An hour before I went to my most recent teaching interview and scored the sweet job I am so lucky to work at now, I was planted in front of the computer, frantically searching appropriate curly hairstyles. To be honest, in the past, I usually pulled it back into a low ponytail because a) I wasn’t following the Curly Girl Method and frankly, my hair was a brushed-out bit of crazytown, and b) for some reason a lot of my interviews have seemed to land on warmer days. In any case, this was my big chance to make an impression – one I was putting a lot of pressure on because, in Ontario, the chance of getting a teaching job is slim to none. If we’re all being totally up front here, I considered this to be my ‘one last go’ before switching careers.
So, the scene is set: Google images of curly hairstyles pop up, and of course most of them are manicured, wedding and prom-style photos. Not helpful. So I try searching ‘professional curly hair’ for the very first time in my life, and am assaulted with a barrage of sites telling me to straighten my hair for the interview! I furiously click through several pages of this dribble. As someone who now refuses to straighten or use heat styling (aside from a cool diffuser every once in a while), changing the shape of my locks that soon before an interview was not an option. I panicked, pulled my hair back in a high crazy ponytail, and hoped for the best. I did indeed get the job, I received multiple hair compliments from my employer and co-workers, and regretted nothing about how I left my hair. This issue, however, still wrankled.
Although this has fueled some ideas to create a post later on discussing the ‘history’ of curly hair, I feel like that would sideline the point I’m making here: is it not ridiculous that people would judge a natural hairstyle as ‘unprofessional’? Who determined the aesthetics of being professional, from a hair point of view? In my belief, if it’s well taken care of, and obviously a clean, gorgeous source of pride for the owner – who’s to say that straight is better? I’m curious to know your thoughts and experiences, curly people – have you ever felt pressured to force your hair into a different style for work? Does it ever make you feel self-conscious to have a mane of spirals in a more subdued work atmosphere?