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Crystal Renn Explains Her Shocking Hair Transformation

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Anthony Behar/Sipa; Inset: Pacific Coast News

Crystal Renn has experienced every side of the modeling business, from runway to plus-size gigs to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

But fans of the fashion veteran may no longer recognize her. The former plus size model — who these days, is booking mainstream jobs — recently dyed her hair (and eyebrows) platinum blonde for an extreme image overhaul.

“People can’t believe the transformation. I had black hair and now I have white hair,” Renn tells PEOPLE. “That’s what’s so exciting. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to show up as a different canvas at a shoot. It’s a very extreme look but very beautiful. Though it’s nothing conventional.”

After undergoing multiple dying sessions to bring her hair color from mahogany to icy blonde, Renn admits, “It’s a challenging look. But what’s wonderful is it’s something that photographs beautifully.”

In fact, she’s already done one photo shoot as a tragic Marilyn Monroe figure, but Renn says she’s not going for the blonde beach babe vibe. “I’m not trying to conform to one certain look,” she says. “I look up to someone like Tilda Swinton. She’s the fashion icon. She experiments and that keeps life fun.” Tell us: Do you prefer Renn as a blonde or brunette?

–Charlotte Triggs

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