Natural Hair Troubles As A Black Actress of Color: Storytime!

I recently read an article I found on The Hollywood Reporter about how Black actresses are being met by stylists who don’t know what to do with kinky hair types.

…actresses point to the discrimination that occurs pretty much every time they sit in a hair and makeup chair: There just aren’t enough union stylists in Hollywood who know how to work with natural hair and darker skin.

The Hollywood Reporter

If it’s happening to Black actors making big money on big productions, then you know it’s happening to those of us just starting out. And yes, it’s happened to me. It happened while on set for my last job.

Related Post: How to pack for a day on set as an actress of color. Part One.


Now, I can’t say for who and what production company, but I can say that it was an internal ad for a well-known plus-size clothing company.

They wanted my hair to look the way it did in my audition. I had a blown-out afro or what some may call a “stretched afro”.

Photo from my self-tape audition. Ebony Glass

I blew out my hair and twisted up the ends the night before to keep it from shrinking back. I took it down the next day.

It didn’t look exactly like it does in my photo because I twisted the ends. I failed to ask how they wanted it. The stylist proceeded to drench my hair with water and said she would diffuse it, obviously not knowing that diffusing it would set the shrinkage. It went from eight to ten inches to four to five inches.

So, we had to redo what I had already done (it took about 15 to 20 minutes) with her help because we didn’t have much time. I was set for a half-day shoot. By the end of the day, my scalp was very sore because she also used products that my hair didn’t like.

Had they told me how they wanted, all I would have had her do or did myself was just brush the ends out.

Related Post: Anti-Dandruff Hot Oil Mix | Fall & Winter Hair Care.

Post-audition selfie. All smiles.

And you wanna know what part kills me? There were 4 of us on set. Three out of four of us were black women with kinky hair. The 4th one was a Latina. One of the other actors had her hair stretched. They said they wanted her hair bigger and to keep the texture/ curl pattern, but said they should wet it and fluff it. That should have been my clue then.

These are the challenges and obstacles people with kinky hair have to navigate until there are more stylists in the industry that know what to do with our hair type.

I’ll be creating some posts that might help. I’ve learned from this recent job and I’ll break down some dos and don’ts for natural hair on set in another post.

Until then, check out these related posts below.

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