Sarah Paulson’s Hair in ‘The Goldfinch’ Looks Ratty for a Reason

The Goldfinch is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Thanks to the cast (read: Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort and Sarah Paulson) and the Donna Tartt novel from which the film is based, the excitement is real. So when we had a chance to have a little Celebeauty Sit-Down with Mandy Lyons, key hairstylist from the film, we were curious to know how she and her team nailed down the looks of each cast member. More specifically, how did she come up with Paulson’s ratty blonde ’do?

Paulson plays young Theo’s (Finn Wolfhard) trashy stepmom, who he’s forced to coexist with when he’s relocated to Las Vegas to live with his father. So, Lyons found inspiration for Paulson’s tresses in none other than Sin City. 

“My inspiration for Xandra ‘with an X’ was about her character,” Lyons explained. “I wanted her to look like she never cuts her hair and is hanging on to the past with her long length. She still cuts her own bangs.”

Lyons went on to say that she was also influenced by Xandra’s costumes (that zebra coat in the photo above says it all). And when it came to color, her motto was the less professional looking, the better. Lyons said she made the color “purposefully bad in tone to reflect that she doesn't have good taste.”

Her number one guiding light however came from photos of bartenders in Vegas. Lyons “found some great pics to show Sarah, and she was sold. We were on the same page.”

Thankfully, Lyons didn’t try to convince Paulson to dye her hair a déclassé blonde permanently. “Because Sarah’s own hair was short and dark brown, I had a wig built for the part,” Lyons explained.

All we can say is that’s some wig.

The Goldfinch hits theaters this Friday, September 13.

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Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.