Today, I lost a role. Normal. Because of my hair…Not normal to most people seeking employment in the everyday workforce, but it’s all too common in this industry. When I saw Jessica Chastain at an industry event, she had mentioned how crazy the business is, and how, for an industry that deals with the imagination, they really don’t have much of their own. Every once in a while, I get fed up with how ridiculous this industry can be sometimes. When I told friends that I lost the part because of something as minor as my hair, their reactions went pretty much like this:
I know, right? Growing up, I loved when I’d see an actress with curly hair. I was seeing a part of myself reflected on the screen. Faces like Julia Roberts, Keri Russell, Julianna Margulies, and the previously blogged about, late Brittany Murphy, all had naturally curly hair. Key word: HAD. Since that time, they’ve all gone down the straight and narrow path of hair styling. I mentioned in my post about Brittany Murphy, that she had trouble getting roles because she was a brunette. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that her hair was curly. If you look at her work in the television series Almost Home, and movies like Clueless and Freeway, she had curly hair for all those projects. Take Julia Roberts as well. It was fine in the late 80s and early 90s to have curly hair like she did, because that was in fashion. Maybe I should have been up and coming in the 70s and 80s. I’d have cornered the curly-hair market. Nowadays, it’s all about silky smooth locks. The fashion industry spends billions of dollars a year in order to tell me that my hair is too frizzy, curly, and needs to be “controlled” with straightening serums, creams and flat irons.
Just because you may not see a curly-haired gal in television and film all the time does not mean that we aren’t out there. I look up to my friends Eileen Galindo and Olga Merediz BECAUSE they remind me of myself. I really do hope I get to act with my supremely talented and gorgeous friends. I have a feeling we could play relatives or something.
I’ve had roles where I had to straighten my hair, so why should that make a difference now? Well, this is a very very fast moving business, and I didn’t have what they needed in the moment to make them give me the job. I can ask questions and make myself crazy about this. But I chose not to go insane simply due to the fact that I know I didn’t fit what they were ultimately looking for. It wasn’t about my talent, it was as simple as my appearance. My hair is a part of me. It’s part of my personality. It’s what sets me apart from everyone else. At least I know I’m not a terrible actress. Other things are on the horizon for me, and something great might be just around the corner.
I don’t want to be just another boat that gets lost in the ocean. I want to be the lighthouse, creating a glow that helps the boats find their way home to the shore. I want to blaze a trail with my curly hair.