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Kristin Booker • August 19, 2009

Editor's Thoughts: Getting "Real" about "Real" Hair

Yesterday morning, I was called upon to give a quote for BlackBook magazine’s online beauty column, Beauty Junkie. The piece was on Tyra Banks’ decision to launch the new season of her talk show with her natural hair as opposed to the weaves she normally wears. You can read the article here, but my comment on the situation was this:

“I think it’s a very intelligent and brave decision for Tyra to present herself to the world with a weave-free head. It says to me that she no longer feels she has to have Caucasian-textured hair to be perceived as beautiful, which is a huge statement for women of color. There is more than one perception of beauty in the world and by Tyra accepting her own God-given beauty, perhaps women everywhere will realize that we’re more than just our hair. I know I went back to my “coarse” texture this summer and I feel relieved because I finally realized that the only “good hair” is healthy hair that makes you feel good about yourself. Well done, Tyra.”

I felt it was good to reinforce that message here. It doesn’t matter what your skin color or ethnicity might be, most women are constantly striving to achieve some beauty ideal that we’ve been told to embrace. Whether that be straight, smooth hair or a body with less than 10% body fat, there’s always some “ideal state” that we’re trying to achieve. We chemically alter our hair, get plastic surgery or injectables in our faces – all in the pursuit of some physical appearance that will make us “happier.” Most feel once we achieve this state, people will accept us, our love lives will improve and it’s then we can be content.

I once had a man tell me the sexiest thing about someone is their confidence and it’s true: whatever your hair might look like, no matter what your body weight might be, the most attractive thing about you is loving yourself. Whatever you’re feeling about yourself projects out into the world and people will respond to it. If you’re hating how you look, other people will follow your lead. Love yourself and people will be attracted to that vibration. It’s true: you teach people how to treat you. Think about how your feelings about your looks are reflected in the company you keep. I might have a point.

Whether this is a publicity stunt for Tyra or not, I hope we can all take away the important message she’s attempting to convey, which is that our beauty is more than just our hair. The ultimate style statement is loving who you are and knowing what works best for you. Natural hair, weaves, straightening treatments, curls – decide what makes your soul come alive from the inside out and then work it, because the only ideal of beauty that matters is your own.

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