Why Cruella's Hair Is Black & White


Why Cruella’s Hair Is Black & White

Emma Stone’s villainous character Estella/Cruella has black and white hair in the 2021 movie, Cruella – read on to find out why her hair changes.


  • The 2021 Disney live-action remake of Cruella provides a realistic explanation for why the character has black and white hair.
  • The film gives viewers insight into Cruella de Vil’s backstory and how she became a villain who despised Dalmatians.
  • Unlike previous versions, which mostly assumed Cruella dyed her hair, the 2021 film offers a deeper understanding of her hair as a metaphor for her dual personalities.



Every version of Cruella de Vil includes her signature black and white hair, but the 2021 live-action remake of the popular Disney animated film Cruella gives a reasonable explanation as to why the villain has two different hair colors. Emma Stone stars as the titular character, Cruella de Vil, in Cruella, but the movie gives fans the antagonist’s backstory, including her original name — Estella — and how she turned into a villain. Plus, it finally explained why Cruella’s hair was naturally black and white.

Cruella separated itself from most of the other Disney live-action remakes that came before and after it, because it told the classic story of 101 Dalmatians from a different perspective. Instead of retelling what the audiences already knew about the tale, the 2021 film gave viewers insight into how Cruella de Vil became such a hateful person who despised Dalmatians. Plus, the movie revealed that part of Cruella’s villain origin story originated from her black and white hair.

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Estella Dyes Her Hair Black & White When She Becomes Cruella

Cruella begins with Estella as a child with black and white hair, something that she was born with due to a disease called poliosis. The condition is caused by a decrease or absence of melanin in the hair on the body, typically resulting in a white streak or splotches in someone’s hair. Because of her unusual hair, Estella was bullied in school, which partly shaped her into the villain she eventually became. She was an outcast, and in order to fit in, Emma Stone’s character dyed her hair red to hide her natural two-toned color.

However, later in the 2021 Disney live-action remake, Estella decided to embrace her stark hair color (and her nefarious alter ego, Cruella) and returned to her black and white do. She debuted her black and white locks at Baroness Von Hellman’s Black and White Ball and embodied her Cruella persona. And just like that, Cruella de Vil was born in Cruella​​​​. Related: Where Was Disney’s Cruella Filmed?

How Other Versions Of Cruella de Vil Explained The Black & White Hair

Cruella yelling in 102 Dalmatians

Most versions of Cruella de Vil, in either animation or live-action adaptations of 101 Dalmatians, do not explain why the villain’s hair was black and white. It was mostly assumed that she dyed it that way, but Once Upon a Time gave the hairdo a backstory. In the ABC fantasy television series, magic ink spilled on her head, turning her blonde hair black and white. Meanwhile, the 2021 Disney movie Cruella gave the character’s iconic hairstyle a realistic explanation, and it served as a metaphor for the two sides to her — Estella and Cruella.

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