Let’s not waste any time here. I want to talk about and investigate a major issue that affects most black actresses…OUR HAIR.
Over the years I have rocked everything from a T.W.A. (teenie weenie afro), 2 strand twists, the knotty ‘It looks like I didn’t do my hair this morning’ look, and weaves of many different textures, lengths and colors. However, I think the hairstyle that got me the most auditions / gigs was the naturally curly look.
You know the one. The one that says, “I’m mixed with something.” Maybe it made me look exotic? I don’t know.
I personally love changing my hair styles. With hair costs being so reasonable its hard not to give weaves and wigs a try. Synthetic hair is especially cheap. However, I sometimes feel that I will never get as much work as a black actress with my naturally nappy hair as I would with hair that is straight or long.
Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my natural hair. I stopped perming it back in the 90’s because I didn’t like the idea of putting such powerful chemicals in my hair anymore. So I’ve shaved it and have grown it out to a beautiful nappy afro. The thing is, I look at the television and movies and see the black actresses who have made it. The actresses that are working on a consistent basis don’t have a “natural look.” As much as I had to admit it, those women are setting the tone.
Perhaps you may disagree. Yes, you see the occasional actress in a commercial sporting her low cut or blow out, but in my research, the BIG NAME actresses are following the mold of soft, silky, permed hair.
There only a handful of black actresses sporting their natural hair without ANY additives. When I see them, I’m like YES! Work the natural sis!
I recently also started playing around with lace wigs. I think they are more addictive than any other hairpiece I’ve worn. The fact that you can achieve a hairstyle and it looks like its growing out of your scalp is wonderful!
I wonder though…what do casting directors think about the whole hair thing? I’d love to know. Do they even care? Many casting directors are non African-American and are honestly totally clueless when it comes to black women’s hair. They usually have NO idea if you’re wearing a wig or a weave.
I hate that I get so anxious when I have an audition. The first thing I think about is my outfit and what hairstyle I’m going to wear. Do casting directors really care or are we making too big a deal of it? I’d love to hear from some casting directors out there!
Until then, I’m going to keep talking to other black actresses who have the same questions and worries on their mind. Maybe together, we can come to an understanding or a way to overcome this hairy situation.
I love my natural hair, but I love acting more. So if booking more movies and television gigs means I need to wear a hair piece and fit into the mold of what Hollywood is already comfortable with…well hell, let me get my lace wig out of the closet right now!!!
I’m ready for my close-up…and it’s going to take more than a hairstyle to keep me from my destiny.
Until next time, stay inspired.
—Christine Horn (Your favorite T.B.A.)