The Most Surprising Celeb Transformations of the Year

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Pop Culture Moments That DEFINED 2022

A lot can change in a year—just ask these stars.

In 2022, celebrities decided to take some chances and make headlines by shaking up their signature looks. Who can forget when Kim Kardashian used the Met Gala to debut her platinum blonde hair? Or when Ariana Grande said goodbye to her brunette ponytail and hello to an icy hue as she began filming Wicked? But they weren’t the only ones who decided to see if blondes have more fun, with Patrick Dempsey, Aubrey Plaza and Eiza Gonzalez also lightening their locks. 

Plus, it seemed to be the year of the buzzcut as Dixie D’Amelio, Doja Cat and Ireland Baldwin all shaved their heads, while Robert Downey Jr. allowed his kids to chop his hair off before he became filming a new project. And JoJo Siwa traded her pony for a pixie. 

Outside of the salon, Jonathan Van Ness went on a quest to feel better and a Hairspray Live! star opened up about her 150-pound weight loss journey.

Look back on the most surprising celeb transformations of the year: 

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Kim Kardashian

No one can ever say that the reality star isn’t willing to commit to a bit.

In order to fit into one of Marilyn Monroe‘s most iconic gowns for the 2022 Met Gala, Kardashian adopted a strict no-carbs and no-sugar diet to lose 16 pounds in three weeks. 

“It was such a challenge,” Kardashian told Vogue. “It was like a role. I was determined to fit.”

The 41-year-old added that she also wore a sauna suit two times a day to run on the treadmill, adding, “I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict.”

To complete her Marilyn makeover, Kardashian dyed her signature dark tresses platinum blonde, which she continued to rock until debuting a honey hue in early December.


Ariana Grande

God is a (blonde) woman.

Grande debuted her newly lightened locks in an Instagram post in October, cheekily captioning the photo, “new earrings.” The “Thank U, Next” singer’s hair was pulled back into a low ponytail to show off her new look as she continues filming the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Wicked, playing Glinda the Good Witch. 

Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock; Gotham/FilmMagic

Dixie D’Amelio

The TikTok star’s biggest move this year happened IRL.

D’Amelio surprised fans when she showed off her newly shaved head at the Harper’s Bazaar Global Icons Party in September. Prior to hitting he red carpet, the influencer documented her dramatic transformation in a YouTube video. 

“I’ve wanted to do this since sixth grade,” the 21-year-old explained. “I just want, like, to restart. We’re gonna make it a moment.”

But before finally going for the buzz cut, D’Amelio had to remind herself that her hair would grow back.

“Everyone who I’ve told is like, ‘Oh, that’s going to be dope,'” she continued. “And if someone doesn’t like it, then who cares. I just want to be a cool girl.”

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Aubrey Plaza

The White Lotus star joined the do-blondes-have-more-fun brigade, stepping out with newly dyed hair at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Annual Governors Awards in November.

Plaza revealed to Variety on the red carpet that her lightened locks are for her upcoming role in Francis Ford Coppola‘s Megalopolis.


Ireland Baldwin

“Do things that scare you.”

That’s the internal advice that inspired the model to debut a platinum blonde buzzcut this August.

“Don’t tell me I won’t do something because I will,” Baldwin captioned the Instagram snaps, adding, “buzzed by @hairmettle” and tagging her hairstylist Hannah Bonetti.

On her Instagram Stories, the 26-year-old explained that her “hair was destroyed by years of bleach and modeling and bulls–t” beginning at age 17. 

“It’s long overdue for a restart/refresh,” Baldwin continued. “I’ve always wanted to do this but I was always scared. Now that I don’t care about what other people think, I feel more beautiful than ever.”

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Chase Stokes

It looks like the “B” in John B. might stand for buzzcut.

The Outer Banks star debuted a brand-new hairstyle in a September Instagram post commemorating his 30th birthday. In the snap, Stokes is posing in front of a mirror with his hand on his shaved head.

KCS Presse / MEGA

Kendall Jenner

This look was red hot.

Jenner brought her usual supermodel strut to the Prada runway during Milan Fashion Week in February 4 —but one thing that noticeably different.

The 26-year-old embraced a ginger hair color, slicked back in a heavily gelled updo to complete her other-worldly aesthetic. Pairing her fiery hair with cooler tones, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star wore a silver see-through skirt, gray Mary Jane heels and a navy belted puffer 

While Jenner’s new hue was initially due to work duties, she continued to sport the auburn color until May.

Getty Images for Nickelodeon/Instagram

JoJo Siwa

In a year filled with transformations, the YouTube star provided the most hair changes of all. Siwa tested out a mullet, a mohawk and a chop that saw her turning in her signature ponytail for a pixie cut in a September TikTok.

In the video, the 19-year-old revealed her then-girlfriend Avery Cyrus was the person responsible for her short locks.

“I was very scared every single time, but you know what? It’s eventually gotta get there,” Siwa joked. “We just kept going.” While the haircut was “a little janky” at first, Siwa said, “in the end, it turned out amazing.”

In another post, Siwa commended Cyrus’ skills, writing, “I wasn’t sure how it was gonna turn out… BUT IM SO HAPPY AVERY CRUSHED ITTTTTT.”

Bre Johnson/

Jonathan Van Ness

Can you believe that the Queer Eye star debuted their own makeover, revealing that they’ve lost 35 pounds?

“I got a nutritionist back in April,” Van Ness shared in an August TikTok, showing off their body transformation. “Here’s the thing, I wanted to change my body size because of my gymnastics and my career. I wanted to do more stuff, I wanted to feel better.”

The 35-year-old then offered relatable advice to anyone going on their own personal health journeys. “If you’re thinking about it or you’re getting super frustrated, it took me three weeks for anything to change,” they reiterated, before cheekily adding, “So, now I’m a slut.”


Patrick Dempsey

So long, McDreamy. Hello, McBlondey.

The Grey’s Anatomy alum looked unrecognizable when he stepped out with platinum blonde hair at the D23 Expo in September. There to promote Disenchanted and to be honored as a Disney Legend, Dempsey revealed to Variety that he dyed his hair to play race car driver Piero Taruffi in the new Ferrari movie.

“I’m known for my hair,” the 56-year-old noted, acknowledging that his lighter locks may not go over well with fans. who prefer his signature dark hair. “This has really jacked up a lot of people who don’t really know how to embrace it,” he joked. “Either they love it or hate it.”

Then in December, Dempsey was operating with another new look when his wife Jillian Dempsey revealed that he had shaved his head “to eliminate” the remaining lighter hair. “Change is good!” she captioned a black-and-white video of the star buzzing off his locks with a pair of clippers. 

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, Twitter

Doja Cat

Get into Doja Cat’s new look.

After admitting that she “never liked” having hair, the singer shaved her eyebrows off and debuted her new buzzcut on Instagram Live in July.

“I just can’t believe that it took me this long to be like, ‘Shave your f–king head,'” the 26-year-old said, adding that she was “obsessed” with her new ‘do.

As she explained, “I feel like I was never supposed to have hair anyway.”

Gerald Matzka/Getty Images, David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Eiza Gonzalez

A lot can change overnight.

Just one day after attending the Berlin premiere of her film Ambulance with her signature brunette tresses, the 32-year-old actress showed off her new bleached blonde ‘do at the movie’s London debut in March.

“I just hear that blonds have more fun,” Gonzalez told OnDemand Entertainment at the event, “so I just had to do it!”

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KJ Apa

Archie, is that you?!

Riverdale fans were shocked when Apa debuted a new hairstyle on Instagramin July, ditching the longer red locks he rocks on the CW hit series in favor of a brunette buzzcut. The 25-year-old was also sporting stubble, a departure from the clean-shaven face he typically has on the show. 

“Reset. One Fast Move,” Apa captioned the photo, a reference to his upcoming movie Reset.

Instagram; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Shay Mooney

We’re “Speechless” over this transformation.

The Dan + Shay singer recently revealed that he lost nearly 50 pounds over the course of five months. “Thank you guys so much for all your kind words about me looking healthy,” he wrote on his Instagram Stories in October. “Really means a lot. Been a little over 5 months I believe and I’m down almost 50lbs.”

Mooney went on to share how he lost the weight. “For those asking: Eating clean/not drinking alcohol and walking 7 miles a day and some weights,” he wrote. “That’s it! I completely changed my lifestyle and I’ve never felt better physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Brian Bowen Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images; Instagram

Maddie Baillio

You can’t stop the Hairspray Live! star’s determination.

Ballio has lost 150 pounds, “more than half” of what she once weighed, since 2020, the actress revealed in an interview with People in November, explaining her health journey began while she was filming Cinderella with Camila Cabello.

“I couldn’t keep up with the choreography,” Ballio shared. “I kept losing my breath. We’d have to start reshooting the scene over and over for me.”

Ballio credited her weight loss to walking during her free time—with 30 minute sessions slowly becoming two hours a day—practicing hot yoga and adopting a vegan diet. 

“I stepped on the scale, and that was inspiring to see that I had control over something,” she said, “that I had control over my body.”

For the Broadway star, seeing her “physical stamina” improve has been the most rewarding.

“I’m inspired by the changing mentality,” Ballio explained. “I wanna play my dream roles on Broadway that have nothing to do with my weight. And I definitely see it going that direction.”

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr.

We love the story behind the Iron Man star’s new look 3,000.

In November, Downey shared an an Instagram video of his children Exton, 10, and Avri, 8, shaving his head for his upcoming role in HBO’s The Sympathizer. And the actor debuted his buzzcut on the red carpet at premiere of Netflix’s Sr., a documentary about his father, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., at the 2022 AFI Fest in Hollywood.


Gregory Gourdet

A Top Chef alum shared his “pandemic weight journey.”

Taking to Instagram in January, Gourdet revealed he’s lost 40 pounds and posted before-and-after photos. “212# to 172#,” he wrote alongside the pics. “This was hard!”

Looking back at his experience, Gourdet recalled how, “Between gyms closing, a running injury (I have a torn meniscus) and survival eating at work, I gained a good amount of weight in 2020.” Then in July, when he was at his “highest weight ever,” he decided to press the “reset button” on his health.

E! News returns Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 11:30 p.m., only on E!.

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