The ‘Felicity’ Haircut Controversy: Analysing the Impact of Keri Russell’s Change

Helen Gomez

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In 1999, amid global events, the unexpected controversy surrounding Keri Russell’s haircut in Season 2 of “Felicity” took centre stage, highlighting the surprising impact of seemingly trivial matters on public outrage and Hollywood’s complex dynamics. Discover the full story and its aftermath in this article at Bigflix.

Felicity: Raising Keri Russell to Instant Stardom

Debuting in 1998 on The WB network alongside hits like Buffy, Dawson’s Creek, and 7th Heaven, “Felicity” follows the transformative journey of its titular character, Felicity Jones. Leaving Palo Alto for the University of New York, Felicity’s impulsive choice evolves into a tale of self-discovery across four seasons, showcasing the growth that shapes her identity.

Achieving success, the show earned Keri Russell a Golden Globe and Teen Choice Award for her role, while the series won a People’s Choice Award. Yet, it was Russell’s signature hair that entranced audiences, drawing admiration from The New York Times. However, the second season would unveil the shallowness of this affection.

The ‘Felicity’ Haircut: From Joke to Disaster

The infamous Felicity haircut began as a playful prank when Keri Russell donned a little boy’s wig, sparking an idea. Showrunners J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves were inspired, and the decision to cut her hair was made. The on-camera haircutting took place in Season 2’s first episode, leaving viewers eagerly awaiting the reveal in the second episode.

The reaction was strong, and overwhelmingly negative. While Keri Russell liked the new haircut as fitting the character, public opinion largely disagreed. Strangers criticized her appearance, and the network received backlash from fans, industry peers, and viewers who were disappointed and angry over the drastic change.

Although J.J. Abrams took responsibility for the decision, the haircut contributed to a significant drop in ratings for the second season, leading to speculation that it was a key factor behind the decline.

The ‘Felicity’ Haircut: Exposing a Shocking Truth in Pop Culture

After the haircut incident, as Keri Russell’s hair regrew, so did the viewership, although it never matched its initial success. The moment became a cultural reference, coining the term “pulling a Felicity” for major TV character hair changes, joining phrases like “jump the shark.”

Russell now reflects on the episode with humour, acknowledging the backlash and even death threats she received. Despite the ordeal, her career has thrived, and she looks back on the experience with a mix of resilience and wit.

The reaction underscores an unfortunate reality, evident to Keri Russell herself: an actress’s appearance often takes precedence over her skills. Russell’s realization, as reported by The New York Times, highlights the significant physical presence a character can hold.

This phenomenon echoes instances like Farrah Fawcett’s role in Charlie’s Angels, where hair color was crucial for contrast, or “the Rachel” overshadowing Jennifer Aniston’s comedic talents in Friends. This prevalent issue, disproportionately affecting women in the industry, reflects a broader pattern. While change has been gradual, the lasting impact of Felicity’s haircut emphasizes the imperative for transformation.


Keri Russell’s haircut in ‘Felicity’ ignited a controversy that exposed the industry’s unfortunate emphasis on appearance over talent. This incident not only highlighted the significant impact of a seemingly trivial change but also resonated with broader patterns in Hollywood.

As the story of Felicity’s haircut continues to be referenced and remembered, it serves as a poignant reminder of the need for change and progress in the way women are perceived and treated in the entertainment industry.

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