Fact: Olivia Rodrigo, pop star extraordinaire and resident global Gen Z ambassador, was born in 2003. But despite barely being sentient during the glitter-soaked glory days of the early aughts, the singer-songwriter has managed to turn new millennium beauty motifs into her personal aesthetic calling card. Those visuals reach their zenith with the hairstyles in Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal” music video, which debuted yesterday, August 23, starring a series of colorful, highly accessorized Y2K styles stunning enough to make anyone wish they were a 2000s teen. Though for those who missed the era’s heyday, this 2021 resurgence is nearly as good as the real thing.
The Petra Collins-directed video opens with a pure Y2K moment, a video game character selection screen that seems futuristic and painfully outdated — which is exactly how every animated show and video game actually looked at the time. Kicking off the visuals for the song, which itself is a pop-punky teenage angst anthem, the screen is clearly representative of the youthful struggle that is discovering your identity. And, in this case, maybe which hairstyle suits you best, too. Here are the greatest Y2K hair moments from Rodrigo’s new video — also known as the hair moments you’re about to see on every cool girl you know through fall and beyond.
It’s a look right out of a 2003 high school comedy (pick one, any one!): rhinestone-studded tank spelling out “baby girl”, a tangle of rainbow-colored beaded necklaces, two spiky space buns, and a strategically-placed bandana headband — all that’s missing is a cameraless flip phone and White Out nail polish painted on during homeroom.
Long, centered-parted plaits were the sporty style du jour of Y2K, and the red hybrid newsboy cap-beret perched on top of them is a very realistic touch — just ask this writer, for example, who ran around with a furry white Limited Too bucket hat over her own braids in 2003. Against Rodrigo’s Diet Coke tab earrings, tattoo choker, and truly glorious tank top exclaiming the wearer to be a flirt, the hairstyle gets even more credit.
Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé — in the early 2000s, you were hard-pressed to find a female celebrity not wearing some variation of blonde hair; ultra-platinum, ultra-long and ultra-curly hair absolutely dominated. Rodrigo flips that then-ideal on its head by playing the part of a very modern influencer breaking down on Live with a throwback hairstyle, clearly an homage to the party girls of yesteryear.
Mall Rat Pigtails
In the penultimate, arguably best scene in the entire video, Rodrigo pops up in an abandoned shopping mall, hair in color-streaked pigtails, before being pulled away by her equally decked-out besties. The bits of pink and red running through her long pigtails are accented by a constellation of colorful butterfly clips, glittery barrettes, and beaded hair ties. The more-is-more effect is both visually stimulating and historically accurate.
Though the music video was likely highly produced with a robust team of creatives from hair and makeup to lighting and editing the Y2K aesthetic doesn’t take a huge production to pull off, and incorporate into your everyday style (if you wish). Here are a few staple accessories to get you started on your style journey into the past.
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