‘Boy Meets World’: Rider Strong ‘Hated’ the Haircut He Had While Playing Shawn Hunter

Rider Strong’s shiny hairstyle he became known for playing Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World may have been coveted by young viewers but the former child star couldn’t stand it. Ahead, learn why Strong “hated” the hairstyle and how he got the look in the first place.  

He auditioned with the hairstyle and it became part of his character

As many actors have learned, once a hairstyle or certain outfit becomes part of their character, they’re stuck with it for the duration of the project. That’s exactly what happened when a 12-year-old Strong auditioned for the part of Shawn Hunter, the laid-back best friend of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage). 

Rider Strong, 1995
Rider Strong, 1995 | Ron Wolfson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

During an interview with Cosmopolitan in Oct. 2013, Strong shared that he showed up to his audition with his hair parted down the center after girls suggested it to him at a sleepover.

“A bunch of girls at a sleepover told me to wear my hair like that—parted down the center—and I was 12, so I listened,” Strong said. “It was my version of Christian Slater,” he added.

He continued, saying the director of Boy Meets World had him keep the look when he landed the role. “I came to the audition with that hairstyle, got the part, and the director Michael Jacobs never let me cut it from there on out.”

Rider Strong: ‘I wanted to cut my hair so bad’

What became frustrating for Strong had been the amount of time he spent in hair and makeup getting Shawn’s signature look before filming. 

“I hated my hair,” he said saying his hair isn’t naturally straight. “But my hair is wavy and they would straighten it on the show and it would take forever.” 

Rider Strong and Ben Savage
Rider Strong and Ben Savage | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

It got to the point where Strong wanted nothing more than the chop off his head of hair his character, Shawn, became known for on the show. The actor got his wish when Boy Meets World came to an end in May 2000. 

“I wanted to cut my hair so bad, but the only time I got to was when we found out the show was going to be canceled,” he said. 

Today, Strong sports a hairstyle nothing like the sitcom character he’s known for playing. After Boy Meets World the actor said goodbye to his flowing hair days and now at 40-years-old, Strong wears a short hairstyle (and facial hair) that we bet doesn’t require a straightener. 

Rider Strong, 2018
Rider Strong, 2018 | Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images

He wasn’t the only ‘Boy Meets World’ actor who spent a lot of time getting their hair done

As many Boy Meets World viewers may fondly remember, hair became a recurring storyline on the show. Eric Matthews (Will Friedle), Cory’s lovable but sometimes dimwitted older brother, had a similar hairstyle to Shawn — flowing hair parted down the center — and often made comments about his hair to other characters on the show.

And in one of the show’s most memorable episodes, Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel) cut off her long hair to prove a point and soon became obsessed with her looks. Then Cory became concerned about his own physical appearance — he compared himself to Mr. Potato Head — and wouldn’t even look at himself in the mirror.

In addition to she storylines and one-liners about hair, the actors spent a lot of time in hair and makeup getting their hair to look like it did on the show.

Friedle shared snapshots from the set of Boy Meets World showing Fishel and Savage wearing hair curlers. “With SO much hair on the show it took us all a while to get ready,” he wrote in the caption. 

In another throwback photo, Friedle posted a picture of a young Savage son the set of what appears to be Cory and Eric’s bedroom wearing curlers and not looking particularly happy.

Check out all the hairstyles on Boy Meets World by watching the series on Disney+.