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Model Hair Dilemmas

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©All rights reserved by Roberto Cavalli Spring 2012 Collection

As a model you are constantly being judged on your appearance, and hair is a very important beauty factor. There is a certain level of style tolerance and texture acceptance when it comes to a model’s hair. In fact — take a moment and flip though some of the pages of your favorite magazines or catalogs, you’ll start to realize that many of the models tend to look the same. It’s as if there is a cookie cutter conveyer belt that produces slightly varied replicas of the same person. We’ve been made to believe through television, magazines, and Hollywood movies that long flowy hair is the highest standard of glamorous and beautiful. These subliminal messages of sex symbol status have been embedded into the minds of many, and it’s a leading factor into a woman’s need for achieving a desired look as a confirmation of being uber feminine.

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The overall look, use, fluidity, and maintenance of a model’s hair is taken into consideration during the casting process. With a conveyor belt of style changes for various jobs such as runway, print, television, or multi-media, models have to become comfortable with having complete strangers constantly playing in their hair. You will not have your go-to stylist, beautician or hairdresser by your side to make you beautiful. Models can look forward to severe breakage, stunted growth, and irreversible damage to their hair. Your hair’s fate will consistently be tested and the odds of sustaining significant damage to your scalp and hair texture is pretty much inevitable in this industry. No one cares about how long it will take for you to comb out your teased hair; the amount of shampoo that you will consume to wash out all of that hair spray; or the overall breakage that will occur. The only concern on everyone’s mind is if your hair will be able to acquire the desired look that you’ve been booked for.

No one cares about how long it will take for you to comb out your teased hair; the amount of shampoo that you will consume to wash out all of that hair spray; or the overall breakage that will occur.

The invention of weaves and extensions has helped to minimize the effects of tension on the hair; the harsh chemicals sprayed, squirted or slathered into the head; and the temperature burn of intense heat from blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. This issue is across the board for women of all ethnicities and damage is not specific to any one texture of hair. Some Black women chose to protect their tresses with the use of a weave. While Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian women elect to use extensions because they tend to have a softer texture of hair. The use of weaves and extensions helps to provide some relief, however users must also be cautious that extensive long-term use of foreign hair can cause traction alopecia due to the hairline or scalp constantly sustaining pressure through sewing, braiding, glues, fusion bonding, and tight comb attachments.

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We’ve been made to believe through television, magazines, and Hollywood movies that long flowy hair is the highest standard of glamorous and beautiful.

While weaves and extensions may help to protect the hair, they are also used to increase the length, body and style of a woman’s intended look. For some models this is what works for them and helps to guarantee continuous bookings. However, not every woman wants to be subjected to placing foreign hair or permanent chemicals in the head. I have noticed that within the Black community, there are a lot of women who are choosing to just wear their hair naturally. In an industry that promotes a certain standard of beauty, one can imagine the pressure that exists for a model to look a certain way. The fight for acceptance when it comes to using models of color with natural hair styles is an ongoing battle. The powers that be may think that while you’re beautiful and talented, they are also conflicted because the kink in your hair may be too ethnic for the target consumer base or brand. Natural haired models are constantly faced with the pressure of having to assimilate and join the collective of industry desired weaves or extensions in order to get work.

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As a TCK of West Indian decent, I am very accustomed to seeing women wear very diversified hair styles which can include a variety of bold colors, textures, and lengths. While these renowned and sometimes questionable hair styles may be acceptable for daily life, it may not be your best option when trying to solidify potential bookings. Simple is best, and the display of outrageous over-the-top styles can be very confusing or intimidating. You are more than your hair, but if your hair is too distracting then the Casting Director, Booking Agent, or Scouting Team will be preoccupied with trying to figure out exactly what’s going on in your head. Don’t give them a reason to miss out on seeing you for who you really are.

If your signature look works for you, then keep pushing forward with the brand that you’ve built. Sometimes all it takes is to just be you, in order for you to just stand out.

 

Sometimes all it takes is to just be you, in order for you to just stand out.

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