I love curly hair! Big, curly, wild, natural hair! As a photographer working with magazine editors and art directors for brands, I have noticed an upswing in casting models with afros and curls and I couldn’t be happier about it. It represents a beauty esthetic based on being yourself, being natural, and being comfortable in your own skin, all things I think are so important in the message my photography puts out there. It isn’t about being inclusive, but more about loving all the things that make us different and unique. I am over cookie-cutter beauty and I know most people feel the same way. The model above is Jazzy and she is the perfect example of a young teenager rocking her curls. Her hair frames her face and gorgeous eyes, and makes her stand out, which for a model is critical. Her hair is becoming part of her trademark and getting her noticed in the competitive modeling industry. And the best part? She doesn’t want to look different or like anyone else. She wants to be Jazzy and show off her natural beauty in all it’s glory. That’s pretty amazing in a teenager who is bombarded with images of straight-haired models of all ethnicities, and her pride in being herself is so refreshing.
Natural hair shouldn’t just be a trend, but a viable option for everyone who doesn’t want to be a slave to chemical straighteners, flat irons or frequent blow outs. Consider the damage these chemical processes and appliances do to hair, not to mention how time consuming it can be. Often models with curly hair will arrive on set with their hair straight, lifeless, flat, and damaged. The hair stylist has to make the hair look amazing which often means adding in extensions. No one, from the hair stylist, to the model or to the client, is happy to spend time and money on making the model’s hair look right for the shoot. When the above model, Tiffany arrived on set, makeup artist and hair stylist Colleen Stone of Blush and Beyond was happy to work with her beautiful, natural, healthy hair. How could we not love the wind blowing her hair, animating the curls? Tiffany looked confident and comfortable and knew exactly how to work her hair in front of the camera. She didn’t fight the curls or try to tame them, but used them to show off her own special beauty.
Colleen has advice for those looking to rock their curls: “Make sure to hydrate your curls well with a hair moisturizing product and let them air dry after washing. Use a small curling iron to define a few of the face-framing curls when the hair is dry to show off the texture.”
I often work with little kids for catalogues and brands, and every time I get a child on set with curls, I smile. These kids just look like they are having more fun! They are being themselves, and they all look different and fresh. The really young kids haven’t been influenced yet by hair trends or media, and they don’t have any hang-ups about their hair. As they get a little bigger they start to be aware that women, and often times their moms, are straightening their own hair. It makes them think that there is something wrong with the way nature made them and that they need to conform to be accepted. The media has a lot to answer for in that regard and fortunately it appears that the advertising world is starting to accept that beautiful is beautiful, curly hair or straight. So if you have a little one with adorable, wild hair, let the curls free! Let the kids grow up without hang-ups about their hair. And if you are blessed with amazing curls yourself – lucky you!
Photography by Allana Wesley White Photography