For a girl with curls, hair commercials in the ’80s and ’90s were treacherous to grow up with. The luscious, straight, bouncing hair always seemed to be the reason the girl was so happy and smiley. At the ripe age of 8, it would send me into a frenzy in the kitchen, putting together concoctions of yogurt, olive oil, eggs, and god knows what else to cover my head in the hopes of taming my curls. I would let it “set” with a plastic grocery bag tied around my head (undoubtedly, I looked like a crazy person), and I wouldn’t let anyone touch me or get near me for at least an hour. After carefully washing it in the shower and brushing my hair as straight as possible, I would close my eyes in front of the mirror, praying it would dry exactly how it looked wet. It didn’t.
Eventually, my mother decided it was time to take action. She scoured fashion magazines and books, trying to find curly-haired heroines and beauties to prove my thick, unruly hair was a gift. And when she realized I wouldn’t be consoled, she would spend hours rolling my hair in Coke cans, twisting it in small buns with pin curls, ironing it, putting in hot rollers, braiding it. After many nights of sleeping on my chin ever so carefully, nothing came out exactly how the Pantene commercials looked.
I continued the torture nonetheless, and after nearly three decades and countless tricks (including a reverse perm that actually made my hair kinkier), I finally realized that maybe my mom was right all these years. Maybe I should give up the battle and embrace my monstrous mane rather than trying to pull, heat, burn, and chemically treat my way into, well, not me.
Curls are popping up in fashion editorials and ad campaigns, including on Shopbop. This look is from our spring workwear lookbook.
In many ways, my crazy long curls have also allowed me to embrace my true quirky, unique, colorful style. It’s the perfect accessory to any hat, head scarf, neck candy, strong shoulders, or print-on-print action. And the appearance of more full-on hot-girl ’fros on fashion blogs, magazines, ad campaigns, and TV means the fashion world has followed suit as well, giving other young girls more role models to encourage them to embrace their natural selves.