Unlike her sweet character on Jane the Virgin, Gina Rodriguez is taking on a much different role in the new movie Annihilation. And getting into playing the tough-talking, gun-toting medic Anya Thorensen required a physical transformation as well — namely, a significant haircut. Rodriguez first revealed the big chop on Instagram in 2016 (Annihilation filmed that year) but revealed to Yahoo Entertainment its psychological ramifications.
A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on May 4, 2016 at 1:49pm PDT
“It was hellish,” Rodriguez says about the cut. “It was rough. I think going into it [director] Alex [Garland] was like, ‘Hey, do you mind cutting your hair?’ I was like, ‘It’s just hair whatever, yeah.’ For you, I’ll shave it, I’ll go bald. Whatever you want.”
But that nonchalant attitude didn’t stay for long. At the time, Rodriguez was keeping her hair long for her part on Jane the Virgin. “My hair was like 13 inches longer,” she explains. “And then I wrapped Jane and … two days later they cut my ponytail off and shaved the sides of my head, and I did not recognize myself, and I did not know how to feel about myself.”
Thankfully, Rodriguez ended up embracing her new look and posted on Instagram in 2016 that “there is nothing more freeing than realizing your beauty comes from within.”
I cut my hair for a film and there is nothing more freeing then realizing your beauty exists from within. I am not my hair. I am not my weight. I am not my skin color. I am love, I want to be love with every interaction, with every decision I make for myself, with every failure and success. You should try it. I dare you. Let go of what you think would make you more beautiful and discover you have all you need already inside. @mattdoylephoto
A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on May 27, 2016 at 1:27pm PDT
While speaking to Yahoo Entertainment, her Annihilation co-star Tessa Thompson also applauded her transformation.
“I was more excited for her,” Thompson tells us. “I think it’s exciting as an actor to look in the mirror and not recognize yourself. To me, that’s the beauty of what we do.”
Annihilation opens in theaters today.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: