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An Afro In The Circus In Sheffield

In 2018, I ran away to the circus and moved my life down to London from Sheffield. I wanted to do something that was purely for me and threw myself into four intensive months of shaping my body, ready for the freelance life. I expected praise for my muscular figure, but, along with my hair, society's constructs seemed to have seeped into this art form, excluding me from contracts with words such as "too muscular" and "looking terrifying".

On that particular occasion, I was wearing a tank top and jeans and had a shaved head. Of course, this had been the most practical of looks for me. I was training 40+ hours a week and my Sundays were for meal prep, not for doing my hair. But this was a gentle reminder that even when my job was to be strong, I was still required to fulfil a fundamental element of female "beauty".