parry ernsberger
August 16, 2013 2:00 pm

In 2011, Shailene Woodley went through a major transformation. After four years as a pregnant teen on ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of the American Teenager, Woodley made a seamless move to the silver screen — alongside George Clooney, no less. Woodley earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in The Descendants, and now at 21, the girl is poised to be the next big teen queen thing. But not in like, a Ashley Benson kind of way. More so in like, an award-winning kind of way. (Not to say that Ashley Benson won’t win awards, but in terms of post-ABC Family career choices, I think we can all agree that The Descendents and Spectacular Now > Spring Breakers. Can we all agree on that?)

Anyways, Shailene seems kind of uncharacteristically mature and drama-free for a fresh-faced Hollywood starlet. She appears to have a good head on her shoulders. At the very least, she’s definitely got a really good head of hair on her shoulders, which is why I’ll be sad to see those long locks go when she chops them all off this weekend. But fear not, fans! It’s for a good cause.

Shailene is set to play a 16-year-old cancer patient named Hazel Grace Lancaster in the film adaptation of John Green’s coming-of-age YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars. In order to better get into her physical character, Woodley is donating her hair to Children with Hair Loss, an organization that provides free wigs to kids who’ve experienced hair loss due to cancer, burns, or other medical conditions. 

On her personal Tumblr, Woodley has encouraged fans to do the same (if you have eight inches to spare), and wrote candidly about her connection with her long-grown locks. On her love of its length, she says,

"... allowing my genetics to take control and produce long, luscious locks was my way of paying homage to my kindred spirit. i felt powerful, in control, strong. i felt connected to my womanhood, connected to my ancestors… and for the longest time, i was committed to never chopping it off."

But now, Woodley’s committed to getting into character and helping kids in need get the hair that they deserve.

"there was a time when growing my hair out symbolized something for me, but the power of sharing that choice, sharing the ability to have long hair with someone feels far more powerful right now," she writes. "i know what it feels like to have wind blow through my wavy locks, and i am over-the-top grateful i get to share that gift with another."

If you’re interested in giving the gift of hair like Shailene, head on over to Children With Hair Loss’ website for more information. (And if you follow through, be sure to share your newly shorn ‘do on social media with the hashtags #hairforhazel or #itgrowsback.)

Featured image via Shutterstock

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