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7 Sep

Amandla Stenberg’s Characters Wouldn’t Look the Same Without Her

SAG-AFTRA members are currently on strike; as a part of the strike, union actors are usually not promoting their film and TV projects. This interview was conducted prior to the strike.

Amandla Stenberg’s eyes are coated in smudged black makeup. Her skin is bare, dewy, and dare I say possibly a bit sweaty. The actor, who uses she/they pronouns, has bleach-blonde braids with bubblegum pink strands scattered throughout and barely outgrown roots. This will likely read like a harsh critique, however it’s all intentional — it’s the identical look she wears in her latest film, My Animalcoming to theaters on September 8 and on digital starting September 15. The hair color, as she tells me, is her own brainchild.

“I did my hair for My Animal,” Stenberg reveals. “The movie exists in almost a non-specific era of time, however it feels older so there’s something very campy and female concerning the character and her wardrobe.” With that got here Stenberg’s idea to go for “poorly-bleached, box-dye-colored hair with roots showing” for her character, Jonny, a love-torn Canadian teen together with her heart spiritually on her sleeve (but drawn on her face for dramatic effect) who falls for Heather, a hockey player who moonlights as a werewolf. As she falls deeper in love with Heather throughout the film, Jonny’s hair transforms from brassy blonde to precious bubblegum pink. “We worked the colour pink into her hair throughout the storyline,” they explain, “so the pink telegraphs a number of the metaphors of the film.”

While many actors vie for a spot within the producer’s or director’s seat of the movies through which additionally they star, Stenberg might be present in the hair and makeup departments when she’s not filming. “Formulating the hair and makeup of the characters is considered one of my favorite parts of the method,” they are saying. “You get to make quite a lot of selections about who this person is and the way they express themselves on the planet.”

My Animal, an ‘80s-inspired queer horror flick that sits on the intersection of Twilight and Twin Peakswasn’t her first go at crafting beauty ideas for her own on-screen counterparts. Stenberg also ideated the reverse cat-eyes and smudged, streaky mascara from 2022’s Bodies Bodies Bodiesa horror-comedy film that cemented her as an A24 darling alongside the likes of Emma Roberts, Jenna Ortega, and Florence Pugh. “For Bodies Bodies Bodieswe decided to do something a bit less traditional and have eyeliner only underneath the attention versus on top, and we also did acrylic nails,” they are saying. (The manicure du jour, by the best way, is long and black with a neon green French tip and star accents.)

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