Keri Russell's been asked about her hair for 16 years. Now she's putting her foot down.

If you're not already watching FX's "The Americans," you might want to get on that because everything about it is incredible, especially Keri Russell.

Keri Russell as Elizabeth in "The Americans." Photo via"The Americans"/FX Networks.


After four seasons of revelatory work, Russell is finally being recognized at the Emmys with a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This year, the show also received four other significant nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor for Russell's co-star (and real-life partner) Matthew Rhys.

Though the couple isn't known for doing much publicity, with all the hype around the show, they recently agreed to sit down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which took ... an interesting turn.

While most of the interview was about the brilliance of the show and their work on it, the interviewer couldn't help asking about Russell's "infamous" short haircut from back in her "Felicity" days.

Keri's so over it. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

It was a weird thing to bring up — first, because it happened almost two decades ago, and, second, because Lacey Rose, the reporter, brought it up in a way that made it seem like she wasn't bringing it up, even though she totally was:

"I'm sure you're horrified that we're still talking about the uproar caused by Felicity's decision to cut off her hair, but you've said you don't think it would have been nearly as big a deal if it were to happen today."

For anyone who isn't familiar with one of the biggest "scandals" in television history, this is what the offending hair cut looked like:

Keri as Felicity with the dreaded pixie cut. Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

As Decider reports:

"The story went that Keri Russell sent the producers a photo of her wearing a short wig as a prank, but after the initial freakout, the producers thought it might be a fun idea for the character. Russell herself talked about how that signature mane of curly hair had become her public identity, so no doubt there was probably an impulse to rebel against that image."

When the pixie cut was revealed in the second episode of the show's second season, there was an immediate uproar. How could Russell destroy the thing that made "Felicity" Felicity? What right did she have to do what she wanted with her own body?

The "risky move" negatively affected the show's ratings to the point the WB Entertainment president at the time, Susanne Daniels, jokingly said, "Nobody is cutting their hair again on our network and our staff."

While the producers might've been glib about the whole thing, the show's viewers certainly were not.

They were furious.

Over a haircut.

So, when the haircut came up in that recent Hollywood Reporter interview, Russell pointed out why it's ridiculous that she's still being asked about it today, while also gently calling out Rose for doing exactly that:

"Just because it's not kosher to talk that much shit about some girl's hair anymore. Like, Hillary might be president. You gotta be cool with that shit. Tone it down. And I hope that someone would call someone out on that if it happened now."

Because Keri Russell is a class act.

BOOM.

Keri Russell as Elizabeth on "The Americans."

There seems to be a push-pull when it comes to the conversation about women's bodily autonomy and representation in Hollywood right now.

On one hand, there are movements like #AskHerMore where the industry seems fervently invested in doing away with sexist, image-based comments on the red carpet. We have female Ghostbusters. Actresses like Rose Byrne and Jessica Chastain have started women-run film production companies.

But on the other hand, there are people who feel it's totally OK to write a review of Renee Zellweger's latest movie with the absurd headline: "Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?" (The answer, of course, is NO. She's the same actress, just 20 years older and with maybe a little work done. She looks different, in part, because aging and the linear progression of time are universal constants that no human being can escape form nor should they be shamed for.)


The good news is more and more powerhouse women like Keri Russell are refusing to let sexist criticisms go unchecked.

The more women and men who come forward to declare how absurd such scrutiny is (especially when it often applies only to women), the sooner Hollywood will become a place where actresses feel safe to show their true faces.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."