I used to be annoyed by the fact that I couldn’t see myself anywhere in the French media.
I felt like my Frenchness wasn’t been recognised and portrayed in my own country: no mixed-race role models, no curls, nothing… Was I not part of the norm?
From my very young years to my adult life, my curls kept changing. From tight curls as a little girl to straight hair in my teenage years, to voluminous coils during high school.
Controlling this constant change was difficult and pushed me to start a very conflictual relationship with my hair.
When I was curly, I felt that people perceived my hair negatively, to the point where I started to believe that this characteristic of mine was becoming a serious obstacle in my life. So I relaxed it.
Interestingly, people who never showed interest before started to notice me. White boys more particularly.
At first, I was happy about this new attention, but during a 2-year trip abroad (with no straightener) I started to acknowledge the level of connection I actually have with my natural hair.
I am the only one in the family who has curly hair, which can sometimes lead to a couple of issues. Recently our previous Miss France appeared on TV, rocking her natural afro.
The thing my mother said made me jump: 'she could have fixed her hair before showing up'.
How could she say such a thing, knowing that her own daughter has a similar hair type?
I understand that it might be linked to her past and the negative messaging she grew up surrounded with, but still, it hurts…