‘Felicity’ Star Keri Russell Reveals a Joke Actually Led To That Infamous Haircut

Most recently, actor Keri Russell wowed critics and fans with her performance as a KGB spy in The Americans. However, it’s her role as Felicity Porter in Felicity, the classic WB series, that many people remember her for even 20 years later.

The TV show featured many memorable moments, most notably Felicity’s infamous haircut. Turns out, the title character going with a new look started as a joke. 

Keri Russell visits Build Series
Keri Russell visits Build Series | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

‘Felicity’ catapulted Keri Russell to a new level of fame

Russell was just 21 years old when Felicity premiered. The WB (now The CW) aired the pilot on Sept. 29, 1998. Russell played the title role of Felicity, a shy high school student who changed her college plans because of a classmate she had a crush on. 

At their graduation ceremony, Felicity asked her crush, Ben Covington (Scott Speedman), to sign her yearbook. He sat down and wrote a heartfelt message much to Felicity’s surprise. The moment made Felicity decide to follow Ben to New York City and attend college there. 

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Viewers responded positively to Felicity and before the show’s first season came to an end Russell had reached a new level of fame. Prior to starring on Felicity, Russell had lesser-known acting gigs. She even had a small part on Boy Meets World but none resonated as much as Felicity.

Russell went on to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama for her portrayal of Felicity, according to IMDb

Felicity joined the WB’s lineup of other popular programs that have become iconic such as Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Today, the coming of age series remains one of Russell’s most well-known roles if not her most recognizable. 

Keri Russell faked Felicity’s short hair with a wig

At the 2018 ATX TV festival, the Felicity cast reunited to discuss the series. According to TODAY, Russell explained the origin story behind her character’s haircut that caused an uproar among fans. As she told it, the haircut was initially a joke for Felicity creators J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves. 

“The way it all totally went down, was they were wrapping up the first season … and the hair people were putting away everything they had into boxes and there was a little boy’s wig,” Russell said.

Scott Foley, Keri Russell, and Scott Speedman
Scott Foley, Keri Russell, and Scott Speedman in a promotional image for Felicity | Getty Images

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“We put it on me at like 2 in the morning as a joke … and we took a Polaroid and over the summer we thought it’d be really funny to send to J.J. (Abrams) and Matt (Reeves) and say, ‘I cut my hair — hope you like it.’ Totally as a joke,” Russell said.

She continued, saying the joke became the inspiration for Felicity’s haircut in season 2.

“I was with my girlfriends at some lake and I got this phone call … and [Abrams] said, ‘Hey, we got your picture.’ No laughing. No nothing. ‘Would you really cut your hair?’ And I was like, ‘I guess?’” she said. 

Russell’s character debuted her shorter hair in Felicity Season 2 Episode 2: “The List.” The episode aired on Oct. 3, 1999, and led to backlash from fans about Felicity cutting her signature curly hair. 

‘Felicity’ ratings took a dip, some blamed it on the haircut

After Russell showed off Felicity’s new haircut the show’s ratings took a turn for the worse. Some even attributed the decrease in viewers to her character’s new look.

According to E!, whenever a TV character contemplates changing their hair it was then referred to as “pulling a Felicity.” Today, Felicity’s haircut is just as iconic as Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” hairstyle on Friends. Watch every season of Felicity on the ABC app.

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