Back in January, Amandla Stenberg (who uses the pronouns “they” and “them”) debuted a new buzz cut on Instagram as a sneak peek to their upcoming film, Where Hands Touch, which is set in Nazi Germany.
We weren’t surprised to see the 18-year-old make such a major change to their appearance, as Stenberg has been on quite a personal hair journey so far. From styling their “big” hair into one “giant poof” to straightening their curls with keratin treatments, they felt pressured to adhere to racist standards of beauty that are perpetuated in the media.
“I still have moments once in a while where I feel the need to conform, but that’s also not really my — those are not my original ideas, like I don’t really feel that inside,” Stenberg told Glamour magazine.
Stenberg did a “Big Chop” to remove damaged tresses and grew back healthy, naturally curly hair. Since then, we’ve seen the activist-actor wear many different hairstyles, including sleek topknots, cornrows, box braids, and curly Afros. But we’d have to admit that it has been empowering to watch Stenberg boldly rock a buzz cut, especially when society has upheld long, flowy locks as the ideal.
Curious to see just how much Amandla Stenberg’s hair has changed? Take a walk down memory lane and click through the young star’s hair evolution.
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Chic curly chignon
Amandla Stenberg attends The Hunger Games Los Angeles Premiere on March 12, 2012. (Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Amandla Stenberg arrives at Entertainment Weekly‘s Comic-Con celebration at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 14, 2012. (Photo: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)
Braided banded pigtails
Amandla Stenberg arrives at The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Los Angeles premiere at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Nov. 12, 2012. (Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
Glossy shoulder-length ringlets
Amandla Stenberg on Dec. 15, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for vitaminwater)
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Beautiful Creatures on Feb. 6, 2013, in Hollywood. (Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
Totally twisted topknot
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the premiere of Peeples at ArcLight Hollywood on May 8, 2013. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Pulled-back curly pony
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the 11th annual Teen Vogue Young Hollywood Party With Emporio Armani on Sept. 27, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Ornate headband and curly updo
Amandla Stenberg arrives for the 44th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on Feb. 1, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 22, 2014, in Beverly Hills.(Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Cornrows and beads
Amandla Stenberg attends Teen Vogue‘s 12th Annual Young Hollywood issue launch party on Sept. 26, 2014, in Beverly Hills. (Photo: JB Lacroix/WireImage)
Mermaid waves and straight bangs
Amandla Stenberg attends Variety and Women in Film Emmy nominee celebration on Aug. 23, 2014, in West Hollywood. (Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Variety)
Side curly pony
Amandla Stenberg attends the 2015 NBCUniversal summer press day held at the the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on April 02, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif.(Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Taped curly ‘fro
Amanda Stenberg attends the Acura Studio at Sundance Film Festival 2016 on Jan. 26, 2016, in Park City, Utah. (Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Acura)
Copper box braids
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the Sundance Next Fest premiere of Morris From America on Aug. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Bronze short coils
Amandla Stenberg attends the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week on March 7, 2017. (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
Amandla Stenberg attends the premiere of Everything, Everything on May 6, 2017, in Hollywood. (Photo: Brandon Williams/WireImage)