Scroll too quickly past Taraji P. Henson’s most recent hair pic on Instagram, and you might not even recognize the Empire star — she’s got a whole new look to speak of.
Gone are the sleek bobbed locks she sported at the MTV Movie Awards as recently as May, replaced instead by a more natural, curly undercut.
And just in case there was any doubt about the authenticity of Henson’s new ‘do, her hair stylist, Tym Wallace, is here to tell you that yes, it is absolutely the real deal. “Absolutely, it’s real!” he told Refinery 29. “No wig at all.”
In fact, he says it’s currently even shorter than the style pictured! “We’ll debut it at the right time. That won’t be for a while.” If Wallace has his way, he’ll eventually have her hair down to a buzz cut, but in the meantime, he says her current style is also helping to breathe new life into her curls after blowdrying made her texture fragile.
He shared that the actress first took the plunge last month on the heels of wrapping her upcoming film, Proud Mary. “She was just like, ‘I want to cut my hair.’ She already had an undercut, and it was growing in. She loved how her curls looked, and was like, ‘If we’re gonna cut it, we’re gonna cut it all.”
The move proved to be a great choice: Wallace tells the outlet Henson is over the moon with her new look. “She fell in love. She felt so free and liberated.”
Wallace himself felt it was an important move toward embracing Henson’s culture, as well. Posting the same pic to his own Instagram page, he wrote, “It’s ok black women, chop that sh*t off and embrace your blackness.” He elaborated on the statement to Refinery 29, saying, “There’s a difference between wearing a natural-textured wig or weave, and actually wearing your natural hair. She’s showing that she’s all for the black girl magic — showing these young black girls that you are not defined by what society paints as beautiful when it comes to a black woman and her hair. That was the main force for me.”
What do you think of Taraji’s new look? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(h/t Refinery 29; photos via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)