Thandie Newton

British actress, Thandie Newton decided 2 years ago to go natural after watching Chris Rock's 'Good hair' documentary and one particular clip  where a scientist shows lye, the active ingredient in relaxers, melting a coke can. She discusses with the interviewer what transitioning has been like + how it has changed her outlook as a black woman and mother.

On having a wilder look with big, curly hair
“I have to feel comfortable with having ‘all eyes on me‘, which I do when I work, less so in life. Ironically I don’t want to draw attention to myself because of celeb spotting, but my big hair, for a time will work as a disguise! Straight hair has been ‘on trend’ for years and years, so having big-ass curly hair means I’m stepping outside the mould, outside what’s accepted and applauded. It takes a little courage to do that.
Mainly, I want to wear it natural because it looks amazing!”
On the stigma surrounding natural hair
“The stigma with some black women seems to be that ‘nappy hair’ is almost as bad as loo roll trailing from your shoe. I have always let my daughter’s hair be wild and scruffy. I love the shapes and fluffy halo. But when they were ‘papped‘ in the States I had remarks about how I don’t take care of their hair. The truth is I choose to keep it that way. When I see hair that’s been pulled, stretched, brushed till bullet smooth I just think ‘ouch‘. I have my limits mind, sometimes I have to beg Nico to let me tidy it up for fear of her looking like she’s been neglected!”
How her mother handled her hair as a child
“Mum wanted me to fit in, and I don’t blame her. My hair hampered that. Poor Mum. I remember when I was 7 at my convent school, it was school photo day so all the kids came looking their best. Mum did my hair in 20 or so ‘corn rows’ with green wooden beads on each end to match my school uniform. The nuns were appalled, they wouldn’t let me have my picture taken. I felt embarrassed, disappointed, ashamed. Can you imagine how my Mum must have felt? There was a mild ruckus and the next day I had my picture taken. But then I read this year a piece in The Independent about a student who appealed against not being able to wear his hair in (what the school felt was a hoodlum style) braids, and he won. That’s 30 years since the Nun’s dissed me… This sh** keeps going round and round. Apart from the school photo incident it was 1 or 2 plaits every single day, and a bun when I was doing ballet. Never, ever, ever loose. Never.
 The trouble with hairdressers today
“To be honest I do struggle with hairdressers, even now. The main problem is that hairdressers (and some at the top of their game) don’t understand how my type of hair changes dramatically depending on what climate, substance, effects it. Water in anyform is like a cheeky magic wand – even mist! But with the correct tools managing my kind of hair can do ANYTHING, which is brilliant! So hairdressers like the genius Kerry Warn, or Maarit Niemela, are leagues better than others because they can work black hair from wet to dry in any style.
I’m surprised that more people don’t understand this (even though hair salons still seems to be culturally divided between ‘black’ hairdressing or ‘caucasian’ hairdressing), there are many black models and actresses around that they work with.
I think a problem for top hairdressers is that most black models and high end clients have weaves (Indian hair), so the technicians never work on authentic black hair. Whether black, white, blonde, brunette, I’d head to a local black hairdressers any day of the week- because if a technician can work black hair, you can work ANY hair.”

I agree with Thandie, I can't go to my former hairstylist with my Afro and ask for a style without her telling me I should relax my hair beforehand to make it easier - for who, her of course. Hairdressers are so used to the straight + silky type of hair that when you stick an afro in front of them, they are clueless, no matter if they are the best hairstylists in the world. Like most black women, Thandie took matter into her own hands and learnt how to style her own hair - "I can braid, fit extensions, do my own weave, cut it, blow dry it bone straight, make hair pieces, fit wigs, style it beehive, forties, Afro, you name it".

What do you think, how did/do you feel about transitioning? Do hairdressers need to step their game up?

No comments:

Post a Comment