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08/31/2012 at 03:00 PM ET

Blake Lively
Amanda Schwab/Startraks

It was a moment that caught us by surprise: when Blake Lively decided to ditch her glossy blonde locks and dye her long hair a Little Mermaid-esque red.

The Gossip Girl star — who turned 25 this week — made the change in April of 2011, debuting the look at the TIME 100 Gala in New York. The new hue was for her role in Hick, and the actress explained that it allowed her to get into character. “It helps when you’re playing a role, when I don’t feel like myself. And I don’t really feel like myself with red hair,” she told PEOPLE.

Lively complemented her hair that night with a glimmering sea-green Zuhair Murad dress, which furthered the Little Mermaid comparisons. In fact, even the starlet herself saw the similarities; as she said, “I feel like Ariel.”

The look was short-lived, though; by June she was back to blonde, or as she called it, “sierra sunset.” But with many more movie roles to come, we’re sure we’ll see some different dye jobs from the actress in the years ahead.


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