Unique: Actress Cleopatra Coleman on How Shaving Her Head Modified Her Profession


“The longer term is feminine and it doesn’t contain styling merchandise.” This phrase underscores a meme that started circulating the web within the spring of 2018. The photographs function screengrabs of three fictional characters from Black Panther, Stranger Issues, and Mad Max, in addition to teen activist Emma González—all of whom have shaved heads. Although the meme stirred some controversy (in any case, the size of your hair doesn’t have a lot to do along with your energy), the picture of highly effective ladies sporting nontraditional magnificence seems has been inspiring for hundreds of ladies.

The newest badass Hollywood determine to affix the ring of sturdy, hairless females is actress Cleopatra Coleman. Chances are you’ll know the Australian performer for her function as Erica on the just-ended Fox collection The Final Man on Earth. She may be exhausting to acknowledge now, nonetheless—Coleman had a full head of hair whereas filming the present however determined to shave all of it off after seeing Black Panther a complete of 3 times in theaters and resolving that styling merchandise had been not for her both.

Coleman, who’s half Jamaican and half Australian, grew up in Wentworth Falls, Australia. There, she began her performing profession (as each an actor and a dancer), earlier than shifting stateside to catch her huge break. Her hometown was picturesque but additionally pretty whitewashed—as one of many solely mixed-race of us locally, Coleman “positively felt just like the odd one out numerous the time,” she says.

Now age 30, Coleman has spent the previous few years studying find out how to transfer previous not solely the sweetness requirements of her birthplace however of Hollywood too. “I’ve struggled with how a lot I need to lend myself to the trade and the way a lot I need to lend myself to my very own life,” she says. “Being an actress, I’ve typically felt like my physique wasn’t my very own.” Shaving her head felt like an emblem of self-reclamation for Coleman. A daring aesthetic transfer to match a daring skilled one, the change coincides with the discharge of the primary venture Coleman ever wrote, executive-produced, and starred in: a “feminist sci-fi” function movie referred to as Hover, which might be accessible in choose theaters June 29 and a number of other on-line streaming platforms July four.

Naming Solange and mannequin Adwoa Aboah as her two final magnificence icons, Coleman says that the shaved head has solely helped her profession—not injured it. She’s optimistic that girls of all backgrounds and professions have gotten more and more freer to experiment with unorthodox magnificence seems. “It’s a very cool, thrilling time,” she says. “I really feel like we’ve got such inclusivity in Hollywood now. Girls ought to simply do what the fuck we wish.”

We not too long ago had the pleasure of chatting with Coleman in regards to the relationship between hair and energy, her subsequent daring magnificence transfer, and extra. Maintain scrolling to learn our full dialog. 

What was your preliminary motivation for shaving your head? Has it modified the way you see your self?

It was one thing that had been steered to me in passing. So many instances, individuals would say I’d look cool with a shaved head. However I at all times thought I couldn’t do it as a result of I’m an actress or as a result of it would look bizarre. I used to be at all times afraid to do it. It was positively a private factor. An emotional factor. I didn’t even understand how a lot it was going to imply to me, however as quickly as I acquired the thought in my head, I knew it was one thing that I completely needed to do, irrespective of how scared I would get. 

I suppose I initially shaved it for a task, however the function isn’t taking place for some time, so I actually can’t say it was that absolutely. That was extra the seed that was planted in my head. Then I noticed Black Panther 3 times. I noticed all these badass warrior ladies on display. There are such a lot of issues about that film which might be superb and significant to me, however what actually stood out was how cool and robust the ladies appeared. I simply thought that was one thing that I actually needed to characterize. I needed to sharpen my sense of self. You recognize, I’ve worn my hair in so many alternative methods. I’ve reduce it into bobs; I’ve worn lengthy weaves down my again; I’ve let it develop pure. And being an actress since I used to be 15, individuals will say issues to you want, “Whenever you go and meet with this director, be sure you put on your hair down as a result of he’ll need to see it.” And when issues like which might be stated to you repeatedly over a 15-year profession, they may simply be little feedback, however they get to you. I didn’t like how a lot I used to be hanging onto these concepts of conventional magnificence and the way a lot I used to be hiding behind my hair. So after some time, it began to really feel like a burden. Prefer it was getting in the way in which of me trying within the mirror and seeing me, not the rest, and appreciating that. So it’s been revolutionary for me so far as my self-worth and never feeling like I want any add-ons. Now, once I take a look at an image of myself with hair from earlier than, it seems like I’m sporting a wig. Prefer it doesn’t belong.

Nearly such as you’re in costume.

Yeah, it’s so bizarre. When those that love me and know me rather well see me with my hair like this, they’re like, that is probably the most you you’ve ever appeared. 

Such a superb feeling.

It’s so cool. One of many coolest issues I believe I’ve ever performed.

Have individuals who don’t know you as nicely handled you in another way? Has the leisure trade handled you in another way?

Yeah! Once I first shaved my hair, it was right down to zero. Like utterly bald. It was really unimaginable. I documented the entire thing. My pal who’s a hairdresser, Golden Sunshine (sure, that’s her actual title), shaved it for me. Actually about midway via my third viewing of Black Panther, I turned to her and stated, you’re shaving my head after this. So anyway, now I get individuals actually on the road saying, “Love the brand new look!” or “This actually fits you!” As if by some means they knew it was new to me. That is one thing my boyfriend and I’ve observed. It’s like, how do they know that is my brand-new coiffure? How do they know I don’t put on my hair like this on a regular basis? Possibly I’ve been sporting my hair like this for years. I don’t know if there’s one thing about the way in which I’m carrying myself—like there’s a freshness to me.

Such as you’re newly in love or one thing. There’s a glow to you.

Yeah! In order that’s been actually fascinating. I suppose it’s simply not your common haircut, particularly when it was absolutely shaved to a zero. Now it’s at a couple of three, so extra a pixie vibe. But it surely’s nonetheless uncommon, and I find it irresistible.

I’m questioning in the event you assume it’s a coincidence that you just’ve come into this new androgynous coiffure as you’re beginning to direct and produce your individual tasks.

I completely relate to that. I imply the method of the film that I wrote began a few years in the past, once I had a ton of hair. However the film is popping out quickly. Folks at all times say you by no means end a film; you abandon it. It’s this fruits of so a few years of labor, blood, sweat, and tears. Particularly this movie—it was the primary function I’d ever written. And it was my first time being the lead in a movie. I wrote it as a result of I needed to take issues into my very own arms. So when it comes out, it’s going to really feel like this huge goodbye. I don’t understand how I’m gonna really feel shifting onto one thing else. So it does make sense that I might shave my hair on the similar time.

A variety of issues are altering round this time. The present I used to be on acquired cancelled after 4 years, which was kind of optimistic and unhappy. There’s numerous shedding happening. Additionally in my private life. I don’t know if that’s to do with my hair or if it’s simply the place I’m at, however I positively really feel extra highly effective. I positively really feel like extra of myself and extra pleased with who I’m. I really feel like I’ve extra perspective on life. I really feel extra free. I’ve been touring. It’s good to have the ability to leap in a river and Bali and never fear about what my hair is gonna do. I’ve at all times been so acutely aware about that. I additionally assume as a result of I grew up in Australia in a really white group, individuals would level out my hair rather a lot and make enjoyable of it, and even level it out in a optimistic sense. However both approach, I positively felt just like the odd one out numerous the time. So it’s at all times been this difficulty of interested by my hair. What am I gonna do with my hair? The place’s my hair proper now? Being an actor and on purple carpets, you’re at all times worrying about your flyaways, hoping every part’s in place. It might be an important picture, but when there’s a hair misplaced, I’m going to really feel unhealthy about that and it’s going to spoil my entire evening. I don’t need to be held to that. I simply need to be free.

So I positively really feel extra highly effective. And I’m writing a film a couple of lady with a shaved head. It’s like a feminist sci-fi film. So it’s all completely acceptable.

On a barely lighter notice, do you are inclined to do your make-up in another way with a shaved head?

Yeah, I do! I used to be by no means actually one for a smoky eye earlier than. I at all times favored it, however I simply felt prefer it was an excessive amount of with the hair, whereas now I’m actually embracing doing loopy issues like placing purple throughout my eyes or doing a giant smoky eye. It’s actually cool to have the ability to make my eyes pop extra.

Any merchandise you’re notably into?

Pat McGrath’s highlighter stick. She despatched it to me, and it’s probably the most unimaginable highlighter I’ve ever used. It’s a double-ended huge lipstick principally. One aspect is sort of a clear Vaseline virtually and the opposite is highlighter, so you might simply do a dewy look or add the glitter as nicely. I’ve been taking part in round with that rather a lot.

Do you will have any extra daring or bizarre magnificence seems that you just need to attempt sooner or later?

Oh yeah. I need to dye my hair. Bleach it. I need to do a vibrant orange factor like Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Component. There are such a lot of cool issues I can do with it now. I by no means had the balls to dye it earlier than once I had hair as a result of I knew it could most likely break off, however now I can simply dye it no matter shade I would like and shave it off, you already know? Begin once more. It’s actually releasing.

Being an actress, I’ve typically felt like my physique wasn’t my very own, or typically I’ve struggled with how a lot I need to lend myself to the trade and the way a lot I need to lend myself to my very own life. Generally I’ve performed issues like gone and gotten a tattoo simply to assert that that is my pores and skin, and I lend it to the trade to do what I really like after which I’ve it again so I could be myself. So the shaved head is like one other extension of that in one of the best ways attainable, and it’s been nothing however nice for my profession. I simply need to proceed to have a good time nontraditional magnificence requirements. I’ve at all times felt nontraditional rising up in Australia anyway. Dolly Parton has this superb quote: “Discover out who you’re after which do it on goal.” And that’s form of how I really feel like issues are going for me proper now.

Need extra superstar exclusives? Do not miss our interview and picture shoot with supermodel Adwoa Aboah.

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