Amanda Grayson appears in ten episodes across three series: Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Star Trek: Discovery, as well as three films across two timelines: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek (2009). She has been played by five actresses: Jane Wyatt (the original series and The Voyage Home), Majel Barrett (the animated series), Cynthia Blaise (The Final Frontier), Winona Ryder (the first Kelvin film), and Mia Kirshner (Discovery). Across all her appearances Amanda is portrayed as highly fashionable and she wears at least eighteen different looks.
Hair and Adornments
TOS Amanda has the same hairstyle with all three looks and as you see in the above picture, it’s the style of the day/series. I don’t love the way the Spock/Chapel relationship is portrayed but I am amused at how similar Amanda and Christine are styled here.
In The Voyage Home and Star Trek (2009), Amanda’s hair is gathered into wraps. These are part of the Mary aesthetic and recur in all her appearances.
In the first and third here, she is traveling and these could be considered a travel cloak. I really love the Discovery version of the Mary dress and its hood.
Discovery‘s Amanda has a variety of hairstyles and embellishments.
I love everything about all of these, but most especially that she wears a delicate tiara to hang around her house with her kids.
Most of the Vulcans we’ve met in Star Trek have short hair cut angularly.
Vidal Sassoon originated this look for designer Mary Quant in the ’60s. Spock so chic. Two notable exceptions to the Sassoon cut on Vulcans are T’Pring and T’Pau in “Amok Time”.
Here on Earth, it’s traditional to have special occasion or ritual hair (and clothing) for a wedding, so that tracks. I only wish the Enterprise designers had played with the idea for T’Pol’s wedding in “Home”.
The clothing on T’Pol’s guests does evoke T’Pau, as well as Amanda’s travel look in “Journey to Babel”. And T’Pol’s wedding dress shares elements with Amanda’s aesthetic.
The head wrap, the beading, the trim, and even the keyhole bodice. Finally, Amanda’s hair in Discovery does resemble T’Pring’s, particularly at the medal ceremony in the season one finale (top right in the collage). And someone who wears a tiara with a housedress is also going to have special occasion hair whenever she wants.
The Emotions of Amanda(s)
To create this analysis I watched all of Amanda’s appearances in succession and looked at many screenshots. I’m impressed by the attention to detail in design and execution to create the sense that these are the same character.
All of these shots are of Amanda looking at her child. With pride, and a little maternal exasperation that they are so formal/Vulcan.
Again, in each shot she is reacting emotionally to her child, in this case with sorrow. On the left, she is disappointed, furious at her wayward children. On the right she is scared, heartbroken that this is the last moment they will share.
But here’s the best thing I found. When I made this tribute vid I noticed that Mia Kirshner does this thing with her hands in three episodes of Discovery season two:
This time through I noticed that she also does it in her first appearance, season one’s “Lethe” . . . and she got it from Jane Wyatt.
I applaud this acting/direction/editing choice. It’s such a great way to display Amanda’s nerves, her very human anxiety and her desire to contain and control it. It’s a small movement but speaks volumes next to the stoicism of Sarek, Spock, and Michael. Or even someone like Captain Pike, fully human but Starfleet.
Amanda is self-possessed. She has to be to live her life and retain her identity. Her choices in clothing, style, and presentation are deliberate, as deliberate as any Vulcan’s. All of it supports the text and makes her wife, mother, icon. Her smile, her tears, and her fidgeting hands make her a person.