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

It wasn't THAT big a deal, people.

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.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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