Alex Apatoff
November 04, 2013 05:28 PM

Rodrigo Vaz/Filmmagic

While getting ready to shoot the movie The Boy Next Door, Kristin Chenoweth was chatting with costar Jennifer Lopez — “Just girl talk,” she says — when Lopez suggested that Chenoweth try a bold new hairstyle: a pixie cut.

“It was funny that she would say that because I’ve been kind of thinking about it, but I didn’t know I could do it that short,” Chenoweth told PEOPLE on Saturday at the Breeders’ Cup, where she performed on the Santa Anita Park infield between races.

With Lopez’s encouragement, Chenoweth, 45, went to the salon of her hairdresser, Jonathan Hanousek, on Halloween Day — and with eyes closed tight, let him chop away her long blond hair (and its volume-adding extensions).

“I didn’t watch,” she says. “Jonathan said, “You’re going to kill this. You’re going to rock this. Just trust me.”

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The result was an adorable pixie that had fans buzzing; a PEOPLE online poll shows that fans overwhelmingly love Chenoweth’s new look even as the actress-singer herself is still adjusting.

“It’s actually more healthy. I think I’ve needed this for a long time,” she says. “I’m in my 40s. I was nervous about being so exposed. It is what it is. I am what I am.”

But she has no regrets. “I encourage people to go for it,” she says. “There is nothing wrong with having a change in life. And guess what: Hair grows back.”

Are you loving Chenoweth’s new look?

— Mike Fleeman

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