There's a reason Jane Chapman has such a stark new 'do in Big Little Lies Season 2.
Throughout the first season, Jane (Shailene Woodley) had a beachy, no-fuss hairstyle, but in Season 2 she showed up with severe bangs and a darker hair color. Fans might have assumed Jane picked up on some of Celeste's (Nicole Kidman) signature style now that the two have so much more in common with one another, but according to Woodley, the new haircut has a much deeper meaning than that.
Woodley spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Jane's mindset in the new season now that she's identified the man who raped her so many years before — and she knows he won't hurt anyone else. In Season 2, Jane has been freer to speak of the atrocity in plain language, even to her son Ziggy (Iain Armitage). And her lopped-off bangs are a subtle testament to her resilience.
The actress told THR that she drew from her own tendency to alter her look in the wake of a major life changes, channeling that into giving Jane more agency over her own body. "At the end of Season 1 when Perry died, I felt like maybe two or three weeks after that incident 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,'" Woodley said. "In that moment, I feel like she took a pair of scissors and cut her bangs herself."
It wasn't just her hair that got a major overhaul either. Woodley added that Jane "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."
For Woodley, Jane is reclaiming her identity on a mental and physical level, and the haircut is just one visible manifestation of the changes in her life. Season 2 has also seen Jane reclaiming herself in her words and behaviors, by way of her interactions with the other characters in her life — from her animal-loving new beau to the exhaustively incisive Mary Louise (Meryl Streep).
Big Little Lies airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.