TV & Movies

'Grey's Anatomy': Camilla Luddington Stayed Blonde Because 'Jo Needs a Change'

Grey’s Anatomy has a large and recognizable cast of characters, though one of them is embracing a new look for season 18. Jo Wilson has become a staple of the ABC series, and Grey’s Anatomy star Camilla Luddington is sporting a new hairstyle while playing her. While the look started out as Luddington’s personal decision, she decided to keep it for the character. Given Jo’s recent storylines, the actor felt it simply made sense.

Jo Wilson has been through a lot in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Grey’s Anatomy rarely goes easy on its characters, but Jo Wilson has been through it during the more recent seasons of the show. After forming what seemed like a stable, healthy relationship with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), the series threw a curveball at her during season 16. When Chambers departed from the show, Alex walked out of her life — and back into the arms of his ex-wife in Iowa.

That heartbreak alone is enough to change a person, but Luddington’s character faced more obstacles during Grey’s Anatomy Season 17. Her attempts to adopt her late patient’s baby were rocky, to say the least. And although she eventually succeeded and took Luna home, she’s spending season 18 learning the ropes of motherhood.

It’s emotional roller coaster after emotional roller coaster for Jo, and Luddington hopes her look reflects that.

Camilla Luddington felt her blonde hair made sense for Jo

In addition to all the other massive changes in Jo’s life, Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 sees her sporting a new look. Her previously long, dark hair is replaced by a shorter, blonde style. And while Luddington chose to change her hair during hiatus, she decided not to go back to Jo’s usual style this season.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Luddington explained that people often cut or style their hair when they’re going through major changes. That felt appropriate for Jo, especially after all she went through recently:

“I wanted to change it. During hiatus I always change my hair and then I have to go back. I went a little bit blonder this time and was thinking, ‘I feel like Jo needs a change. She’s been through a divorce and now she has a baby.’ There’s a lot of times in my life when I’m going through different seasons where it’s reflected in the way I look. I might dress different, or I might change my hair.”

Of course, we’ve all known someone who adopted a bolder look after a break-up or loss. Some of us have even done that ourselves. So, having Jo do so in Grey’s Anatomy definitely comes off as relatable. When Luddington asked showrunner Krista Vernoff, she agreed. In fact, she told the actor to go platinum for the new episodes.

“So, they wrote it in that she left bleach on her hair for way too long and fried it,” Luddington recalled. “But I like it for her right now. I get her wanting to feel a little bit different.”

What’s next for Camilla Luddington’s character in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

After the past two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, different definitely sounds like a good thing for Jo. Of course, her initial appearance in the season 18 premiere implied some messier changes ahead for her character. But it seems like she’s on the right track, and she’s finding her calling in Luna and the babies at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.

As for whether or not the show will throw more curveballs her way, that’s anyone’s guess. Luddington teased some big developments in a Twitter post, writing, “There is SOOOOO much to tell you that I CAN’T. Buckle up.”

Fans will just have to keep watching to see what she’s referring to. New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy air on ABC on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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