Shailene Woodley’s Hair in ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Snowden,’ and More Caused Controversy

Shailene Woodley is an accomplished actor known for her role in the blockbuster Divergent movie trilogy. She also captivated audiences with her heartfelt portrayal of a teenager fighting cancer in The Fault in Our Stars. 

Engaged to NFL great Aaron Rodgers, the 29-year-old actor received an Emmy nomination in 2017 for her portrayal of Jane Chapman in the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies

Despite her astounding success, fans constantly struggle with the actor’s ever-changing looks. Woodley has transformed her appearance several times for different roles, and each time seems to create a stir with her faithful followers.

What was Shailene Woodley thinking with those bangs?

Woodley’s character in Big Little Lies was a single mother struggling to overcome the trauma of a sexual assault. She wore a nondescript ponytail typical of someone that does not want to be noticed.

In season 2 of the eight-time Emmy award-winning television series, Woodley shocked viewers with a brand-new look. Fans immediately took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with her choppy baby bangs.

Claudia Humburg, her hair and makeup stylist since 2014, told The Cut the bangs were Woodley’s idea. She explained how they wanted to show how her character was moving on, and bangs were a simple way to change her physical appearance. Woodley told Today, the drastic look was a way for her character to “reestablish and be in control of her identity again.”

Humburg described the new style as “short, blunt, simple.” She wanted the bangs to look like Chapman cut them herself. The stylist revealed “the bangs had to be cut and trimmed constantly throughout filming” but said styling was simple because “Woodley would just air dry them.”

Fans were not the only ones that didn’t like Woodley’s new black-haired edgy look. Reese Witherspoon’s character, Madeline, was talking on the phone during the first episode of season 2 and said, “I’m beating myself up that I told Jane I like her bangs.”

Who thought that wig was a good idea?

Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Woodley starred in Snowden with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, where she played Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend of the infamous whistleblower. Director Oliver Stone approved a mousy brown wig for Woodley to wear during the first half of the movie.

EOnline ponders why the “baffling wig” was used, lightheartedly saying, “They wanted the audience to be tricked into thinking that she is actually Jenny from Forrest Gump and that it was 1970 and not the 2010s.”

The Daily Mail showed photos from filming on location in Washington D.C., and it was obvious Woodley’s hairline was not her own. Reporters noted, “Her wig was longer and less styled than the one she wore for filming” the previous day when it was “layered and shorter.”

Chopping it all off

Ironically, in 2015, one year before filming Snowden, Woodley refused to wear a wig for Insurgent. In an interview with BuzzFeed, she said, “I talked to the director [Robert Schwentke] because I didn’t want to wear a wig. I think wigs always look wiggy, especially in an action movie.” She continued, “We’re running so much and doing so much, I think, technically, a wig would have looked quite sh**ty.”

Woodley got her way, and according to PopCrush, she got a “whole new look” for her role as Tris in Insurgent. Gone were her long brown flowing locks, replaced by a short blonde pixie cut.

It wasn’t a far reach since she already had short hair from her role in The Fault in Our StarsFor her role as a cancer patient, she had to cut off her long tresses for the film. Woodley loved the overall aesthetic saying it was cool to play a young heroine with short hair.

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