I am not my hair, but maybe I actually am
So, I've been thinking a lot lately about my hair, my appearance and my overall self-image. See, I have been going through a little bit of an "Identity Crisis." Attempting to come to terms with who I currently see in the mirror. It's me, of course. But it's me with my natural hair.
Back Story: I am an Actor. In Hollywood. Also known as "The Land of the Stereotypical Beauty." The thing is, Hollywood loves to put actors into a box. You are the leading man. The hot computer nerd. The sex symbol. The black friend. Etc. These boxes don't have so much to do with talent, but are pretty much based on what you look like. The aesthetic. And if you don't fit in those pretty little boxes..well, let's just say that it can be a + or -. The good part is that you stand out from other actors from the beginning; the not so good part is that sometimes, agents don't know what to do with you. The industry is pretty used to the tried and true.
I got married this summer, and I found myself rejecting the typical bride look. Out came the weave, along with the refusal to put in another one. Instead, I opted for a sleek bun with my natural hair. I felt beautiful, I felt confident, I felt the wind on my scalp. Most of all, I felt like me. In the 7 months since the wedding, I have steadily refused to wear a weave (I have clip ins for shoots, but you get the idea). In Black Hollywood, there is this unspoken rule about black beauty. You are more beautiful if you have a fair complexion and long hair, curly or straight. If you don't have the fair skin, don't worry! Weave is there to give you an edge. My skin is chocolate, so I had the weave. I felt like I was always in character, and I was tired of playing her. This summer, I took my first head shots without extensions. I spend hours studying natural hair care from bloggers at The School of Youtube. I have learned that I don't need to have long, straight hair to feel good about myself.
Every actor has his or her white whale. The job that they go for but can't quite land. Its usually auditioning for the same show or company over and over again. For me, that white whale is no other than McDonald's. I have auditioned for McDonald's for what seems like forever! The wonderful casting director always calls me in for the project, I get the call back, then...silence. But this last time, I went in to the audition with my natural hair. It was all gloriously pulled up into a curly bun. I felt confident in myself and completely at ease with who I am. I liked me. And it showed. I am currently on AVAIL for the commercial.
My hair is thick and curly and unapologetic. It grows bigger in the rain, blows softly in the wind and can stand the heat of the sun without wilting. And who am I? I am a person who grows bigger in adverse weather, moves confidently with the air around me and enjoys the heat of the sun. I am not my hair, but then again...maybe I am.