Yellowjackets isn’t a show you watch. It’s a show you consume. TL;DW: In 1996, a high school girls’ soccer team’s plane crashes in the woods on the way to nationals, thus forcing them to live off the land and make, er, questionable nutritional choices. In the current day, the surviving few must reckon with their collective past.
Its gruesome, anticipation-packed plot is only half as compelling as the characters themselves. That goes especially for Natalie, played by Sophie Thatcher, whom I was drawn to instantly because of the painfully relatable grouchy exterior she uses to mask her vulnerability. Most of all, though, I noticed her because — quite frankly — her hair is really fucking cool.
I tell the 21-year-old actor this the second I get her on the phone, and from there I barely even need to ask any questions. “I’ve been through everything with my hair,” she says of her mullet-shag hybrid (a shaglet, if you will), which she sticks to on- and off-camera. She’s had similar haircuts since she was a teenager as hasn’t looked back since. “I would always get my hair cut at this place called Shizen in Williamsburg,” she explains. “It has gone through many stages, from full-out mullet to weird bowl-cuts with long pieces on the side.”
Though her cut has remained ultimately the same for several years now, Thatcher can’t resist hair dye, which is actually the reason 1996 Natalie’s hair is bleach-blonde as opposed to her older counterpart (played by Juliette Lewis), who has dark brown hair. “When we first shot the pilot, I just happened to have a bleach-blonde shag, and [the show’s crew] thought it worked [for the character],” Thatcher recalls.
Right after filming the Yellowjackets pilot for Showtime, however, Thatcher shot The Book of Boba Fett, a Star Wars series for Disney+ that required her to dye her hair brown. Not long later, Yellowjackets was picked up for a full season and the show’s hair department scrambled to get what had already become young Nat’s signature platinum-blonde shade back. “They tried to bleach it, but my hair was already in bad condition. And it was already a super shag, so it wasn’t really thick enough to bleach.”
The damage from that was irreparable, so Thatcher had to wear extensions briefly until eventually switching to a wig for her hair’s sake. As she explains, in the pilot, that hair is all hers; in the following couple of episodes, you’re looking at Tatcher’s real hair with some extensions for continuity. She can’t even recall at what point they switched to the wig, but she wears it for the majority of the first and only season (you can tell because, as she jokes, her character is stranded in the woods for months with “this perfect white-blonde hair with no roots”).
You’d think Nat’s seemingly effortless hair look would, in reality, require immense amounts of hairstyling, as TV hair often does. Thatcher explains, however, that before she started wearing the wig, the Sophie-to-Nat process wasn’t all that complicated.