Gillian Anderson goes bald as she transforms into Eleanor Roosevelt for new role

Gillian Anderson had fans panicking with her latest update on The First Lady

Gillian Anderson's bald transformation for Eleanor Roosevelt role sends fans into a frenzy
(Image credit: Alamy)

Gillian Anderson has caused quite the frenzy with her latest update on her role as Eleanor Roosevelt after frightening fans into believing her hair might be gone forever. 

The American actor took a quick break from working on her upcoming series, The First Lady, to share a sneak-peak of the backstage action—and unintentionally alarm her devoted legion of followers. Gillian stirred serious panic after she posted an Instagram snap of her transformation into the iconic wife of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a laborious process that involves ditching her cropped blonde hair and going (temporarily) bald. 

The Sex Education star can be seen smiling and wearing a bald cap as a woman positions a brown wig—reminiscent of Eleanor's signature coiled updo—on her hairless scalp on the set of the Showtime production. The latex prop was so convincing that some fans genuinely thought Gillian had shaved her head—a possibility they weren't exactly approving of. 


"Oh my god for a moment I thought you went bald," one follower commented. 

"PLSSS I THOUGHT U WERE BALD 😭😂" another relieved person wrote. 

Gillian may not have shaved her hair for the role, but that doesn't mean she's not getting into character. The Emmy-award winner posted Eleanor Roosevelt's most famous quote—"A woman is like a teabag, you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water"—alongside the photo, suggesting she's done plenty of research in preparation to play the legendary FLOTUS. 

(Original Caption) 10/4/1928-New York, NY- Photo shows Mrs. F.D. Roosevelt, wife of the Democratic Gubenatorial candidate at her desk, preparing campaign matter for her husband. Mrs. Roosevelt was hostess today at a tea at Democratic headquarters, given for newspapermen.

Eleanor Roosevelt in 1928, five years before she became First Lady 

(Image credit: Getty)

The First Lady, which has yet to confirm its release date, will also star Viola Davis as Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Producers of the anthology series were delighted to cast Gillian as the longest-serving First Lady, calling her "an actress of incredible range and exquisite talent." 

"She is the perfect choice to complete this powerhouse trio, who will inhabit the roles of these iconic women," said Amy Israel, the executive vice president of scripted programming at Showtime Networks Inc. 

This isn't the first time the Emmy-award winner has undergone a dramatic makeover for a role. Her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown left viewers absolutely awe-struck, with many shocked by the uncanny resemblance between the actor and the former UK Prime Minister. Gillian Anderson even revealed the secret behind her ‘Thatcher Face’ in The Crown, sharing the simple technique she used to achieve the iconic look. 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.