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The Inspiration Behind Princess Leia's Hair Is More Than Meets The Eye

It takes one to know one.

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People have been collectively mourning the loss of actor and activist Carrie Fisher after her death on Tuesday. Fisher, who was a Hollywood icon for decades, was most known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, and also for that oh-so-iconic bun hairdo she sported in the movies.

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That famous hairstyle is known the world over, and director George Lucas explained in a 2002 Time interview where he got the inspiration for Leia's hair:


In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn't fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico. Then it took such hits and became such a thing. In the new trilogy, the same thing applies, to try and do something timeless. I'm just basically having a good time.

To back up the claim, University of Texas associate professor Eric Tang uploaded a photo to his Facebook account from a Star Wars art exhibit in Denver that put Leia's hair inspiration on full display.

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Evidence also suggests that Leia's hair is inspired by the "squash blossom" hairstyle worn by the young women of the Native American Hopi tribe at the turn of the century.

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The Hopi were known for resisting colonial rule. And as part of their unique style, young Hopi women would wear their hair in this style as a sign of their maidenhood.

The resemblance between the styles is uncanny, and even Princess Padmé rocks the exact same look.

Edward S. Curtis / U.S. Library of Congress
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In a 1977 interview with the BBC, Fisher said, "They didn't want a stereotypical princess" for the films.

View this video on YouTube

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So in this case, the look and attitude of an intergalactic badass woman drew inspiration from some badass women from history.

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