Tessa Thompson's MTV Movie & TV Awards Hairdo Is All About Girl Power

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Men In Black: International may take place in a futuristic, alien universe, but star Tessa Thompson’s latest red carpet hairstyle gives serious vintage vibes.

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One of the most well-recognized retro hairstyles has to be victory rolls. Seriously, just turn on any movie or TV show set in or around the 1940s. Walking the red carpet for MTV’s Movie & TV Awards on Saturday, Thompson sported the iconic rolls, along with a cascade of loose waves. And much like Thompson’s historic MIB role — she’s the first woman leading character in the franchise — victory rolls ooze girl power.

The ‘do is said to have gotten its name from a fighter plane maneuver called the aileron roll done as a sign of victory or celebration, hence the term “victory roll.”

During World War II more than 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Likewise, the industrial labor force also saw an uptick in women employees, with nearly one out of every four married women working outside of the home and taking on the jobs of men who were fighting the war, according to the History network. Thompson’s ‘do is reminiscent of a time when women were first finding their place in the American workforce and becoming empowered as contributing members of society and the economy.

It’s said that the women adopted this particular hairstyle because it was practical (it kept hair out of their face), yet still feminine. In other words, it marked the beginning of the day-to-night beauty trend we all know today, and the transition of women in roles beyond wife and mother.

The latter continues today, with more women like Thompson stepping into the stoplight both on-screen and behind the camera, something that the actor hopes becomes more frequent as time goes on.

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“In the last 10 years, some of the top-grossing studio films that have been made, women represent only 4% of the directors in that space,” Thompson told NPR, in regards to the 4% Challenge” from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Times Up, of which she was an early and vocal supporter. “There's a misconception for some people in Hollywood that that's the pool of talent.” Thompson took the challenge and vowed to work with a woman director in the next 18 months, and already completed it — her film Little Woods was directed by a first-time woman director, Nia DaCosta.

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