Pelo malo. Bad hair, in Spanish.
An expression I heard a lot while travelling to Latin America, especially in Venezuela and Uruguay.
I lived in different countries, which is something that enables me to see how curls are perceived from one country to another.
Honduras (where I am from) is very diverse which means that people are quite open when it comes to curly hair but paradoxically women look up to this typical American look that is vastly promoted in the U.S.
This means that they will often straighten their hair to reach this ideal.
Even though I love my hair, it’s hard for me to find the right balance between what I feel comfortable with and the messages society is sending me. I often feel like I have to downplay who I am and what I look like to fit in.
We always want to show the best of us whether it’s at work or when we are going out with friends but society will often tell us that our curls shouldn’t be the preferred option in comparison to straight hair.
I believe this makes us internalise the idea that even though we love (or try to love) our hair, it is too unkept to be shown.
My family has always been supportive during my hair acceptance journey, which I am very grateful for, especially if you consider the strong lack of curly representation we are being served on a day-to-day basis.
However, it’s important to notice the efforts that some brands/industries are making.
You can’t ignore these actresses and artists who are progressively putting their natural self forward, it’s refreshing and it helps not only us, but also the younger generations who are looking for emerging role models.