‘Queen Sugar’ Star Dawn Lyen-Gardner on Charley’s New Hair and What It Means

“It wasn’t a signal of someone coming undone, it was a signal of someone coming into themselves,” actress tells TheWrap

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if  you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode of “Queen Sugar”)

If you’ve been any sorts of attentive to Season 2 of “Queen Sugar,” you may have noticed a slight change in Charley Bordelon-West’s (Dawn Lyen-Gardner) hair on last night’s episode — she’s wearing it curly and natural now.

But it’s not as simple as just a hairstyle change — her decision to wear her hair natural also exposes her real self.

Since the start of Season 1 of “Queen Sugar,” we’ve seen a very strong, calculated and ironclad Charley Bordelon-West (Dawn Lyen Gardner), one that always kept up appearances despite all the chaos going on in her life —  that is up until recently.

“Seeing her hair curly as every day as that might be to some of us, it’s not every day for her,” Dawn Lyen-Gardner told TheWrap. “Everyday for her for years and years and years is just one thing — and it’s been where her control can begin in the morning is in the armor that she puts on, it’s in the way she dresses, in how she presents and her hair is a part of that.”

In certain episodes, especially the last few, we’ve gotten glimpses of Charley’s humanity: losing control and walking up to Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett) at the basketball court, her breakdown at the mill, telling Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) that she needed help. While her recent behavior and actions have been somewhat of a 180 from her strong, composed and collected demeanor, it doesn’t exactly signify that Charley is just completely falling apart.

“It wasn’t a signal of someone coming undone, it was a signal of someone coming into themselves in a way that they’ve never ever before, and that they’ve never anticipated before,” explained Lyen-Gardner.

According to Dawn, it was only a matter of time before Charley wasn’t able to continue on as she had been doing.

“She tries and she’s pretty successful at it for the rest of the season, she’s pretty successful at it into this season,” said Lyen-Gardner. “She has actually shifted into like fifth gear — the mill’s gone, the farm’s gone, she’s got it all handled.”

The actress said at first she was interested in seeing when Charley would reach her breaking point given all that she’s gone through.

“I think it makes sense that it’s only when as absolute core to her as her father’s land no longer being hers which was the basis of her own redemption story, the basis of her promise which she makes at the end of episode one. It’s only something that core that could rock her into examining some things pretty deeply.”

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