some.
- Luca from Final Fantasy IV the After Years. A little portly (she's a dwarf, and amazingly, one who mostly defies Our Dwarves Are All the Same), but otherwise fits.
- Rikku from Final Fantasy X.
- Samanya in Red Faction: Guerrilla.
- Eva Navarro of Mercenaries 2: World In Flames. She'll build any number of custom PMC vehicles for you, for a price.
- The original Ann from Harvest Moon and her Magical Melody incarnation.
- Penelope from Sly Cooper 3; specialises in remote-controlled vehicles, so the gang try to hire her on.
- Suzette/Crepe from Solatorobo.
- Moira Brown from Fallout 3, combined with Genki Girl.
- Veronica has a bit of this going on as well. She can even function as a mobile Workbench that lets you craft items on the spot.
- In the first Ratchet & Clank, one of these gives Clank an upgrade.
- Licca Kusunoki in Gods Eater Burst fits this to a tee, complete with oversized gloves and a tendency to hug the protagonist when they do something stupid.
- Wave the Swallow in Sonic Riders, who is the one responsible for building the boards for the Babylon Rogues.
- When Starkiller first lays eyes on Juno Eclipse in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, she is working on his ship, The Rogue Shadow. The comics also show her working on other equipment.
- Robin from The Iconoclasts
- Nitrine the goblin in Flaky Pastry is this, although results are distinctly mixed and sometimes plain dangerous
- Ash Upton from Misfile. But there's more about her than meets the eye.
- There's also Missi Fuller, and Emily McArthur is starting to pick up some of the tendencies.
- Commented on in a Mac Hall comic.
- Lith from Its Walky
- One has recently been released in Schlock Mercenary.
- Aby from Kevin and Kell; going so far that she is actually Married to the Job.
- Alice from I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space
- Wrench from Antihero for Hire.
- Florence from Freefall.
- Kestrel from Tales of the Questor
- Pop's Autos from Nip and Tuck. The main drawing feature are the Pop's girls, all working on your car in daisy dukes.
- Lin 47223b, the main character in Slipshine's Linburger.
- Kammi from Inhuman. She doesn't exactly fit "gearhead fantasy", seeing as most of the other characters are terrified of her.
- "You let Jet drive you and you live with a homicidal madman, but you're afraid of Kammi?"
- Sasha the Ensemble Darkhorse from Sluggy Freelance.
- From Girl Genius:
- Robyn from 1977 The Comic.
- Engineer-tan from Nerf Now, of course.
- KK built and maintains her own steam copter amongst other toys FreakAngels oh and has wicked Psychic Powers.
- Kat, from Gunnerkrigg Court, almost fits this trope, although she's too young for the sex appeal part. Robots fancy her, though.
- Molly and Galatea from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob.
- Pella the dwarf, from Looking for Group. She fashions Rayd a replacement arm after the Black Dwarves dismember him while torturing. Rayd then uses it to "keep a promise" that he made them in a subsequent battle with the Black Dwarves.
- This panel of Chester 5000 XYV.
- Faye from Questionable Content recently entered these waters when she built a mini T-Rex that poops espresso, and was originally going for a two-ton T-rex with Hemi power.
- Dora, too, has managed to do similar, but from a more computer nerd end of the spectrum, like fixing Pintsize back together after an unfortunate cake mix incident.
- Marigold builds her PCs, has taken over the Pintsize fixing, is a webmaster as her real job, and seems to be rather skilled at all things computer.
- Kimiko from Dresden Codak.
- Captain Martello from Mushroom Go.
- Petria from The Phoenix Requiem fits this trope to a degree.
- Shelly from Wapsi Square worked at a garage earlier in the strip's run.
- Emergency Exit has one too, complete with Wrench Whack.
"Oh, I love the smell of oil on a sexy woman."
- Referenced in Subnormality: "Maybe willingness to get your hands dirty is way sexier than it's given credit for."
- In Impure Blood Mac comes running to burble over the car.
- In Blue Yonder, Lena has apps.
- Katherine Blanco from Survival of the Fittest version three was the best mechanic in her school until she was killed by a hornet's sting on the island.
- Kilngirl of the CF.netter villains from AH Dot Com the Series.
- Loophole from Whateley Academy quite comfortably fits this trope.
- Sharon from Darwins Soldiers used to work in the magnetic materials research division at Pelvanida. After she got fired, she worked as an electrician and a mechanic in Southport.
- Tex, actually, of Red vs. Blue. She's repaired Sheila at least twice, built a bomb out of spare parts (including some more ... personal items), and even upgraded her own armor while wearing it. Apparently, this was part of her Freelancer training. It tends to be overshadowed by her repeatedly kicking everyones' asses, though.
- Leela from Futurama
- Gadget Hackwrench in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Also a Gadgeteer Genius.
- Gretchen Grundler and Ashley Spinelli in Recess. Spinelli was taught by her older brother how to work on cars and helped fix a broken down bus in one episode. "Regular, or ratchet?"
- Charley from Biker Mice From Mars.
- Aja Leith from Jem and The Holograms shares some traits here.
- An early appearance by Luanne in King of the Hill had her showing signs of this trope. However, she quickly devolved to the airhead we all know now.
- Lori in Transformers Cybertron.
- Widget from Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
- Ginger Snap from Strawberry Shortcake.
- Jenny 10 from Dex Hamilton Alien Entomologist.
- To a certain extent the Fireside Girls from Phineas and Ferb, though it's the titular characters who are directing most of their efforts.
- Sari from Transformers Animated, in a way. Pre-upgrade, she's the Allspark's deputized Angel of Phlebotinum, then post-upgrade she shows a real talent for Cyber-diagnostics.
- Molly from Oban Star Racers is a competent mechanic. She even figured out the problem with a pod-racer when it had previously stumped a professional.
- Cover Girl from G.I. Joe (especially in her Devil's Due comic incarnation). After all, when your primary duty is as a missile tank driver, it pays to know how to keep your fighting vehicle in good condition.
- Maggie Weston from Exo Squad.
- Turbine, a member of the Road Crew in Ben 10, is a villainous version.
- Casey from Denver, the Last Dinosaur.
- Wing Commander Academy has the Irish Green Eyed Red Head Maya McEaddens.
- Ahsoka has apparently taken a level of this over the course of the series' sporadic timeline; by the time of the Mortis trilogy of episodes, she's capable of fixing a badly crashed shuttle by herself and modifying it as needed.
- Apple Bloom from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has shown signs that this is where her potential lies.
- Rosie the Riveter from the U.S. World War II propaganda. And, obviously, all the female mechanics used in propaganda.
- Elizabeth Hawes' book about working in an aircraft plant during WWII is titled Why Women Cry; or Wenches With Wrenches.
- Kari Byron and Scottie Chapman from Myth Busters. And now, Jessi Combs. Pattern, much?
- Back in the day, Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II) was one. She was trained as an army mechanic during World War II; she served as an ambulance driver, but British vehicles being what they are, she had to be trained as a mechanic too.
- Rosie's Girls is a day camp for preteen girls that teaches, among other things, welding, carpentry, wiring, engineering, and presumably advanced badassness.
- Photographer Dave Perry has made an entire career out of shooting models working on hot rods. He admits in the introduction that his inspiration was a young woman working in a desert junkyard.
- Marilyn Monroe was discovered working in a factory (during World War II). Marilyn Fucking Monroe.
- Mike Holmes has made a point of supporting women going into construction trades on his shows Holmes On Homes and its sequels. He hired Corin "Pinky" Ames on air after she completed an internship with him, and Kate Campbell and Mike's daughter Sherry are regular members of his crew.
- There are self-help bike repair shops in Germany (and possibly other places in Europe) where you have to repair your bike by yourself and only pay for the materials used. They are run by volunteers who help you if you're stuck, and many of these volunteers are girls who do this in their free time.
- If Kaylee and Jayne had a daughter, it would be this girl. The best part is that she's not even trying; it's all from her eyes and smile.
- Germany's Lina van de Mars. Come for the cars, stay for the hot mechanic.
- Deep under the Russian city of Norilsk is a mine called Mayak. The duty of supervising the fuel, and fueling the machines, falls to Irina Martinets, the "Queen of the Filling Station". In some of the pictures, she is personally pushing some large vehicles and handling oil drums.
- Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. In the first half of 1800. That's right: even before the first computer - she invented algorithms for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, which is considered the "ancestor" of modern computers.
- Pornstar Phoenix Marie is a lovely and feminine woman ...who rebuilds classic cars, rides and maintains Harleys and plays soccer and baseball in her spare time. (She rebuilds plenty of things, including her own appearance, from her natural dark blonde to brunette and back to blonde again, from B-cup to DD-cup and from plump to thin and back.)