If you’ve seen me in person within the last four weeks or you’ve seen my audition tapes, you know I am wearing my hair naturally curly. Sometimes it’s in twists. Other times it’s in some variation of a curly fro. Most of my friends still do a double take, even after seeing me like this for weeks. I look different. And I don’t know if I like it…
Sometimes I feel like an adolescent from my hairline up. Sometimes I feel like a rebel. Sometimes I feel strong and confident. Sometimes I want to throw a hat on and hide, but I can’t. I would just look like my hair is trying to escape the hat. Too many kinks and curls.
Just seven months ago, I told a friend I would never wear my hair natural. He laughs at that now.
If I don’t know how I feel about how I look, why am I doing this? Simple. My hair was a business decision. My manager suggested that I give it a try. Apparently, the industry trend for black women is that we wear our hair natural now. I completely missed the memo.
For the last two years, I’ve worn my hair braided up under units (aka wigs). Four years before that, I wore my hair braided up under sew ins (aka weaves). Before that I relaxed (aka permed) my hair off and on for years.
I did the extensions because they were EASY. Purchase hair. Schedule an appointment. Someone else does all the maintenance. If you wear a unit, take that bad boy off at night and sleep like a baby. Sidebar: My mom used to say “bad boy” all the time. That made me smile.
I’ve technically been growing natural hair for six years under extensions, and my man has been begging me to wear my natural hair. I laughed at him. I thought he liked the idea of me wearing my natural hair out but didn’t know for sure if he would like it because he’d never seen it. Also, he doesn’t do hair, so he’s useless if I’m in a bind and need help with my hair. By the way, I know A LOT of black men that have strong opinions about black female hair and know very little about what it takes to take care of it . . . I digress. He got over it.
So here we are now. My kinks and curls are free, and I’m…. Who knows? I’ve been acting for about eight years, and I always thought the industry thought twists, braids, locks, and curls were considered too ethnic. To avoid getting the “hood” black girl character auditions, I went in the opposite direction. I wore my hair in a safe straight bob. To a certain extent I succeeded. I typically get auditions for the non-threatening negro.
Can you blame me? The women I looked up to as a kid got a fresh relaxer before every job interview or big moment. My sister and I got our hair pressed as a part of our Easter Sunday ritual. Hair bone straight. Edges laid. Over time, I think I developed a disconnect with my own hair.
When people compliment my natural hair, I typically question it. When someone says, “I love your hair,” I’m secretly wondering if they’re just saying that because I caught them staring. People do all sorts of things when they’re uncomfortable. Actually, I'll take in a compliment from a black woman. If she's lying, I at least know she understands.
Getting to know my hair and my personal style is going to take some time. If you see me running into the hair store to get 30 inches, this experiment is failing, and I’m relapsing. On the other hand, if I grow a messy mane of curls, I'm getting the hang of this. Either way, pray for your girl.
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.