Monthly Archives: September 2016

African-American Hair, Beauty and Self Esteem

I took a photo of my daughter during Christmas time 2010. Her African-American natural hair was washed, conditioned, blown dry, and wrapped. The photo was taken after she had returned from a trip to the mall with my mother (her grandmother). Apparently there was a modeling agency at the mall recruiting. A representative from the agency approached my daughter and asked if she was interested in modeling for the major department stores. They asked her a few other questions as well. My daughter declined the offer. She later told me that she was interested, yet she did not feel comfortable discussing the issue without her parents. I told her that her dad and I could have been there in 10 minutes if it was something she wanted. Yet I really wasn’t too disappointed because it’s hard to tell whether the agency could deliver what they offered and I am sure there were costs associated.

However, I was impressed that the modeling agency representative saw features and or beauty enough to inquire. I believe my daughter was also complimented that a complete stranger approached her wanting to potentially utilize her image.

The picture that I took captured the image that someone saw when they looked at my daughter. Perhaps they thought “She is beautiful.” Or maybe “Her clothes fit nice. She would be a good model.” Then again maybe they just thought “She can afford our agency fees.” Most likely it was some combination of all of these things.

This encounter made me think about self-esteem. I wondered how my daughter thought of herself. I thought about my perception of myself. I revisited what I thought of my daughter. Her hair was simple and not necessarily glamorous. If a complete stranger could look at someone and think she’s beautiful, what would happen if every person looked at themselves and said “beautiful”? What if we began to treat ourselves like beautiful people? That means taking care of and doing the right things for our spirituality, health, appearance, employment, relationships, etc. What if parents started treating children like they were beautiful people? I guess this is a plea to focus on the strengths and positive things about oneself and others. Develop those things and we might find out what a different world this could be.