We’ve been conditioned to think that natural hair in all its kinky, coily glory isn’t ‘glamorous’ or ‘beautiful. The Natural Hair Chronicles is a BNS original content series that celebrates women who are pushing against Eurocentric beauty standards and embracing their natural texture and rocking it on screen, on the red carpet and in their everyday lives.
BNS:How has your relationship with your hair evolved over the years?
I think the biggest development in the recent years of my hair journey has been reverting back to my natural hair texture, I don’t add in extensions or install weaves anymore. My hair 5 years ago was in a poor condition, weak, thin and over processed so i decided to chop it off. But then all the work I booked wanted me to have long hair so I had to start wearing weaves. I decided to stop relaxing as I realised it was growing and it was healthier. Years later and many conditioning treatments later, my hair is strong shiny healthy and thick, and I was lucky that it became longer and thicker with pregnancy also.
BNS:Have you always appreciated its natural texture?
I’m not sure it was a lack of appreciation but it was the norm growing up that one would relax ones hair at the point it was “unmanageable”. When I went to boarding school at 12 years old, I was responsible for my hair and it was long, thick and frizzy. I didn’t know what my curl pattern was then as it was always blow dried straight at home or rolled and set and then styled. It took hours to wash and dry and I didn’t know how to style it, let alone blow-dry it straight, so we relaxed it. At the time I remember loving how straight it was, it was what we saw in magazines, shiny long, straight hair. If it wasn’t styled straight then I wanted smooth perfectly formed bouncy waves/curls. Caucasian styled hair was what I thought was the norm and the standard of beautiful hair, so the short answer would be; no I didn’t appreciate my natural texture at that time.
BNS:Do you believe hair and women’s hair choices are over politicised?
I don’t think they are over politicized, it just happens to be a subject that has a lot of political weight attached. I think it’s a conversation that is pertinent and because there are so many elements to consider and so many different point of views it can seem over politicised. I do think that women who made the choice to kick against what we were told was the norm are inspiring. These women by embracing their natural hair texture are having an impact on standards set by an exclusive view of what ‘appropriate’ hair is. This is in turn has affected the hair industry and also developed opportunities for a broader market, more products to care for more diverse hair and more opportunities for women.