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PHOTOS: Molly Sims Dyes Her Hair Red! She Dishes to PEOPLE Exclusively About Her New Do

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Francis Tulk-Hart for Nexxus

When we think of smokin’ hot Hollywood blondes, Molly Sims ranks high on the list. But the model, actress and jewelry designer just underwent a major hair transformation, trading her signature blonde locks for a fiery red hue. And by “just underwent,” we mean that Sims literally had the mane change a few hours ago; we were there, and we have the exclusive first images of the star’s sexy new look.

So what inspired the dramatic makeover? “I wanted to be vibrant, and I wanted a change,” Sims tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to do something bold. I thought about cutting my hair, but then I was like, Everyone is cutting their hair! I wanted to do something different and to look different in clothes.”

And yes, Sims is already making a shopping list for outfits to offset her new do. “I’m excited to wear different colors. I was always doing cream and gold with the blonde. Now it will be nice to wear something black, and the red gives you that color,” she says. “I think I’m going to buy myself a new jacket. A little Helmut Lang, maybe. It’s like how a nice a new pair of heels or boots changes how you walk. Hair changes changes how you feel. It’s so important for confidence.”

RELATED PHOTOS: More celebrity hair changes that need your attention!

Speaking of confidence, Sims was so ready to make the change, she only gave her husband a heads’ up. “He was like ‘Are you sure?’ And I was like, ‘Either that or I’m going to to cut it.’ So he voted for the color. Regardless, he’s sleeping with a different woman.” She’s also curious to see how her son Brooks, 19 months, will react to her new do. “I just FaceTimed with him as a blonde, and I’m a little concerned he won’t know who I am, but he’ll know me by my voice.”

Though we’re used to seeing her as a blonde, Sims is a natural brunette and she started off her modeling career with black hair. And like any model, she’s sported some styles that she regrets. “I did this French braid cornrow that was way too tight,” she shares. “It was maybe good for an island or on vacation, but that’s about it. You could see the lines in my scalp. And I’m from the South, so of course I permed. I loved putting all those chemicals in my hair.”

Molly Sims red hair
Francis Tulk-Hart for Nexxus

Now to maintain her new color, Sims is going to keep it simple and chemical-free, with Nexxus‘s Color Assure line (after all, she is the brand ambassador!) — including the Pre-Wash primer. “The great thing about this color primer is that it seals the vibrancy of the color and it also repels water, which is the biggest villain to hair color,” Aura Friedman, Nexxus celebrity colorist, tells PEOPLE. “Water has so many minerals in it that latch on to your hair.”

Like us, Friedman can’t believe it took Sims so long to go red, since it looks so good on her. “She’s a glamorous woman, and she knows how to carry herself, but the great thing about these copper tones are they really bring out her eye color. She has beautiful green eyes. It will complement her skin tone too.”

We want to know: What do you think of Sims’s new hue? Is she better blonde or are you loving the red? Share your thoughts below!

–Brittany Talarico