Whether it's a fresh set of bangs to mark a new period in your life or urging Americans to vote in the upcoming election with a strong visual statement à la Lizzo, a hair transformation can stand for a lot more than a simple beauty change. That's precisely the idea behind Yalitza Aparicio Martínez's latest transformation. The Roma star took to Instagram recently to show off her surprising new haircut: her signature hip-length strands cut to fall right above her elbows.
Throughout her career, one of the actress's most distinguishable features has been her extra-long, straight hair. But Aparicio Martínez was motivated to chop it all off to donate it to a meaningful cause in partnership with Head & Shoulders Latin America and Mexican retail company Soriana. According to the star, this moment was six years in the making as she grew and cared for her hair — and now she's excited to donate her lengths to cancer patients.
"For me, the most important thing is to know that with my family @headandshouldersla, I can send confidence and strength to those fighting cancer today. Today, I fulfill a dream, and I invite you to join in so that with your hair, you can stand with a woman who is going through this battle," she captioned the image in Spanish. In a second post, the Aparicio Martínez also urged those who are looking to cut their hair to also consider donating, and offered helpful instructions to partake in the campaign.
The new look, which was achieved with the help of hairstylist Erick Moreno, also has cultural significance: A person's long hair represents a strong cultural identity within Indigenous communities, as well as the expectations of length within Latinx cultures. Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, to parents of indigenous origin, Aparicio Martínez has broken barriers in Hollywood as the first indigenous woman to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards and the first to grace the cover of Vogue Mexico— all doing so with her identifiable long tresses.
But Aparicio Martínez confidently parted ways with several inches of her hair, fully aware of its various complex meanings. "I know that hair is very important to us as women and above all, with these Mexican roots that we have, because it's part of our story," she says in the campaign video. "I've chosen to donate my hair not only because not only has it been a dream of mine for year, but it's more of an opportunity I have to support someone." In the year that is 2020, the actress' kindness and generosity definitely serves as a beacon of light.