CURLY HAIR IS PROFESSIONAL
I posted this statement as this has been something I have experienced as a black afro curly haired woman, doubting if my hair was professional when going for job interviews and how I wore my hair to work on a daily.
‘I FEEL YOU SIS! THIS SHOULDN’T BE A QUESTION’ @kiralovestravel
Times are changing, I remember back in 2011 when I was in my early 20’s and I questioned my manager if it would be ok if I could wear my hair curly, the key point I'm making here is that I QUESTIONED if my natural curly hair was professional. My manager at the time responded with ‘whatever you feel comfortable with’. I wore it both curly and straight at this time as I was transitioning.
Growing up I have loved my hair, but I did go through a phase where society living in the UK, made it seem more acceptable to have straight hair and so for most jobs and interviews that's how my hair would be, burning my hair with my straighteners to conform and hopefully get the job.
‘I have to say that my colleagues really like my curls. One time I had it straight just for a change they said the first day cool! The next day they said we miss your curls’ @curlychique
Not realising the damage I was making, it took for me to eventually notice that my curls were no longer curling at the ends causing my hair to become wavy instead of afro, to be honest I actually liked the length it gave me, I shake my head at the thought of this now!
I am not saying straightening your hair is bad, each to their own, but for my hair to fully repair I needed to stop all heat - January 2019 that stopped.
I remember wearing braids to work for a month and then when I came in with my natural curls, some of my clients thought I was new starter and didn't recognise me, this still makes me laugh that was in 2018.
‘Yup! Or too ‘distracting’’ @Anonymous
Image source via @heybambino_
Another experience was going to a job interview for a very high end company, where they showed me a picture of the ‘hair standards’ – I questioned the man and said my hair does not look like this and I am unable to straighten my hair as it is damaging. The compromise we came to would be that my hair would need to be worn in a bun. I didn’t get the job.
‘I’ve always went to interviews with curly hair just to make sure they know the real me’ @definedcurlz
2018 I went to the interview with my hair out also known as a wash n go look, so they could see this is me and how I’d be wearing my hair and that it is professional – I got the job and continue to wear my hair in it’s natural form in 2020 and will continue to do so.
‘Baby go in there with confidence and manifest that job. It’s yours, God got you! Doesn’t matter what the hair looks like when the job is already yours’ @peaceofmind_09
This was a trigger for many in the curly hair community who reached out to me and shared their experiences with their natural hair at work, going to interviews and how it is perceived from friends and family.
‘..Just saw your post on owning your curly hair, can't agree more! It's your 👑! I had the same aggro from friends and family members telling me it's not professional and it's childish.. I can't stand such comments, they disrespect what God has given you.. Glad to have come across your account here.. Keep it up’ @ola.a.travel
‘This post is so important, and I’m so happy you’ve posted it! I’ve always had a bit of a low self esteem when it comes to work & curls’ @definedcurlz
‘Going for job interviews and not wearing my own hair in fear of not getting the job that used to be me but no more’ https://www.jennasworldview.com/
I also had a few curlies google ‘professional hairstyles and unprofessional hairstyles’ and the below results came up.
Image source via Google 2020
Image source via Google 2020
Imagine google showing you an image of what society deems as an 'unprofessional hairstyle' and it looks just like your current hairstyle. 2020 shocker!!
I have since contacted google with the below statement and await their response and will update accordingly once I've heard back.
Image of how I have my hair at work - CURLY HAIR IS PROFESSIONAL
‘I can rock my curls as is fortunately. I’ve only received comments like omg love your hair. I wish mine can do that’ @_traveljewels_
Thank you all to those who were happy for me to share their feedback and thank you for reading.
(Images credited where due, no copyright intended)