A couple weeks ago I walked into my boss’ office and uttered words I never imagined myself asking:
“Do you care if I wear my hair curly?”
I thought I was pretty much hanging up my blazers when I resigned from my weekend anchor position. I also figured being on TV less would be a great opportunity for me to embrace my naturally curly hair while reporting. Then when they asked me if I could fill-in anchor, I wondered if that meant I need to go back to my straight “Barbie” look.
His reaction surprised me nearly as much as my own question…
“Are you kidding, why would I care?”
It may sound like a superficial question but trust me, some news directors in this business would most definitely care. My first boss asked me to change my name to Keisha for Heaven’s sake. So you know looks and public perception come with the territory.
He told me he thought my hair looked great, and to wear it however I liked.
To be safe I checked with my other boss, and she was also extremely supportive. So there I was, planning to debut something so natural and simple. Yet it felt like I was knocking down some kind of barrier; an unspoken rule that said I had to stay within the cookie cutter lines of an appearance.
On one hand I felt extremely proud. Thinking: Yes, this is a proud moment I’ll share with my daughter some day! And on the other hand it felt like no freakin big deal. “It’s just hair!” As my boss put it.
But then again this is the same head I covered up years before with a short wig after repeated requests to cut my hair from multiple people.
I twisted my hair the night before my anchor shift then took it out the morning of. I thought I’d be overly self-conscious or maybe even dislike the change, but the opposite was true. I felt confidant, like I was channeling my inner Oprah.
The reaction to my hair has been all over the map. When I first started wearing my natural curls co-workers didn’t immediately recognize me. Responses ranged from “YIKES!” (luckily this only happened once) to “I love it!” My station even got a viewer response that directly complimented me on my new do, and praised me for showing off my natural curls. Granted, the subject line was mistakenly addressed to the other black anchor in Austin, but close enough right?
Since changing up my hair, another naturally curly anchor in town has decided to rock her waves as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if more are on their way. I’m obviously not the first new anchor to wear her natural curls on TV, and I definitely won’t be the last, but as for my experience all I can say is… It’s nice to let my hair down.