The relationship has always been quite conflictual with my hair.
I had dreadlocks for a while but growing up I just wanted to do like everyone else, and this meant straightening my hair so I would look like my friends.
At 17 I just stopped making my hair go through all this and decided to let it be.
Even though I am mixed-race I never really felt that my curly hair was an issue, on either side of my family, which is something I believe I’ve been quite lucky with. They’ve always been very open minded.
My hair shouldn’t be an issue anyway, in any circle. I firmly believe that people should take me as I am (even when I am colouring my hair in pink or green) or not at all.
Every time that I found myself in situations (professional or personal) where I had to conform or work on the way I look to make people comfortable, I simply left.
I can clearly say that In France we suffer from a strong lack of representation. You often feel like a freak as your natural hair texture is often perceived as something that you almost worked hard to get: “can I touch it? “, “how did you make it that way?”.
It’s just my hair and the fact that people living in a place as multicultural as Paris don’t understand that diversity is a thing is a bit worrying. Am I asking them how they do to get their hair straight? No! I am just fully aware that some people do have traits and features that are different to mine, and that’s fine!
To me, the implementation of this ideal of diversity in the media/marketing nowadays is simply smoke and mirrors, nothing more. I went to the hairdresser once, who looked at my hair and said “what are we going to do with this?”. This type of situations says a lot about how people who are actually representing real diversity are perceived, but also treated.