How Kat Graham's Natural Hair Journey Helped Me Embrace My Curls

When scrolling through YouTube’s home page some recommended videos make sense, as they are by YouTubers you already subscribe too or are videos from channels similar to the ones you like. Some videos that are recommended, however, are completely random or are promoted even when they can’t be further away from your interests. Every once in a while, you get recommended a video that you never knew you needed, and everything changes. Vogue’s Beauty Secrets video featuring Kat Graham, an actress known for playing Bonnie Bennett on The Vampire Diaries, is one of those videos. Seeing the similarities in her journey and mine has changed my view of my own natural hair as I learn to embrace my curls!

  1. 1. Natural Hair and Hollywood

    Natural hair and Hollywood have rarely gone together as Kat Graham said herself “the African Afro Texture is not something that Hollywood has ever necessarily embraced.” In shows where multiracial or black actresses have been main characters, their hair has been straight most of the time. As an avid fan of The Vampire Diaries, I identified with Bonnie Bennett, the witch who was the literal answer to almost every problem despite never having her happy ending. She served as a role model for being a strong black woman who knew her own strength and didn’t let anyone tell her anything different. It was not until the Vogue Beauty Secrets video was recommended to me that I noticed something strange about Kat Graham’s character. In the 8 seasons which consisted of 171 episodes spanning over 8 years, Kat Graham never wore her natural hair. Her hair was always straight; either in a bob, sporting bangs, or rocking a half up half down hairstyle. Her hair was always cute, don’t get me wrong, but I always thought it was her choice for having her hair this way. The Vogue video showed that she was wearing wigs and lace fronts the whole time and have yet to play a role where her natural hair was part of the look. For viewers like me, especially younger viewers, it can mean so much when they see a character that looks like them. If I had seen more representation when I was younger, I may have been more eager to embrace my hair because actresses and characters I looked up to showed me how natural hair is beautiful. 

  2. 2. Leave it to the Professionals

    I only remember one distinct time in my childhood when my hair was natural and it was a spectacle how big my hair was, which is a weird feeling honestly. I had thick and long hair, which was too much work to do every day so my mother would give me relaxers to change the texture of my hair and send me to the hair salon to make it straight. Similarly, Kat Graham’s hair has always been done by someone else ever since she was a kid. Her mom did not know how to handle her hair texture so she went to the hair salon every week. Since COVID-19 shut down many events and opportunities for Kat, she has been stuck at home and having to do her own hair for the first time.  Understanding your natural hair and what works for you comes with experimenting and taking time to work with your texture. Thankfully, technology is at our disposal, and finding natural hair products is easier than ever. Even when I am not at the salon, I can take breaks from straightening my own hair and take care of my natural texture. 

  3. 3. Healthy Hair is the Most Important

    One great mindset switch was when Kat Graham took her hair out of her cornrows and said “it’s really healthy”. I loved seeing her joy that comes with recognizing her healthy hair. She had not straightened it in four months. I have always loved straightening my hair and curling it which requires constant heat and can lead to heat damage. Even though the look of sleek hair can be nice, there should be periods where your hair can breathe or be free from the heat. With natural curls, the curl pattern can be severely altered due to extensive heating. Getting comfortable with my natural hair and texture makes it easier to refrain from heat and embrace my curls. 

This video is the first step into embracing my natural hair as much as I love it when it is straightened. Hearing Kat Graham’s journey and struggle remind me that we are all going through our own struggles and have to figure out what is best for us. No matter what texture your hair is, learning to embrace your natural hair will leave you feeling happier in no time!