Charlie Gillette is a 25-year-old actor and filmmaker currently based in New York City. After reaching out to our founder, Julia, on Twitter, they met up to chat all about everything from the role hair plays in the film industry to the "dumb blonde" stereotype to taking hair for granted.
ON LIKING HER NATURAL HAIR
I do like my hair. I feel kind of vain saying that, but my whole life people have always complimented how nice my hair was. I always kind of took it for granted, but it's at the point where it's prevented me from experimenting with it. I've always just had long, blonde, straight hair. People I've dated, I've told them, "Oh, I'm thinking of dying my hair, I'm thinking of cutting hair hair," and they're like, "Oh no, you definitely shouldn't do that. You wouldn't look as good if you weren't blonde." I like it, but i feel kind of trapped in it in a way. It made me self-conscious about changing it, as if my hair was part of my self-worth.
I've always wondered what it would be like to buzz all my hair off, or dye it a crazy color. In high school, I went to a salon and asked them to dye my hair and the woman refused. She was like, "You have virgin hair, it's never been touched. I'm not going to ruin it because it will never go back to the color it is." This has happened to me a couple times, where I've talked about it with stylists and they say, "Absolutely not."
I'm an actor, so if a role required me to change my hair, that would be the liberating moment where I was able to. But on my own, I probably wouldn't. When I was younger, I was staunchly against coloring my hair and I was very proud of being a natural blonde. And because I have dark eyebrows, people automatically assume I dye my hair. That always annoyed me.
ON USING HER HAIR TO HER ADVANTAGE
It's much easier for me to get roles with long blonde hair. It's a certain "type." If I changed my hair, my type would be completely different. I think it's an advantage to have long blonde hair. That's what the traditional leading lady look is. Also, it's very expensive to get new head shots, and you have to get new head shots every time you cut or change your hair. As an actor, your brand is you and how you look, so if I completely change that, it would completely change my identity in the industry.
ON THE "DUMB BLONDE" STEREOTYPE
I remember I went to a casting a couple years ago and I met the director. It was really nice, we wound up being from the same town. We're still friends today and still work together. He told me once, "I remember when I met you, you walked into the room and you had long, blonde hair, and I thought, This girl's going to be a huge bitch, but she's right for the part so I'm going to give it to her." Afterward, he was like, "Oh my god, I thought you were a bitch but you're really nice and cool and nerdy, and you like video games." And I'm like, "Yeah, because you shouldn't judge people based on how they look."
The dumb blonde is something I got a lot growing up. I value my intelligence -- that's one of my most valued traits -- and a lot of times, people would just assume that I would be dumb because I was blonde. Then they would meet me, and be like, "Oh, you're actually really smart. I didn't expect that from you." And it's just because of the hair, which is so weird. Why would you judge someone's intelligence based on their hair color?
-- As told to Untangled in New York City. Photos by Julia Brucculieri.