I was eight when I wet the front of my hair to make it look straight and then cut it into a make-shift fringe. All my school friends had fringes, I was the only black girl in my class, so I wanted one too. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror feeling so pleased with myself. Yes! Finally, I look like them too. Then as quickly as my hair started to dry up and return to afro, my heart sank. I’ll never be like them. My mum walks in the room screaming her head off demanding I tell her why I cut my hair like that. I tell her that I just wanted a fringe too.
That was one of the many times growing up that served as a reminder to me that I was different to my friends. The only images of ‘beauty’ or ‘coolness’ I saw were in magazines like Mizz - full of young white girls - and of course, my classmates whose hairstyles I wanted to emulate. My mum did my hair but I wasn’t around anyone else who had similar hair to me.