The higher the hair, the closer to God? Jennifer Grey stars as Gwen Shamblin in the all-new Lifetime movie Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation, which premieres on February 4. Jennifer looks unrecognizable embodying the former megachurch leader. The actress sports an intense makeup look and a large blonde bouffant that’s reminiscent of Gwen’s signature hairstyle.
Jennifer admitted that the transformation process to play Gwen was a long one. “The wigs and the makeup are about two hours before getting into wardrobe,” she told TODAY.com. “So that’s a lot, especially when you’re working 14-hour days and then driving an hour to location.”
Gwen was known for being the founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church and the Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian-based diet program. Gwen’s power continued to grow over the years, and she eventually “demanded that church members alienate themselves from anyone who was not a member, banished those that became overweight, threatened legal action against dissenters, and advocated for strict punishment of those who failed to follow church tenets,” according to Lifetime. She was the subject of the 2021 HBO Max docuseries The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin.
The Dirty Dancing star admitted that she was “disturbed” by Gwen’s promotion of disordered eating. “What I noticed and I was so disturbed by was that she was the voice of anorexia,” the actress told ET.
“She was the personification of the internal dialogue — I have never had an eating disorder but I have so many friends who have been so severely damaged by that inner critic of perfectionism and thinking that there’s a body shape and size and number on the scale that will redeem you that will make you lovable to God, to other people, to yourself.”
Gwen’s life came to a tragic end in May 2021. Shortly after takeoff, a plane carrying Gwen, her husband, their son-in-law, and four other church leaders crashed in Tennessee. She was 66. Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation will air February 4 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.