Exclusive: Rosario Dawson Speaks 'Top Five,' Obama Immigration Reform & Hairstyle Tips

We all want to be Rosario Dawson when we grow up. Seriously! The Top Five star's resume includes blockbusters (Sin City), thought-provoking bio-pics (Cesar Chavez), she’s the founder of Voto Latino and can rock the hell out of a half-shaved hairstyle. Here, we ask the Puerto Rican and Cuban marvel about working with Chris Rock, Pres. Obama’s executive decision on immigration reform and, of course, hairstyle advice.

First thing, how does it feel to shave the side of your head? Do you feel like you can do more styles with it?

I know I feel like I can do a ton of styles. I rock a comb-over half the time. This October makes two years I’ve had it, so a lot of people didn’t even know and then other people who have been paying attention are probably getting sick of it. [Laughs] But it’s the easiest, laziest hairstyle I’ve ever had in many aspects because it always feels like it’s done. But it also is such a pain in the ass that you always have to cut it down all the time.

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Would you ever shave it all off or just let it grow back?

I would totally shave it off. It’s funny I wanted to do this for many, many years and I kept thinking because Robert [Rodriguez] kept saying we’re going to do Sin City 2, pretty much every year after we did Sin City the first one and so I just kept thinking, Cool, when I come back for Gail I want to take her to the next level. Then 10 years go by and I finally cut my hair for it and I thought, Oh man this is going to suck for me with other parts. But then I ended up being able to rock it in a couple other projects so it’s been really nice. I think if I go full bald I’ll probably be in a little more of an issue; my mom did that at one point.

For your role as journalist Chelsea Brown in Top Five, you’re sporting the new 'do. 

Yes, and in relation to this role I remember telling Chris, “Listen, we’re going to be shooting in New York outside in Africa heat New York it’s not going to be a good look to be wearing a wig. I’m going to hate life.” On top of that with my character she’s edgy; she’s not your average girl. There are a lot of complexities to her and the hairstyle kind of worked that she would be the type of person to go, I can’t make my decision on what hairstyle I’m going to have, I’m going to have multiple in one. It really suited her and that was actually a kind of point that she brought up which I think a lot of it got cut out but it was a big sticking point that I remember in the original script where she was going on like, “What’s up with all you guys when you guys make it you always get the girl with the exact same hair, the exact same style, the exact same nails?” Chris had said, “No problem. I could have my hair how it was, I just want you to do this movie so if you come in bald I’ll be thrilled.”

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But of course when I actually accepted the movie and the producers had a chance to be there they were like, “Ugh can you maybe try this wig? And I was like “no!” There’s so much about a woman’s beauty that’s caught up in what her hair looks like, and this pressure of how she’s wearing it and whatever and I’m like in deep areas in Africa where people got weaves and doing all this kind of stuff, and I’m like, what’s up with that? You know, and there’s just something there’s something that’s really strange about it.

It seems as you’re totally embracing your hairdo.

This is the best hairstyle for me, like my little bald spot you know what I mean? Like, I’m like let’s go! I play with it and I’m like it’s just awesome, it’s like an interesting thing and every woman that I’ve talked to that’s ended up cutting their hair at some point how liberated they felt and yeah definitely there will be some people that are like, “Oh my gosh do you have cancer or whatever like that okay because it’s so small minded.” That’s the only you could ever imagine a woman would ever shave her head is because of that reason and not because she wants to feel the rain on her head or like feel their silk pillow on her skin?

And going back to your character, [SPOILER ALERT] you find out your boyfriend is gay. Have you ever had like a similar experience in your own life where you liked someone who was unattainable?

Oh my god, yeah! I think relationships in general are such a funny and odd thing. I mean there are billions of us on this planet. Billions! And you think about you meet someone and you’re like, they’re the one. I mean I’m really about the experience. Go and have that experience. Why do you have to feel like because it happened, maybe you saw a movie that it’s supposed to mean ever after, but then you’re going to discount the experience if it didn’t work out? I think it did work out, what a crazy idea that these two different beings born in these two different places would somehow meet each other and strike a chord and then at the same time to both be feeling each other. That’s remarkable. And sometimes it’s that thing, sometimes someone’s in your life for a reason for a season or a lifetime, you know? And I think that’s the reality. So if you can have that perspective, I think you’re going to be really good.

Changing topics, how did you feel about the Pres. Obama’s executive decision on immigration reform?

Really amazed. I think we’ve wanted that to happen for a really long time. It could’ve easily happened a long time. I think by, you know Bush has done it before, and Reagan had done it before, and it’s really interesting because so much about immigration policy and people reaching out to the Latin vote actually came from the Republican Party. I’m really curious and I’m baffled really by the reasoning, whatever reasoning that it really is to be doing such a push back against it when that’s actually something that should be cohesive across all of the different parties.

So for me I’m grateful that he’s taken an action that I’m also feeling like it should’ve been a long time ago. And I think had he owned it a long time ago, we’d be in a really different place. It’s really unfortunate because he didn’t take that action and he knew he was supposed to, he kept apologizing and saying, “I have to follow all these laws.” Now he’s in hot water with all the people he’s not pushing back against because they’re going, “Oh but you said you couldn’t do it without us and now here you are doing it without us.” And I’m like yeah because he was wrong in saying that he couldn’t do it, he just didn’t want to. He really was trying to reach across the aisle and do it together which you all could’ve done because it’s the right thing to do and it’s the timing.

It is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, and who’s going to own it? And you both could’ve owned, across the board, all the parties could’ve owned it and the fact that it’s gotten to this point it is like well . . . good. I’m glad, but it’s a really different landscape now for it to be occurring and there’s been a lot of negativity that’s been a part of it so we’ve got a lot of work still to do ahead of us. You know, it’s not perfect legislature, neither was health care, neither are all these different things but we’re making some inroads, and I think we’re making some progress that I think is really important for all generations. Like this is the kind of thing that makes me excited about the voting process and makes me feel like now we need more leadership because this has got to be followed up by somebody and that’s why I’m not someone who’s going to go, “Oh vote Obama! Oh, vote Bush. Oh vote Clinton!”

How do you motivate young people?

And I think we have the reasoning behind it because if you’re a young person today looking at trillions of dollars of debt and drowning under all these student loans and the reality that you’re most likely not going to move out of your parents’ house, you’re going to put off getting married, you’re going to put off having children, then you have more reasoning to be part of it. And again it’s always the young people who don’t start. Who don’t participate in the way that they could. But I’m seeing a big change in that because they have to, and we are becoming more youth-centric and that makes me very excited. So hopefully the people at the top will be willing to listen and open up and pass down their wisdom. Hopefully these young people will stop kind of just thinking about voting and talking about it on Twitter, and actually go out there and mobilize and do more than just a march, but actually march to the polls. Because that’s going to make all the difference in the world and they get to call the shots then. And that’s what they want to do.

I mean I think the DREAMers are a perfect example of that. I mean here are people who can’t vote, who should have no voice, and no one can get around talking about them because they’ve made so much noise. They’ve made so much of an impact and it just shows you what is possible out there. So I’m very hopeful to see what the next, what the leadership is going to come because we’re not in a place where we can’t imagine having a Black president anymore like I was when I was little. We’re not in a place right now where it’s just like maybe when I’m old I’ll maybe see a woman be president. So do it. Make it happen.