Lupita Nyong'o Opens Up About Learning to Love Her Natural Hair
"I love my hair. I love it because I've also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do," the actor tells Allure Magazine.
The prevalence of Eurocentric beauty standards, means that many black women have complex relationships with their hair—Lupita Nyong'o is no different.
She opens up about her haircare journey in Allure Magazine's "The Culture of Hair" issue, and her story is real and relatable.
She told opened up about her relationship with her hair starting from a young age:
Well, I didn't love my hair when I was a child. It was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much. I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair. In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed. She wouldn't allow it, though her hair was relaxed. She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18. Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty. My dad intervened and spoke to my mom about my hair, and she finally agreed. She took me to the salon in the middle of the school day, and I got my hair relaxed. I felt so much better because it was easier to tame. All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed. Very few had natural kink, so I felt a lot more acceptable.
She also discussed the politics of hair within families by recalling her mother's reaction to her doing the "big chop."
When I got home, my mother was horrified. She was just like, "What have you done to my hair?" I remember her saying that: "I've been growing that hair since you were born — how can you?" Then I felt really self-conscious. It was hard to see the horror on my mother's face. She was so disapproving, and I was so sensitive about it at the time, that I started to get scared that I had done the wrong thing. And it was cold. All of a sudden I would feel really cold on my head, and I didn't have hats or the right headwear for a bald head. Eventually my mom came around.
Like many of us, though it took some time, Nyong'o learned to own her hair, and wholly appreciate its versatility. In fact, we think it's safe to say that she's now a hair icon.
I've tried it all. Now I love my hair. I love it because I've also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do. It's like clay in the right hands. Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands. Being able to have that kind of playtime with Vernon to create different things has inspired me.
Read the full article via Allure.