Friday, May 20, 2011
Natural Hair Blues
I submitted myself for this contest type thingy. I don't really know what it is actually, but it seemed interesting enough because I get to talk about my ongoing hair battle with being all natural. The ups and downs, the late nights and early mornings I spend yanking at this mop of mine to get it manageable. The question was "Does your hair define you as an actor?" and here's what I sent in along with two photos, a curly and a straight shot.
Response: This question immediately grabbed my attention. I am an African American actress and print model working in NYC. My career initially started slow and I grew very frustrated and contemplated going back to a corporate job in DC. My creative career changed for the better simply by the change in weather. I have naturally curly hair that I usually straighten during the colder part of the year and I let my mane blow freely in the spring and summer. I started attending castings with the curly hair even though none of my photos displayed this look and quite honestly because it takes so long to straighten, that I just couldn't find the time. Not only did I start to book print and commercial jobs but I also gained agency representation from several NY agencies as a freelance model. I believe it is directly attributed to my hair because I'd start to go in for auditions and the Casting Directors would ask "whats your nationality?" with so much excitement and curiosity. It opened the door for me to begin conversation while auditioning and getting one on one time inside the room that wouldn't have happened if my hair wasn't curly most times. The irony is that I used to despise my natural hair and chemically treated it to stay straight. Also, that once this hair of mine got me in the door and I booked the gig, they end up straightening it anyway for the shoots. Go figure!!! But, I cant complain as I've had a very successful career here in NYC. Now I actually put both curly and straight looks on my comp card and headshot so I'm marketed both ways. So I would say that hair does play a major part in this industry. On the other side, my hair has harmed me in some auditions because the CDs assume my hair will be too unmanageable and those are the days I wish I wore it straight LOL. Thanks for listening and hope to hear from you.