Joey King, 19: ‘Every woman should shave her head at least once,’ it’s empowering


I watch a lot of shows “for my job,” so many actors are vaguely recognizable to me. I know Joey King, 19, from that 2016 Independence Day remake which I saw twice in theaters. (It was stupid fun, my standards are low.) Joey’s recent credits include Netflix’s Kissing Booth, which I haven’t seen yet. She just shaved her head for a role and she looks amazing. Joey posted a video of the process and a photo of herself afterwards to Instagram, those are above. This is actually the third time she’s shaved her head. She shaved it when she 11 for The Dark Knight Rises (and again when she was 14 for Zach Braff’s Wish I was Here. In an interview with Allure describing the process, Joey said it wasn’t scary at all and that it’s just hair. She also recommends that all women do this at least once and calls it freeing. Before shaving her head, Joey dyed her hair blue, then blonde. She shaved it this time for a new Hulu series called The Act in which she’s playing Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a woman who murdered her mother after she was a lifelong victim of Munchausen by proxy. (You may have heard about this story. There’s an HBO documentary about it which came out last year. A new Discovery documentary is coming out about it next month.)

She doesn’t consider it brave to shave her head
“I’ve never really had an attachment to my hair. I couldn’t care less what happens to it. No part of me was nervous or was second-guessing it. So many people would ask me, ‘Are you really scared?’ or ‘Are you nervous?’ or say, ‘You’re so brave.’ And I’d go, ‘I’m not brave, I’m just cutting my hair off.’”

She likes playing with makeup
“Some days I feel like just throwing on a little mascara, a little bit of a dewy highlight, and then some lip gloss and I’m gone. Some days I want to have a wing and a nice eye shadow,” she says of her routine in the days since she’s been buzzed. “But it’s honestly just a preference thing because makeup, especially when you have no hair, is so fun to play around with. I have so many different options.”

She experiments with her hair
“A little bit over a month ago, I decided, ‘Screw it, I’m going to go blonde. And then after I was blonde for a little while, before I shaved my head, I got this crazy idea and I just went to the store, got a box of blue hair dye, and my sister dyed my hair blue for me. And then I had my future brother-in-law [who is not a hairdresser], just on a whim, cut my bangs for me.”

Says every woman should shave her head since it grows back
“I know this sounds crazy, and not a lot of people will agree with me, but I think every woman should shave her head at least once in her life. It’s not like they’re going to regret it 10 years down the line when their hair is long again. It’s something that’s very freeing, really fun, and really empowering.”

[From Allure]

I’m like that about makeup but not about my hair. I’m more like Sofia Vergara in that I consider my long hair some kind of anti-aging security blanket, but it probably has the opposite effect. It would take a lot for me to shave it off and I worry that people would assume I’m sick. I’ve seen women rock shaved heads like this though and it’s striking. There seems to be something freeing about it. I get what she’s saying, although I doubt I’ll ever do it. I’m considering no longer dyeing the gray, but that’s a different issue entirely.

She is such a chameleon!
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photos credit: WENN and via Instagram

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42 Responses to “Joey King, 19: ‘Every woman should shave her head at least once,’ it’s empowering”

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  1. erika says:

    I tried to go blonde at home and had to shave my head. I didn’t feel empowered, but hey, that’s me.

  2. Thaisajs says:

    Forgive me if I choose not to take advice on how to live my best life as a woman from a 19-year-old. If I shaved my head, the people in my office would think I had cancer.

    • ValiantlyVarnished says:

      Well I’m 38 and shaved my head in May. And no one in my office thought I had cancer. They thought I looked like a bada$$. And I work in the financial industry. Dont base your life choices on what other people may think of you.

      • Thaisajs says:

        Fair enough.

      • Ashby says:

        Agree completely!

      • Silent Star says:

        Yes, shaving your head is amazing. I’ve also had little attachment to my hair, and I’ve both grown it out and kept it short because I like to change it up. I get so frustrated when it’s longer though because I see how many hours of my life get *wasted* on maintaining it. And for what? Expectations of what others think a woman’s hair should look like. It just seems like longer hair on woman is hobbling in a way.

    • Snowslow says:

      Hey Thaisajs, I also shaved my hair tree times in my life and it was really great. Never had anyone telling me I looked sick. On the contrary! And if you like make-up it can be so fun to play with when you just have A FACE. Very liberating.

      • Thaisajs says:

        I think that’s awesome and I’d love to spend less time washing my hair which is curly and tends to frizz etc.

        Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older and have had sicker co-workers, but there have been a few women who’ve shaved their heads at work and all of them had breast cancer. I think that’s colored my perception a bit.

    • Sam says:

      I shaved my head just for fun and got so many compliments from friends and coworkers, I was really surprised that people cared that much about hair.
      I work for a huge accounting/law firm, very conservative, suits and ties everywhere you look and I’m CPA, but people thought I was brave not sick.
      I’m not understanding the brave part, it’s just hair.
      The idea that women have to have longer hair to be feminine is so incredibly outdated and frankly sexist.
      I know several women that would look much better with shorter hair, because they have either fine, stringy hair or it’s dry and damaged.

      • NYCTYPE says:

        Hey Sam, I’m in NYC and work in the financial district, I can relate to your experience. I shaved my head twice now and I love it.
        As far as I know, my colleagues don’t think that I’m sick, but I can’t say that I liked when ” brave ” was tossed around the office.
        Brave is very silly to use with voluntarily shaving your own hair.
        Patriarchy has really brainwashed us to believe that short hair is somehow not feminine.
        Such hogwash!

    • Bailie says:

      I doubt it, I shaved my head and I got a lot of excellent feedback.
      Nobody mentioned anything about me being sick and shaving my head, because of that.

  3. NeoCleo says:

    I am retiring next July and I am buzzing my old gray head!! I’m looking forward to it.

  4. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    I shaved my head for the first time at age 38 in May. And I wholeheartedly agree with her. It was something I had always wanted to do and when I did it I didn’t feel emotional or like I “lost” something. It felt freeing. I wear makeup and earrings most days so I never feel plain or “boyish”. It’s grown out quite a bit now and I want to shave it all off again. But since it’s going into Winter I’m going to let it grow into give my head some insulation! But I would totally do it again. I’m thinking I might dye it platinum as well. Not having an attachment to my hair has been pretty awesome.

  5. MD says:

    I shaved my head at age 19, which was 20 years ago. I was in college at the time and the reactions I received were intense. Some people assumed I had cancer, others assumed that I was coming out of the closet, others thought I had lost my mind. When I went down South to visit family people were afraid of me! As a woman, taking off your hair can prompt a major identity crisis. At the same time it was freeing because I didn’t have to worry about how my hair looked, as I didn’t have any. Wind blowing across my head felt nice as well, and I sported a very short hairstyle for several years afterwards, which was convenient. It was a learning experience but I wouldn’t chose to do it again, that’s for sure. ;-)

  6. skipper says:

    She looks absolutely stunning with a shaved head! I wish I could shave my head at least once because it does sound incredibly liberating but I was born with Craniosynostosis and had to have two cranial/brain surgeries before I turned two years old. My skull is mildly deformed and full of scars and suture marks so I would not be able to rock it like she does.

  7. Kittycat says:

    Don’t watch the kissing booth. Its terrible.

    I had short hair at her age and it was fun.

  8. BANANIE says:

    I loved her in The Kissing Booth! Has anyone else seen it? I wonder why the love interest in that one didn’t get as big as TATBILB. Maybe because the movie wasn’t considered as good (I didn’t like TATBILB, though) but he is swoon-worthy.

    I don’t think I have the confidence to go bald because I have what they call a “strong nose” and would end up looking like an ostrich.

    Regarding long hair- the last few years I’ve chopped mine into a lob thinking it will make me look more mature. But I have wavy/curly hair and it is so high maintenance! I’ve decided to grow it out. My friends say “enjoy it while you can, you can’t have long hair when you get older.” Hush. People can have long hair as long as they want!

    • Boxy Lady says:

      Speaking of Netflix movies, there’s one that just came out 2 weeks ago called Nappily Ever After where Sanaa Lathan shaves her head and it changes her life.

      I shaved my head (well, I had a 1 inch afro) nearly 2 years ago. All the years of relaxing my hair had made it break off and it wouldn’t grow long anymore. That was traumatizing because I had had long hair nearly all my life. After I cut it, it was the shortest my hair had been since I was 2. I found it quite liberating and I had more time in the morning because I wasn’t wrestling with my hair. Plus I have discovered that my natural hair is corkscrew curly, which is interesting.

  9. Beth says:

    I used to have beautiful thick hair until I started taking a medicine with the side effect of hair loss. I lost count of how many times I was asked if I had cancer. Hair isn’t the most important thing to me, but it wouldn’t be as tough a situation if I had chosen to shave it

  10. Reef says:

    I agree. It’s pretty dope.

  11. Charfromdarock says:

    I didn’t shave my head but got a crew cut at 20. It was liberating!

    I’d never be brave enough now. I just had 18 inches cut off this summer and it’s still shoulder length. I miss my long hair! It really is like a security blanket.

  12. Chrissie says:

    I shaved my head for the second time for my 28th birthday this past August. I 1,000% agree with Joey. When you shave your head, you don’t have to worry about bad hair days, frizzy hair, the need to wear a hat to cover a bad hairstyle you get when you’re growing your bangs or out growing out your hair and it’s at that awkward “too short to put it in a ponytail, but too long for a pixie cut/afro/bob” stage, have hat/helmet hair, or none of that stupid “long hair, don’t care” BS.

    When I shaved my head for the second time, I decided, “To hell with it. I’m just gonna rock it bald.” And I haven’t looked back. Everyone I know tells me, “I wish I had the confidence to do something so drastic.” I don’t view it as drastic at all. It’s just hair. It will grow back over time (not in my case since I plan on keeping it shaved). Life is too short to worry about frivolous things like hair. Especially in THIS current political climate and decaying society? Yeah. I have other shit — real shit — to worry about. Sorry. *mic drop*

  13. lucy2 says:

    Every woman should do what she wants.
    Want to shave your head? Great!
    Don’t want to shave your head? Great!

    • Snowslow says:

      I agree with you but it is so liberating that you want to share that feeling. I buzzed my hair a few times and it is incredible, all things people say above. I think that’s what she means, she wants to share an experience and was emphatic about it; it’s a figure of speech. Talking and writing are not the same thing.

  14. Save Mueller says:

    Strangers treated me differently with a buzzcut, that’s for sure. They either left me alone or were extra nice to me (I think assuming I was sick), except for some senior ladies who loved it or would comment on how easy it would be!
    I missed my curls, so I’ve grown it out, but when it’s long enough to donate and I get the itch to cut it, I’m sure I will shave it again.

  15. Ann says:

    I am deeply attached to my hair so this is a big nope for me. My hair was falling out a few years ago from psoriasis that was starting to happen on my scalp. My current treatment plan fixed that and my hair has grown back but those few months where big pieces of it were falling out really sucked. If others want to shave their heads that is A OK though, to each their own. I’m sure it would be a traumatic experience for me.

  16. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    I have the urge often to shave my head because I’m ill (no cure) and my hair is a pain in the ass to care for. I have this strong feeling I’ll have a freaky, misshapen head under all this hair though, so that stops me. I have been cutting off about an inch a week though for some time. It’s now to my shoulders.

  17. Eleri Glass says:

    I shaved my hair in order to let my natural grey come in. It looked amazing and yes! it felt so liberating.

  18. BaBaDook says:

    I would love to do this, but I also know I’d straight up look like a potato so

  19. LA says:

    My 7 year old has Alopecia and shaved her head last spring because she has so little hair left. She rocks it. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE stories about women shaving their heads, as it offers her some sense of solidarity and not feeling so “other.”

  20. Lightpurple says:

    It really depends on the shape of your face and your features. Starting in high school through college, I used to do it every summer on the last day of school. My hair never stays in any ponytail/clip/barrette situation so it was a great way to stay cool in the heat. I had a great time playing with earrings and makeup and I looked great. I also enjoyed the shocked reactions of “what did you do?” My hair grows really fast so by the return to school, my hair would be several inches long. My sister tried it once and looked ghastly but her face is shaped differently than mine.

    I also did it once because I had cancer. My hair had started falling out from the chemo and, as much as I said, it’s just hair, it was upsetting that something was destroying my body. So, I buzzed it. That WAS empowering. I, not cancer, not chemo, decided when my hair would go.

    • Nancy says:

      I hope the cancer is long gone @Lightpurple. It made me smile that you made the decision to buzz your hair from the chemo. You are so badass 💜

  21. Amelie says:

    Not really commenting about the hair but the role she is about to play. That story about Gypsy Rose Blanchard is so effed up! I remember when I first read about it I felt so sorry for this girl who thought the only way out was killing her mother. At the same time, the charade had gone on for so long she probably felt the only way to was to end her mom’s life and to run away. I will have to watch the show when it comes out on Hulu.

    • Mo' Comments Mo' Problems says:

      It’s with immense dislike and disappointment that I must say that I can’t believe they keep sensationalizing and repeating this story over… it was horrible.

  22. Nancy says:

    Her comments could be blind and I would guess they were from a 19 year old.

  23. Lala11_7 says:

    It’s GREAT…if it’s a CHOICE you make…not born out of desperation and stress…every woman I know had to shave their head due to either illness (mental/physical) or a botched hair process (me at age 5)….

  24. SJhere says:

    Do your own thing, people. Enjoy ya day. :)

    I’m a natural dishwater blonde now gone grey, and fine hair. I’ve always envied brunettes with full, thick hair. Example: Kate Middleton.
    Now at 57 I have stopped perming, and coloring my hair. I no longer wear makeup either. Spend my time in 100% cotton, comfy clothes and comfy shoes.
    I’m up showered and ready for my day inside of 15 minutes. It’s great. :)
    Accept yourselves as you are, be glad for your health and mobility.
    This culture puts far too much emphasis on female looks, IMO.

    • Lisbon says:

      Whatever works best.
      I’ve never been a high maintenance girl or a slob.
      I brush, floss my teeth and clean my tong every morning and night.
      I take a very quick shower every night, using my wonderful and not drying Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Soap.
      I apply Certified Organic Jojoba Oil to moisturize my skin head to toe and Certified Organic Argan Oil for my eyes and lips.
      I wash my thick, long dark hair once week after I clean the house, although I do 1 hour of yoga 5 days a week, I only sweat when I’m sick with fever.
      In the morning it’s sunscreen, I never leave the house without it, sometimes a fun ponytail, lip balm and mascara.
      For special occasions I will add a lovely light pink lip gloss I got from my local health food store.
      I eat vegan food, as close to the Earth as possible, drink a lot of water, never smoked in my life and I don’t care for alcohol at all. I don’t think I would notice, if alcohol would disappear from the face of the Earth tomorrow.
      I wear dressy light wool suits to work with high quality cotton shirts and silk blouses, cashmere sweaters and some linen fabrics in the summer.
      Excellent quality leather shoes and boots, high end, classy styles, I’m not into trends.

  25. Snoozy says:

    Advice on being an ‘empowered’ woman from a 19 year old…
    ::GONG::
    Next.

    • A Fan says:

      I agree completely.

      Take life advice from a teenager who thinks she is very, very profound? Talk to me in 20+ years and then I may listen to you. For now, buzz off.

      [*She does look super cute with a shaved head though!*]

  26. enike says:

    some people have facial features which makes them shine more without hair… some people dont have the features for a bold head…

    she can do it, Amber Rose can do it, lots of other people can do it, and it looks good

    some people shoudnt even think about it :)

    experiments are okey so you know in what looks feel the most empowered

    PS. I experiment with my hair constantly, every color imaginable and a very short hair, but I wouldnt go bold ever (if I can help it)