I originally come from Peru, which I believe is a very racist country. Over there, any characteristic that doesn’t make you look like a standard European isn’t perceived positively.
As a result, many people hide their natural characteristics and features in order to fit in.
My great-grandfather was married to a black woman, which makes it very likely that my hair texture comes from her. I don’t have any problem with it but people in Peru do and tend to question my Peruvian heritage because of it.
Funny enough, in neighboring country Chile, voluminous curly hair is seen as the ultimate sign of sophistication. When the entire world is praising straight hair and European features, Chile is a place where I could be praised for who I truly am.
I used to work in the movie industry, where my hair has never been an issue, but as soon as I started to work in Marketing, I could notice a massive behavioral change.
Even though I had a senior position, my male clients wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t take me seriously. I was basically treated like an assistant.
Interestingly, as soon as I cut my hair and straightened it, the same people started to open the door for me, looked at me in the eyes when I was speaking and considered what I was saying.
Altering my hair nature also made me attract a totally different type of men.
With my curls, I was attracting artists and hippies. With straight hair? Bankers and lawyers!
I started to believe that many people weren’t interested in the real me, but I eventually decided that people’s opinion shouldn’t shape my actions or my individuality.
Life is way too short for that!