Gypsy Rose Blanchard was a bald teen who sported giant glasses, wore primarily pink outfits, and sat in a wheelchair for years as she posed, allegedly by her mother’s direction, as a sick child and teen. Her mother Claudine "Dee Dee" Blanchard, pretended Gypsy had everything from leukemia to muscular dystrophy to developmental issues. She allegedly forced Gypsy to go along with the scam, making her endure multiple surgeries and consume unneeded medications.
The story of the disturbing mother-daughter dynamic, which eventually led to Gypsy masterminding Dee Dee's murder, is getting retold in Hulu's fictional anthology series, "The Act," which uses Gypsy's story as the basis for the first season. One of the most jarring parts of the series is seeing just how ill and young Gypsy appeared to look back then.
Actress Joey King plays the character based on Gypsy in "The Act" and went through a metamorphosis to play the seemingly sick woman.
"The story is so messed up and there are so many layers, and it's so, so heavy," King said in an interview with Teen Vogue. "I never want it to feel like we're making fun of the story or we're doing anything to romanticize it. It's nitty-gritty; it's really disturbing... And I'm really hyper aware of just trying to dive into Gypsy's role as much as I can. I feel really proud of the work I'm doing."
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King took the role seriously and her Instagram documents her transformation into Gypsy.
Back in October, she posted a photo of her hair getting buzzed off for the role. “My name for the next 4 months, is Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” the actress wrote. “This story is very disturbing and I am honored to be able to portray it.”
King truly committed to the look, which has led to praise from critics. Vulture called King’s portrayal of Gypsy convincing, “disciplined, and exceptional,” adding that her physical transformation renders her almost unrecognizable from her previous roles in projects like in Netflix’s “The Kissing Booth.”
She may have nailed what Gypsy looked like before her mother's murder, but Gypsy looked much different after her imprisonment. As shown in her mug shot, her hair was already starting to grow back after she was caught and arrested for her mom's murder.
By court appearances in 2016, she was sporting long brunette locks. In interviews for the 2017 HBO documentary “Mommy Dead and Dearest” and in appearances on Dr. Phil's show the same year, it’s clear Gypsy has completely transformed from the days when she was allegedly abused by her mom. She is almost unrecognizable in her prison garb, her image vastly different than the bald, sickly-looking girl dressed in all pink.
In interviews, she appears vibrant, almost glowing.
Still petite, she sported makeup while telling Dr. Phil that she is not glad that her mother is dead but that she is happy to be out of that situation. She traded in her large glasses for non-oversized ones and has gained weight since being incarcerated, according to Buzzfeed News. However, her high-pitched voice remains the same.
Gypsy's friend Kim Blanchard told BuzzFeed News, “She looked much more like the person that she was, which was the complete opposite of the person that I knew, and it was like she had a costume on that whole time and then took it off.”
Robin Veith, who wrote two episodes of “The Act” told Oxygen.com people often ask why nobody noticed that Gypsy was actually not sick. “People found it easy to look the other way because nobody wants to doubt a handicapped girl and because she infantilized herself it was even more,” she explained. “Nobody wanted to talk trash about a little kid. Nobody wants to talk trash about a sick girl.”
She explained both women took on personas: for Dee Dee it was being the “mother of a sick child.” And their look helped them pass as the roles they were allegedly trying to be. “I think it was really easy to desexualize them, and as a woman we’re taught that is part of our commerce, but if you’re stripped of that people kind of don’t even look at you in a way and I think that’s part of why they were able to fly under the radar.”
"I think what we're seeing is something that most people go through in their teens," Veith said of Gypsy post-arrest. "She's now trying to figure out who she is."
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