12 Famous Women Whose Careers Skyrocketed After Dyeing Their Hair

by Jason Pham
Nov 8, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET

What a difference hair makes. It’s no secret natural hair color is somewhat of a myth in Hollywood. With so many celebrities switching up their natural-born shades for hues on the complete opposite end of the color spectrum, it’s near-impossible to track down what someone’s original hair looks like. And while most of us switch up our hair for vanity purposes, the right hairstyle in Hollywood can mean life or death for a star’s career.

When you’re starting out in the business, everything counts —
even the strands of hair on your head. So when celebrities like Emma Stone and Amy Adams weren’t booking roles as blondes, they went straight to the hair dye, kissed their sun-kissed locks goodbye and became gingers, which is when the parts started rolling in.

And while the right color is different for everyone (for Stone and Adams, it might be red; for others, it might be black or brown), one thing is for sure: If it’s not working, dye it. Ahead, peek at 12 famous women whose careers exploded after dying their hair.


Originally posted on StyleCaster. 

1 /12: Emma Stone

1/12 :Emma Stone

Though she's primarily known for her fiery red locks, Stone is a natural blonde. She spent years trying to break into Hollywood with lighter-colored locks before testing out her luck as a brunette. Then when she was booked on 2007's Superbad (the film that eventually became her big break), the movie's producer, Judd Apatow, asked her to dye her hair red. Obliging, Stone crossed over to the ginger side, and after booking significant projects like The House Bunny and Easy A, she seemed to take a liking to the color. Now, however, the actor switches between her iconic red and her natural blond for films like The Amazing Spider-Man series and her new Netflix series, Maniac.

“Judd made me a redhead,” Stone told the East Valley Tribune. “I was a brunette during casting. Then Judd walked in, said 'Make it red,’ and walked out. So he made me this way.”

2 /12: Mandy Moore

2/12 :Mandy Moore

Moore first broke onto the Hollywood scene as a bubbly blond pop-singing teenager. Though after she transitioned to acting, the This Is Us star ditched her natural blond hair color for a more subdued mousy brunette — which has become her signature shade. The actor first went brunette for the 2002 movie A Walk to Remember. After seeing her career skyrocket, she thought it was best to stick with the chocolate-brown shade.

"There was a real significance to coloring my hair," she told Us Weekly. "As silly as it sounds, there was a real significance in the way that people saw me, but also in the way that I carried myself and that I saw myself."

3 /12: Amy Adams

3/12 :Amy Adams

In an interview with The Washington Post, Adams, who is a natural blonde, revealed she was consistently typecast as the "bitchy girl" before she went red. It wasn't until the five-time Oscar nominee, who is now known for playing sweet, innocent roles, dyed her hair ginger that she saw her career really catching steam.

"Everyone's always like: 'You're so typecast,'" she said. "But actually, when I came out to L.A., I was always the bitchy girl."

4 /12: Christina Hendricks

4/12 :Christina Hendricks

Hendricks, who started out as a model, is a natural blonde. For one shoot, the photographer asked her to dye her hair red, a shade she'd always wanted to try. After the photo shoot, when her modeling agency saw her hair color, Hendricks was asked to dye it back — something she refused to do after seeing more and more jobs booked in the short time she had red hair. The Mad Men star stuck with the color and hasn't looked back since.

"I booked two or three jobs, because there were a lot fewer redheads than blondes, and I was like, this is working for me, I'm keeping this!" Hendricks told The Daily Mail.

5 /12: Deborah Ann Woll

5/12 :Deborah Ann Woll

Like a lot of women on this list, Woll felt she "disappeared into the background" with her natural blond hair. The True Blood actor, who said she's felt that way about her natural hair color since she was a young child, first dyed her hair red in high school. She kept the color when she started acting, which is when she booked a role on the HBO vampire series. And though Woll has dabbled with blond for roles, she admitted in an interview with Elle, "I really like the red."

6 /12: Dita Von Teese

6/12 :Dita Von Teese

As a natural blonde, Von Teese felt out of place. In an interview with Into the Gloss, she admitted her natural hair color made her look more like a California girl, a look she could never really lock down. Sometime down the road, she dyed her hair red. Not feeling it, Von Teese decided to go back to blond. Though she was told the only way to do that was to dye her hair jet-black, she revealed in her book, Your Beauty Mark. Taking a liking to her super-dark hair, the beauty mogul kept the color, which has become a staple in super-retro aesthetic.

7 /12: Gwen Stefani

7/12 :Gwen Stefani

Believe it or not, Stefani isn't a natural blonde. The singer, who was born a brunette, dyed her hair platinum blond in high school as the result of a breakup. Though the bleach was only meant to get her through her heartache, Stefani kept the color for career reasons. Shortly after dying her hair, her music career with No Doubt started taking off.

"I remember my boyfriend and I had just broken up, and I was like 'I don't care how much it costs, I'm getting my hair bleached!'" Stefani told Teen Vogue. "That's really when everything changed. We had already written all the Tragic Kingdom songs, and that was the moment that sort of started the next chapter."

8 /12: Leighton Meester

8/12 :Leighton Meester

Meester, a natural blonde, almost didn't land her iconic role as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl until she went in as a brunette. When the actor auditioned for the show, her on-screen BFF, played by Blake Lively, was already cast. Given that the show's creators preferred Lively's character as a blonde, Meester had to make a choice. Eventually, the actor dyed her hair mousy brown, which is the same color (more or less) she's been sporting years after Gossip Girl went off the air.

“She came in and she was really funny, and really smart and played vulnerable,” Gossip Girl cocreator, Josh Schwartz, told Vanity Fair. “But there was one problem: she was blonde. And Blake was blonde, obviously; Serena had to be blonde. So, [Leighton] went to the sink and dyed her hair. She wanted it.”

9 /12: Olivia Wilde

9/12 :Olivia Wilde

As a blonde, her natural hair color, Wilde found it hard to book roles in Hollywood. In an interview with Into the Gloss, Wilde revealed she first experimented with her hair on The O.C., where she added a purple streak. Seeing a noticeable difference, she dyed her whole head brunette, which is when she really saw her career take off. As a brunette, Wilde said she received significantly more "intellectual" roles.

"When I went brunette, the roles went to more, ‘She’s a waitress with a heart of gold, and a tough life,’ or ‘She’s a doctor.’ And I always wondered—would I have been offered those roles had I still been blonde? I don’t think so," she said. "When you’re blonde, it’s like you have a giant highlighter on your head; people can’t help but stare. So, it definitely changes how people think of you.”

10 /12: Alyson Hannigan

10/12 :Alyson Hannigan

As a natural brunette, Hannigan found it hard to book roles. So when she landed her breakout job on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the '90s, the actor was happy to dye her hair. In an interview with PopSugar, Hannigan revealed that creator Joss Whedon asked the cast who wanted to go red considering all three leading ladies were natural brunettes. Given her experience, Hannigan gladly volunteered, sticking with the color even through nine seasons of her other smash television show How I Met Your Mother.

"Joss [Whedon] had us all over to his house," she said. "Charisma and Sarah and I all had brown hair at the time. Joss said, 'All of your hair is kind of the same shade. Does anyone want to be red?' I went for it."

11 /12: Marilyn Monroe

11/12 :Marilyn Monroe

Contrary to belief, Monroe isn't a natural blonde. The actor was actually born a brunette, which led to sweeter and more innocent roles in her early career. When she made the jump to platinum blond, she saw a total shift in her career. The actor, who changed her name from Norma Jeane Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe around the same time, began seeing her sweet-girl typecast replaced with sexier bombshell roles.

12 /12: Lucille Ball

12/12 :Lucille Ball

Though the actor is best known for her fiery red hair on the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy, she was actually born as a brunette. In her early years, Ball's career was going steady with her brunette hair, with a couple of modeling and acting gigs here and there, but it wasn't until she dyed her hair bright red for I Love Lucy that she became the comedy legend we know today.