Going natural might seem daunting for most women but is it harder or easier for a professional model? In my interview with Diane Hall, author of I Grew It Long, I wanted to find out about the natural hair experience from the perspective of someone who’s career centers around their own beauty.
Diane is an award-winning model, author, financial support officer, hair stylist, mother and entrepreneur. She has been featured in publications and media such as the Afro Hair & Beauty Show, Black Hair Magazine and Toni & Guy.
Diane’s answers were eloquent and insightful. Read on to learn more about her natural hair journey.
Q. What inspired you to go natural?
After going on a journey of personal growth and acceptance my increase in
confidence in myself lead to me making the decision make the best of whom
I am. I wanted to learn to work with my hair in its’ natural state instead of
attempting to change it.
My inspiration for writing the book stemmed from a belief that there is a great
need to promote and increase awareness of the natural beauty of afro hair and
also how to care for it in its’ natural state.
My aim is to help, support and encourage all women going on their own natural growth journey to not give up, regardless of what others may tell you, or what you may have read. Patience, faith, determination and persistence really do pay off!
Q. During your career in the corporate/professional world, did you ever feel as if your hair or appearance impacted how people perceived you?
I used to believe so and I guess that was because I was trying to fit into
someone else’s perception of how I should be instead of just being me. I used
to feel that to be in the corporate/professional world you had to have smooth,
straight hair to achieve a sleek look. However, there are so many professional looks that can be achieved with your natural hair – and I now also have the confidence that comes from being happy and content with who I am which is the most important thing.
Q. A lot of people believe that having natural hair isn’t professional,
beautiful or attractive. How do you feel about these assumptions?
I totally disagree- how professional your hair is all comes down to the styling,
and natural hair really is beautiful. Since wearing my natural hair I get so many
comments about how nice it is, from both men and women!
Q. How did your friends and family react to you going natural?
My friends and family were really supportive. As long as I am happy in what I am doing they tend to be supportive, which is great because it gives you the freedom to test things out.
Q. Who reacted most positively to your natural hair?
My friends were really encouraging in the early days – one of my close friends
would always be so positive saying things like, ‘wow, there’s so much you can
do with your hair’ or ‘i wish I had hair like yours’ which was really encouraging.
Now, all my friends and family have grown to love it and a lot of them are wearing their hair natural.
Q. What’s your current occupation and has being natural affected it in any way?
Besides, natural hair coaching, workshops and exhibitions I also model and
work in financial support at a college. Being natural has not affected my
occupation in any way whatsoever. For my work at the college I just tie my
hair up in a bun or something for a smarter, more groomed look and wore
modelling assignments I let my hair out – it’s great and the photographers
and stylists love it because it is something different that they have got to work
Q. Finally, what advice would you give to people who are thinking of going natural but are afraid that it might affect their careers?
I would say absolutely go for it! The liberation and confidence you get from just accepting what your natural hair and learning to work with it is fantastic. You are not defined by your hairstyle and it does not affect the ability to do your job any better or worse – and you should not be judged because of it.
A huge thank you to Diane for taking the time to take part in our series on natural hair and careers. To find out more about her visit www.igrewitlong.com
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