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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Randee Dawn

Clare Bowen, the Australian actress who plays country singer/songwriter Scarlett O'Connor in "Nashville," was once known for her long blonde locks.

But not anymore. And that's not just fine with her — she chose to lop them off. Why, however, is far more interesting than a mere change of looks. As she explains in a stirring post on Facebook, it hearkens back to when she was 4 years old and developed nephroblastoma, a kidney cancer.

Bowen remembers being cold in the "White Palace" (her grandfather's name for the hospital) because she had lost her hair during her stay.

"Then I got lucky," she wrote. "I survived, my hair grew back and I got strong again." She's healthy on the outside, but inside "I am still the same stitched back together little creature, in a world where people are judged so harshly for the way they look."

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Then she read a story about a little girl who didn't think she could be a princess because she didn't have long hair — and Bowen took action.

"I wanted her, and others like her to know that's not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero," she wrote. "It's your insides that count ... even if you happen to be missing half of them."

So she convinced both ABC (home to "Nashville") and the show's creator Callie Khouri to let her change her hair. And here she is, still beautiful and still powerful.

"Self-esteem takes a lot longer to grow back than hair," she wrote.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.