In the ’90s, we all wanted Boy Meets WorldÂ bad boy Shawn HunterÂ to be our boyfriend, because he was so interesting and troubled, what with his absentee mom and half-brother and comatose teacher figure. And in the ’00s and beyond, we love actorÂ Rider StrongÂ with the same intensity, but for the opposite reasons: He’s the rare child star who kept his forward momentum even after his TV show was over. He’s got a great perspective on Boy Meets World, but it doesn’t define his adult life.
Well, maybe just a teeny bit, since he was nice enough to talk about his beloved character in a recent interview with theÂ Week Sauce! Show. I bet that ever since we first saw Shawn run his fingers through his artfully messy high-school mop of hair, you’ve wondered how Rider came up with this alluring hairstyle that was basically the adolescent male version of The Rachel. Here’s your answer.
Week Sauce! Show: Which do you feel more personally responsible for: escorting millions of girls through puberty or the Shawn Hunter haircut?
Rider Strong: I canâ€™t take credit for the hair. Right before I got cast on the show I was still at that age when youâ€™d go to a sleepover and there would be both girls and boys. The girls at the party styled my horrendous head of hair by parting it down the middle and straightening it.
I let them, because, letâ€™s face it, this meant a group of girls were touching me. I trusted them. I shouldâ€™ve known better. By the time the show was in its second season,Â I hated that hair so much. But by then, the producers wouldnâ€™t let me cut it. Seriously. I would ask, and they would hold meetings and say, â€śNo.â€ť The really annoying habit of running my hands through my hair had become â€śa thing.â€ť If I catch myself doing it these days, I shudder.
But back to your question. By default? Youâ€™re welcome, ladies.
I love hearing little behind-the-scenes anecdotes like that, because here I had assumed the hairstyle was the brainchild of one of Boy Meets World‘s hair and makeup folks. Instead, it was an organic thing that reflected the tastes of the show’s actual viewers.Â FYI, here’s what Rider’s hair looks like these days:
I was really struck by another question in the episode about the top three things that take up most of his time these days. Aside from writing and directing, he said, it’s “doing interviews to answer the question ‘Where are they now?’ for the millionth time. Iâ€™m here, guys, Iâ€™m. Right. Here.” Don’t we know it!