‘1883’ Star Isabel May on Not Shaving During Filming: ‘I Was Fine With It’

by Quentin Blount

Sometimes being low maintenance is a good thing, right? Just ask 1883 star Isabel May and the rest of the women who are a part of the cast.

As a spin-off and prequel to Paramount Network’s hit show Yellowstone, 1883 is following right in its footsteps. Not only has it been extremely successful so far in terms of ratings but it’s also similar in the fact that it’s built on authenticity.

One of the stars of the show, actress Isabel May, recently explained to Fox 5 one way in which the show does that. She says that to stay true to the time period, the girls on the show weren’t able to shave. She didn’t really have a problem with it.

“Yeah, it’s true. It’s absolutely true,” she said. “I actually didn’t have a problem with it. It just meant I had less to deal with.”

Isabel May, of course, plays the young Elsa Dutton in 1883. Elsa is the teenage daughter of James and Margaret Dutton, who are played by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, respectively. In addition, Elsa also serves as the narrator for the series.

Why Didn’t Women Shave in ‘1883’?

You may recall that women didn’t begin shaving their body hair until around 1915, the period between World War I and World War II. Prior to that time, women only removed whatever hair they had on their neck or on their face as those were the only parts of their bodies not usually covered by their clothes. If you have watched the first few episodes of 1883, you probably noticed that the clothes worn are much less revealing than clothes today.

So, as creator Taylor Sheridan does with all of his shows, he wanted to make sure it’s as authentic as possible. As for Isabel May, she didn’t mind not having to shave. It was less work for her. But she did give one apology to her fellow cast and crew members.

“I don’t think the smell was all that pleasant for most people that were close to me,” she joked. “So, I apologize to those that had to deal with that. But I was fine with it.”

Meanwhile, now that filming for Season 1 of 1883 has wrapped up, May and the rest of the women on the set are free to shave once again. They will have to cherish that time while it lasts, or until filming starts for Season 2. May says that when she shaved, she was actually a little sad about it.

“I did get to finally shave last week when we wrapped,” May admitted. “I honestly was a little sad. I said goodbye to it and everything. it was an experience.”