You don’t need us to give you the rundown on Tyra Banks‘s decades-long career; from signing as a model at the age of 15 to bringing “smize” into modern vernacular, she’s a true icon. She was the first black woman to have a contract with Victoria’s Secret, wear Angel wings, and wear the Fantasy Bra — which she not once, but twice, first in 1997 and again in 2004. However, before all of that happened, Tyra almost lost her chance at making it in the industry because stylists didn’t know how to style her hair.
In an interview with W, the 44-year-old model reveals that her early days of being a Victoria’s Secret model meant that she had to do her own hair at home before showing up to set — something that no other models had to do. “I almost lost my opportunity at Victoria’s Secret,” she said. “I was sent home the first day because the hairdresser didn’t know what to do with my African American hair.”
Tyra begged her agent to get her another chance with the lingerie brand, before taking matters into her own hands. She hired her own hairdresser and got her hair blow-dried and flat-ironed at home before going to castings. However, she shares that all of that changed as soon as she decided to stop “silently suffering.”
“I talked to them and said, ‘Look, my hair is different, I need somebody who can do my hair.’ After that, they hired people who could do my hair for 10 years.” Tyra’s success in the industry unquestionably helped break barriers and paved the way for models of color. Just last year, Lais Ribeiro became the fourth black woman to wear the Fantasy Bra, and Angolan model Maria Borges proudly showed off her natural hair on the VS runway in 2015.
Representation in beauty and fashion is a topic that’s been magnified in recent seasons, with consumers calling on brands for expanded foundation shade ranges and designers to be inclusive when casting models for runway shows. “I see such diversity in girls that are very known, from Jourdan Dunn to Joan Smalls to Duckie Thot to a lot of girls whose names I don’t even know but I just follow on Instagram,” says Tyra. “There was still a lot of discrimination back in my day, but now I think, damn, maybe we didn’t have it as bad as we thought we did. But the great thing the girls have today is social media, so they don’t always have to suffer in silence.”
Taken from Teen Vogue US. Click here to read the original.
Want more hair advice, click here!