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Shailene Woodley gets shorn, launches hair-donation trend

August 19, 2013|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Shailene Woodley in July, still with long hair.
Shailene Woodley in July, still with long hair. (Matt Sayles/Invision/Associated…)

Step aside, Beyoncé: When Shailene Woodley decided to chop off her locks, she started a trend.

Woodley, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" actress who played George Clooney's daughter in the Oscar-winning film "The Descendants," has always appeared on-screen with a long, flowing mane of hair. But for her upcoming role, she's chopped it off.

She'll be playing Hazel Lancaster in the adaptation of John Green's bestselling young adult novel "The Fault in Our Stars," a romance between two teenagers who meet in a cancer kids support group. Her cut hair is going to Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit that provides human hair replacement to kids with medical hair loss -- kids such as the characters in "The Fault in Our Stars."

On a brand new Tumblr, Woodley wrote, "hair, for me, was a symbol of strength. it was a symbol of commitment to my power. of connection to my ancestry. of recognizing my natural beauty. that which exists without chemical dyes, or hairspray, or scissors. a symbol of my sovereignty. of my humble desire to feel grounded within my own skin. not the image magazines and reality shows desperately try to throw in our faces, but the image of authentic beauty. funky hairlines included! (anyone else have an eccentric hairline? because mine decided to be super-original and all over the place)…. allowing my genetics to take control and produce long, luscious locks was my way of paying homage to my kindred spirit. i felt powerful, in control, strong. i felt connected to my womanhood, connected to my ancestors… and for the longest time, i was committed to never chopping it off. cut to: now. on saturday, it will be the shortest it’s ever been."

Here she is with her new cut.

But it's not just one Hollywood starlet's hair that's going to kids. Woodley, Green and friends put out the call for more donations from those willing to part with their locks.

"When Shailene told me about this, I immediately thought there might be people in nerdfighteria who want to join her," Green wrote on his Tumblr. "So if you have eight or more inches of spare hair, consider donating it to Children With Hair Loss. I want to be clear that this was entirely Shai’s idea. (I don’t even think the studio knows about it.) I hope if you’re able, you’ll consider joining Shai in donating. Thanks!"

Using the hashtags #hairforhazel and #itgrowsback, fans are posting their plans to cut their hair on Tumblr. Many have posted before-and-after photos; Green is compiling them here.

The support shows how fiction can bleed over into the real world. And the most moving responses to Woodley's haircut are those from people who have something in common with Hazel. Like Erin Tarantino, who tweeted, "can't wait to see you as Hazel. Lost my hair to cancer but ! 7 months cancer free ."


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