WARNING: The following contains spoilers from season 2 of Big Little Lies.
Shailene Woodley has revealed the reason behind her Big Little Lies character’s much discussed new hairstyle in season 2.
The HBO star, 27, explained in a recent interview that the change in Jane Chapman’s appearance in the new season is symbolic of a weight being lifted off her shoulders after her sexual assailant, Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård) died at the end of season 1.
“I’ve been in this position in my life where, after a major breakup, triumph or celebration or after a big change, a lot of people alter the way they look,” Woodley told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday. “I know for myself, it’s always been haircuts and piercings. That’s been my way of moving forward in new chapters of my life.”
“I felt that for Jane, she’s carried this weight of not feeling in her own body because of what happened to her for eight years,” the Fault in Our Stars actress continued. “She felt disconnected from her own identity on not just an emotional and mental level, but on a physical level as well.”
Woodley went on to say that when she was thinking about Jane’s character arc for the new season, she “felt like maybe two or three weeks after that incident [Perry’s death] she would have woken up one morning, looked at herself in the mirror and thought, ‘This isn’t who I am anymore. This monster is gone, and I’m not going to let him live in me or control me any longer.'”
“In that moment, I feel like she took a pair of scissors and cut her bangs herself,” Woodley said. “And she went through her closet and gathered up almost everything and took it to the nearest clothing swap store and donated it and got new clothes in order to reestablish and be in control of her identity again.”
“I felt like that would have been her reclaiming her space, even if it was a subconscious decision, because this ghost who has been a part of her identity for so long had then left on the physical level,” she added.
Woodley’s hair and makeup stylist, Claudia Humburg, previously told The Cut that the bangs were meant to mark change and that they were Woodley’s idea.
“We wanted to show a little bit of a change,” Humburg told the outlet. “Her life has moved on; she is still trying to pull her life together.”
Humburg said bangs were a simple way to make a statement, adding, “She’s a strong woman, and she can pull it off.”
The bangs are even mentioned in the season 2 premiere episode, when Madeline McKenzie (Reese Witherspoon) tells Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), “I’m beating myself up that I told Jane I like her bangs.”
Humburg said Madeline’s comment was “a funny way for the director to address the issue.”
The stylist added that because “Jane Chapman is very simple in styling,” her bangs are meant to look like she could have done them herself, saying that they aren’t supposed to look like they came “from a $500 Hollywood hairdresser,” even though some of the other moms at Otter Bay Elementary sport perfectly coifed hairstyles.
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After the first episode initially aired on June 9, Jane’s new bangs were one of the most discussed parts of the premiere online.
Several outlets published pieces about the hairstyle, with headlines like “Shailene Woodley’s Bangs were the Most Dramatic Part of Big Little Lies” and “Jane’s Bangs Are the Talk of Twitter After Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Premiere.”
“A crime has been committed in Monterey and its Shailene Woodley’s bangs #BigLittleLies” one fan wrote on Twitter.
Another tweeted, “someone needs to sit down with shailene woodley and give her an honest talking to about those bangs.”
“I disagree with Jane’s bangs but I understand them,” wrote another Twitter user.
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