There’s Nothing Joey King Wouldn’t Do to Her Hair for a Role

The Act wasn’t King’s first time taking a razor to her scalp; King shaved her head for roles when she was 11 and 14. In fact, King viewed her third time with the clippers as something of a fresh start. “My hair has been through so much over the years that when I shaved it for The Act, it was a nice reset for it to grow back and not have any color or breakage,” she recalls.

In 2022, King told Allure she would definitely shave her head again for a role, and she feels the same way today. “If the right thing comes along, there’s really not much I wouldn’t do,” she says now. “It’s this absolute fulfillment that comes from doing something you’re so proud of.”

Covering her hair with a bald cap for the role wasn’t ever on the table. Given that Gypsy was not actually losing her hair from sickness but instead being forced to shave her head by her mother, who has a mental illness called Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another [formerly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy], the short tufts of natural regrowth you see on her was a realistic detail that made sense with the story, one that never would have been possible to achieve with a bald cap. Besides, “It’s really hard to make [bald caps] look realistic when you have a lot of hair underneath,” King explains.

The Act has been experiencing something of a revival now that the real-life Gypsy Rose Blanchard (who pleaded guilty to second degree murder of her mother) has been released from prison and, after making some appearances on TV and online, has said she’s going pursue a more private life. King still looks back at the project with pride. “I’m really grateful that I worked on it and that I got to meet the people that I did throughout the process,” King says of the experience several years later. “It felt like we were being really considerate of the situation, how delicate it was. I think that’s such a wonderful thing [that Gypsy is free] and people are more interested in her story. I’m really proud of it.”

After wrapping The Act, which King says is her favorite onscreen transformation thus far in her career, she had to deal with the grow-out process — and certain stages were much easier than others. “I loved my pixie cut, it had some cute texture to it,” she says. “And then it just got weird. It just looks like you’ve got a mullet.” The minute her hair was long enough, King got bob-length extensions. “People would say the craziest stuff to me in person and online. So I was like, ‘I’m just going to make myself feel better here and get a little bob situation going.’”

Elle Evans in The Kissing Booth trilogy

The Netflix franchise that launched both King and Jacob Elordi onto the world — the three installments of which aired in 2018, 2020, and 2021, respectively — continues to be a fan favorite today; King says her nieces and nephews are currently watching it. In the movies, she plays high schooler Elle Evans, who falls for her best friend’s brother Noah (played by Elordi), endangering two lifelong friendships.

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