Watch the Jess Cagle Interview to hear the whole story

By Colleen Kratofil
Updated October 17, 2016 04:19 PM

Sarah Jessica Parker may have found a hairstyle she adores — her flowing, trendy ombré locks — but it wasn’t always that way. When she got her start playing Annie on Broadway as a teenager she had to cut her hair short and dye it red — and she swore she’d never go back. In fact, she was so adamant about keeping her natural hair, she initially turned down her role in Footloose because of it!

During her chat on PEOPLE’s The Jess Cagle Interview, she explained the entire ordeal. “I first got it and turned it down,” Parker says of her role in the 1984 classic. “They wanted me to cut my hair off and dye it red because the character’s name was Rusty, and I was like, ‘Oh God, my hair just grew back from Annie.'” (She’s not opposed to reprising the role anymore, though — she’ll be bringing it back for a Hillary Clinton fundraiser Monday night!)

So she let the role pass on by. “I couldn’t imagine cutting my hair off and dying it red again, and being a redhead didn’t really suit me, so I passed, and they hired Tracy Nelson.”

But when things didn’t work out with Nelson, they went back to their first choice. “They called me from the set. It didn’t work out, and they said, ‘Can you fly to Utah tomorrow?’ I was like, ‘I can, but I cannot cut my hair off and dye it red.’ They were like, ‘Don’t worry about your hair. Just get here.’


As we all know now, the movie turned into a cult classic, it marked an important career milestone for Parker (it was her first role as an adult) and of course, set the precedent for the amazing hair we’ve all come to love (and desperately try to copy!).

Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, available now on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

What do you think of Parker passing up a role because of her hair? Share in the comments below.