“My Teachers Asked If It Was A Wig” Zazie Beetz Will Not Be Straightening Her Hair For ‘Deadpool 2’
Actors are no strangers to losing or gaining weight, rocking hella makeup or shaving their heads for roles if it means making a character come to life. But what about when directors and casting agents call for changes to an actor’s appearance that don’t make or break the role, but are simply more “traditionally accepted” by Hollywood? Actresses such as Issa Rae and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have recently shared they’ve encountered auditions where they were told they would have to leave the afros, locs and cornrows at home to which they promptly declined. Zazie Beetz is another actress to declare she won’t be changing her hairstyle to conform to outdated industry standards.
Beetz will play Marvel antihero “Domino” opposite in Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming Deadpool 2. The actress once shared that her hair which she often wears in a wild afro has landed her a lot of roles such as Vanessa “Van” Keefer, the on and off girlfriend of Donald Glover’s character “Earn” on FX network’s Atlanta. But in the past she’s also stated that her hair would never land her the leading role in a Marvel film noting, “Curly hair is popular now, but I don’t think you will necessarily get casted as the lead in a Marvel movie with an afro.” However, in a recent interview with Vogue it appears her hair is exactly what Deadpool 2 director David Leitch was looking for when casting the role, even though the original comic book character sports choppy, black strands. Beetz said she was “shocked”:
“For David and Ryan, my hair being bold and strong helps Domino come across as bold and strong.”
Beetz says Glover casting her and her hair in Atlanta has opened up a lot of doors for her natural look to play center stage in Hollywood. He once shared that he wanted her to relate to the character as much as possible, but also he just wanted to see more women that looked like her on screen:
“Zazie’s hair isn’t straightened, and I wanted her to relate to Van as much as possible.”
“Plus, you don’t see it enough.”
Beetz shares the role on Atlanta has accomplished what Glover set out to do and has resonated with fans who often approach her expressing, “Oh, my God, that’s me!”.
But the 26-year-old recalls a time when her identity wasn’t so celebrated, and shares that as a student at Manhattan’s LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, teachers didn’t always know how to respond to her bold look:
“My teachers asked if it was a wig, and strangers on the street came up and touched my hair.”
Beetz said the gestures actually emboldened her to go on auditions, although casting directors didn’t seem nearly as fascinated by her look and would offer her the condescending advice of:
“All right, love your hair, but try to keep it more CBS.”
Beetz, who also will star in the upcoming horror flick, Slice opposite Chance The Rapper, shares preparing for the role of Domino has had its share of up’s and down’s including vigorous weight-lifting and hand-to-hand combat exercises, but it has caused her to take a more serious approach to health and beauty. She’s even started creating her own skin salves, an activity that also serves as a meditative practice:
“I throw everything in a bowl and blend it until it’s fluffy and wonderful.”
She reveals “everything” consists of of a batch of oils (jojoba, coconut, olive), shea butter, vitamin E, and vanilla extract that she recently prepared during a restless night.
“My boyfriend says I should sell it.”
As for her role in Slice, Beetz says her familiar afro will follow her:
“It’s incredibly freeing to be able to show people that this is a viable way to wear your hair—on-screen and in the world. Doors are opening.”