Three black women with teeny-weenie afros or TWAs will walk in this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show. This is a big deal.
They are Herieth Paul, the Tanzanian bombshell, Maria Borges, the Angolan goddess who also walked in the show last year, and Jourdana Phillips, the golden-haired beauty. Herieth Paul posted a photo of the them backstage at the show, on her Instagram page. Women wearing pink robes with hardly anything underneath never looked so good.
“Our singing group is called the #buzzcutAngels #vsfashionshow #vsfs2016 #melanin,” she wrote. I’m with it – are you looking for a fourth member? Let me grab my dad’s shaver.
As I gaze at them, black and beautiful and almost bald, I feel extreme happiness and hope for the future of beauty standards. There usually are not many models of color at the Victoria Secret fashion show, and the ones who are there usually sport long tresses, an effort to maintain uniformity amongst the models, I suppose. But women have so many more hair textures than the modeling world cares to acknowledge.
I’m glad Victoria has finally stopped keeping our natural hair a secret. This one is for us (:Solange voice:).
This is for every girl who got a big chop and felt insecure about their decision. This is for every black girl who wondered why they didn’t see girls with short hair like theirs on TV. For every black girl who got teased for having a low hair cut. For every girl who was told that their short haircut made them look like a boy. For every girl who faced cancer, and braved chemotherapy, but was heartbroken when their hair started to fall away from their head.
This is for every black girl who wants to be a model but don’t think they have the right “look.” For the black girl who loved the special edition fashion model Barbie with the low haircut, silky dark skin and high cheekbones. For the black girl who was afraid that having dark skin and short hair is the worst combination—baby, that’s not true. For every black girl who wishes their hair will grow long like the Latina and Asian and white girls. For every black woman that grew up hating their hair texture but now they love it, now they know that their hair is one of the most beautiful parts of who they are.
For the black girl who walked in their school’s fashion show after getting her big chop. For the black girl who strutted down the streets of their campus, or their hood and felt like they were floating on top of the world, free of their relaxed hair. For the black girl who wore a hat for months after getting a big chop. For the black girl who wants to go natural but is afraid of the big chop—whatever decision you make, you will still be beautiful.
For the black girl who isn’t told she is beautiful. You are.
I remember when I did my big chop 5 years ago. I was nervous, anxious and excited while I felt a weight of hair escape my head. Hair is so meaningful to women—it carries our histories—and that day I said goodbye to years of perming, years of striving to fit in, years of painful blow drying, burning scalp, rejection from boys, rejection from friends, rejection of my true self. I said goodbye to the me society wanted me to be, and hello to the me that I knew I was always destined to become.
The #buzzcutangels let us know that we can be sexy with our short natural hair, with our diverse skin tones, with our intricate facial features. We can be all we are and still get paid to walk around half naked on a ridiculously long runway with humongous wings attached to our backs. I’m getting excited just thinking about it! I should go home and put on lingerie and dance in the mirror tonight.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion show doesn’t come on until December 5. Until then, I will continue to smile to myself as I ingest black girl magic on social media, in art, in the news, and all over the world.
Alisha is a Brooklyn-born writer, tea enthusiast, and lipstick babe who loves creating all-natural potions for her hair and body. Her writing focuses on race, gender, body, beauty, social issues, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @FuFuFeminist and on Instagram: alisha.acquaye