This week, Clare Bowen joins the ranks of actresses who have chopped off their long locks in favor of a shorter style. Bowen is best known for playing Scarlett O’Connor in Nashville on ABC, and yesterday the Australian actress and singer revealed her new pixie cut on her Facebook page in a picture captioned, “It’s just hair.” Her hairdo is more than just a need for a new look, though. Instead, it represents the message that we are not defined by our looks.
Bowen thanks her family and friends for supporting her in making this decision, but it sounds like chopping off her hair took more than a little courage. Cutting her hair means her character, Scarlett, will have a different look in Nashville. Since this decision affects her television role, Bowen had to get approval from the ABC network as well as the show’s creator, Callie Khouri. After reading Bowen’s reason for wanting more than just a trim, it’s hard to imagine anyone not supporting her mission.
Bowen took to Facebook to explain why she decided to cut her hair. In the picture’s caption, the actress tells her personal story of how she was diagnosed with end stage nephroblastoma when she was only four years old. The doctors told her parents she only had a couple weeks left to live, and the only thing that might save her could just as easily kill her.
During her treatment, Bowen was surrounded by other children also battling cancer. In her Facebook post, she paints a sad and vivid image of children who “were mostly bald, all tubed, taped, bandaged up and stitched back together. We were all missing parts, some obvious like eyes or legs, others more hidden, like lungs and kidneys.” Because these kids were all going through similar battles, they had a strong sense of solidarity. Bowen explains that because they were growing up in a hospital, “we were all together, so no one’s appearance came into question. No one got laughed at or teased. We were all we knew.”
When Bowen left the hospital, her hair eventually grew back. Bowen says she looks “relatively normal on the outside, but on the inside, I am still the same stitched back together little creature, in a world where people are judged so harshly for the way they look.” Because of what she survived as a child, she has a different outlook on life. While so many people worry about how they look, she has realized that, in the grand scheme of things, there really is no time to worry about trivial things such as appearance.
What finally inspired Bowen to cut her hair was a story she heard about a little girl who believed she couldn’t be a princess because she didn’t have long hair. Bowen decided to get a pixie cut because she wanted this little girl “and others like her to know that’s not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It’s not what makes you beautiful either. It’s your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them.”
Bowen’s message is inspirational to cancer patients and those who struggle with a low self-esteem. In what may seem like a simple gesture, she has proven that hair really is just hair, and it’s what’s on the inside that makes us princesses, warriors, or superheros.