Movie Talk

Shailene Woodley to Chop Off, Donate Luscious Locks for Cancer Patient Role

Movie Talk

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Shailene Woodley at an event in New York in late July (Photo: Mike Pont/FilmMagic)

Shailene Woodley — along with her long, flowing hair — has been busy earning herself a spot on the shortlist of blazing hot young movie stars. In the grand tradition of growing up on film, she's taking it all off — or rather, cutting it all off.

Woodley is set to star as cancer patient Hazel Lancaster in the film adaptation of popular young-adult author John Green's novel "The Fault in Our Stars," and for the role she has decided to chop off her hair (this upcoming weekend, according to Green) and subsequently donate the disembodied, gorgeous strands.

And it was a hard hairdo decision to make. ...

Whether she's fighting in the dystopian future or trading barbs with George Clooney, Woodley's physical appearance has been largely defined by her flowing hair. But now is the time for her to change it up, and not without some serious consideration.

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In a post on her newly-created Tumblr (which was made just in advance of her hair announcement), Woodley waxed rhapsodic about her hair, writing: "for the past five years i’ve been on an i-want-to-grow-my-hair-as-long-as-possible kick. before cutting it for a project last december, it was almost down to my bum. holy wow it was long."

Why the long locks in the first place? Woodley wrote, "after much thought and curiosity surrounding the subject [of my hair], i finally came to the conclusion that hair, for me, was a symbol of strength. it was a symbol of commitment to my power. of connection to my ancestry. of recognizing my natural beauty. that which exists without chemical dyes, or hairspray, or scissors. a symbol of my sovereignty. of my humble desire to feel grounded within my own skin. not the image magazines and reality shows desperately try to throw in our faces, but the image of authentic beauty."

Given her deep attachment to her hair, does she then have any qualms about cutting it all off? According to Woodley, she was inspired and excited to cut her hair after her brother shared a Regina Spektor song, which contained the lyrics "Maybe you should just cut your own hair, ‘cause that can be so funny / It doesn’t cost any money and it always grows back, hair grows even after you’re dead."

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In the face of hearing those words, Woodley wrote: "i was immediately inspired to cut my own hair off with abandon. shed old layers and practice the art of playfulness. out of nowhere, i did a complete 360. i went from sacralizing the length of my hair, to appreciating the spontaneity of chopping it off. and also recognizing the beauty of freedom. i think there is something so exceptionally admirable about one’s commitment to allowing their face to shine without hair blocking it. it’s all about balance i suppose. about knowing what’s right for you on your own personal journey. there was a time when growing my hair out symbolized something for me, but the power of sharing that choice, sharing the ability to have long hair with someone feels far more powerful right now. i know what it feels like to have wind blow through my wavy locks, and i am over-the-top grateful i get to share that gift with another."

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Woodley is donating her hair to Children with Hair Loss, an organization that provides free wigs to kids suffering from illness or injuries that result in the loss of their own hair. Both Woodley and author Green are asking those in the Tumblr community to consider cutting off and donating 8" (the necessary number to make a wig) of hair to Children with Hair Loss, and to tag their hair-centric posts with the tags "hairforhazel" and "itgrowsback."

While this isn't the first time an actor has cut (or shaved) off his or her hair for a role, you have to hand it to Woodley, an actress known for her hair, to show such consideration and respect for the real people who face her character's plight. Whether you're whipping your hair back and forth or rocking a much shorter 'do, it's worth remembering, as Woodley evidently does, that though there's freedom in celebrating your physical appearance, it's pretty darn great to pass on that ability to others.

[Related: 'True Blood's' Sam Trammell Joins Shailene Woodley in 'The Fault in Our Stars' (Exclusive)]

Since playing George Clooney's daughter in 2011's "The Descendants," Woodley's been attached to a number of high profile roles — buzzy roles, including YA heroine Tris in the upcoming "Divergent," Mary Jane Watson in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (a role which has since been cut), and as an indie teen sweetheart in critical darling "The Spectacular Now."

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