The longtime blonde, 82, embraced her gray hair at the 2020 Oscars on Sunday

On Sunday, Jane Fonda made a major statement when she walked on stage to present Best Film at the 2020 Academy Awards sporting a gray pixie cut (and wearing a recycled crimson beaded Elie Saab gown she previously wore to Cannes in 2014!).

The iconic actress and activist, 82, has long worn a blonde shag cut but her colorist Jack Martin tells PEOPLE she came to him with the idea of debuting a bold new look at the Oscars, as she knew she would be making a surprise appearance to present the night’s most coveted award.

“She showed me her inspiration and immediately decided that I was the guy for the job,” Martin explains, adding that the Grace and Frankie star was fearless when it came to embracing her gray hair — and underwent a seven-hour transformation to achieve the “icy silver blonde” shade.

“If you meet Ms. Fonda in person, you’ll witness her strong personality and her simplicity at the same time,” the hair pro tells PEOPLE. “She is someone who is very far from being nervous about a hair makeover…She’s the kind of person who is not afraid of change.”

Martin shares he “had the best time helping Ms. Fonda get the color she wanted,” and described the actress as “humble, sweet and extremely funny.”

He also says that she was cooperative and invested throughout the entire session: “Every time I told her about a maintenance tip, she would ask her hairstylist Jonathan [Hanousek] to write it down.”

For those feeling inspired by Fonda’s show-stopping moment at the Academy Awards, Martin suggests experimenting with wigs before making a major commitment with permanent color.

Jane Fonda
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

“If you’re hesitant and think that gray hair might age you, go to a wig shop and try silver human hair wigs to determine which shade will look best.,” he says.

“I advise women seeking a silver platinum hair color to search for the right colorist, check their work, go for a consultation and ask lots of questions about what kind of products they use,” he concludes.

Aside from her striking hair transformation, Fonda also made a powerful statement by wearing a six-year-old Ellie Saab design and carrying the cardinal-red coat she previously declared was “the last article of clothing I will ever buy” as part of her ongoing climate change protests.

Fonda has been an outspoken activist on the subject of climate change, having been arrested numerous times during her Fire Drill Fridays protests at the U.S. Capitol. She most recently held a protest (her 15th) in L.A. the Friday before the Oscars.

Jane Fonda
Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

“This is the front line of the climate crisis here in California,” Fonda said at Friday’s protest. “And literally what happens here, can impact the rest of the country and the rest of the world.”

In recent years, she has been adamant about consuming less as a means to help the planet. And at the Oscars, that meant rewearing the gown she previously wore in 2014 to the Grace of Monaco premiere in Cannes. She paired the recycled look with Pomellato jewelry, which she said she chose “because it only uses responsible, ethically harvested gold and sustainable diamonds“) and carried the coat that’s become an iconic symbol of her Capitol Hill arrests.

After being arrested it in a fourth time, she told the crowd, “You see this coat? I needed something red and I went out and found this coat on sale. This is the last article of clothing that I will ever buy. When I talk to people and say, ‘We don’t really need to keep shopping. We shouldn’t look to shopping for our identity. We don’t need more stuff,’ I have to walk the talk. So I’m not buying any more clothes.”