Amandla Stenberg is known for a variety of things, but many of them — from her acting to her activism to her style — is connected in some way to her hair. After bursting onto the scene as Rue in "Hunger Games" and graciously dealing with backlash from fans who didn't expect the character to be black, Stenberg schooled the world on cultural appropriation with her "Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows" video and became a natural hair and style icon. But that doesn't mean Stenberg is married to her hair: This year, she buzzed it all off for a role in the upcoming film "Where Hands Touch," and showed the new 'do off on the cover of Dazed magazine.
Cutting off all her hair was "emotional," Stenberg told Dazed, because she "understood how [her] hair had been a symbol of self-love and self-acceptance for some people" and that "having that representation was important to some young girls." Still, Stenberg asserts that self-acceptance ultimately has nothing to do with her hair. "I feel like my belief in myself — my acceptance of myself, my ethnicity, my blackness, my everything — is there whether or not I have hair," she said. "I think it was important for a period to have my hair be a symbol of self-love, but now I know that my self-love is there, whether I'm bald or have a full 'fro."
Stenberg also discussed activism, acting and being friends with Gloria Steinem in her interview with Dazed, which you can read in full here. See more images from Amandla's cover shoot, photographed by Ben Toms, below.