Model Olivia Anakwe Calls Out Hairstylists Who Can’t Do Black Hair at Fashion Shows

Olivia Anakwe -

Model Olivia Anakwe Calls Out Hairstylists Who Can’t Do Black Hair at Fashion Shows

Being a black woman who works in fashion and beauty means there’s no way you haven’t encountered a hairstylist — at a runway show or press event or photo shoot — who doesn't know what to do with your hair. I certainly have. The face the stylist (usually white) makes when I approach their chair is unmistakable: It's a mix of worry and disgust as they size up my Afro and silently curse the moment they got paired with such a "difficult" client. Comments follow. They make a condescending remark that they don't have much time to style me (because it's so difficult and would take all day, you know) or they assure me that they have experience working with "my kind of hair" so I shouldn't worry, referencing that one time they worked with [enter black celebrity name here]. Worse, they dismiss me or act like they don't see me at all. The latter happened to model Olivia Anakwe, who took to Instagram to voice her troubles backstage at Paris fashion week.

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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

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"I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done," she wrote, captioning two videos of black stylists tending to her hair backstage.

She shared one harrowing experience where her edges were pulled too tight — which causes breakage — leaving her no choice but to ask around backstage until she found someone who could do cornrows properly. "I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so," she recalled. "After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change."

Fashion brands are getting praise for being inclusive and casting black models, but they are still not hiring creatives who are skilled enough to style textured hair. "No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist," Anakwe wrote.

She also made a valid point that white stylists should know how to work with different hair types, like most black stylists do. "Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field, you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

"I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that," she continued. "Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better."

Olivia is most certainly not alone. In 2016, I interviewed supermodel Naomi Campbellabout similar experiences she'd had at fashion weeks across the globe when she was just beginning her decades-long career. "When I was younger, I encountered this same issue. I would be backstage at shows and there would be stylists who didn’t have any experience working with black models," she said. Years later, not much has changed.

As Olivia explained, brands can and should begin hiring black stylists who know how to care for black hair. But the other question is: Why aren’t stylists of different races being taught to do all types of hair? And can you truly call yourself an expert in your field if you can only work with one type of hair?

 

 

 

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/model-olivia-anakwe-calls-out-hairstylists-who-cant-do-black-hair-at-fashion-shows?utm_social-type=owned&utm_brand=tv&mbid=social_twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter


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