Elle Canada pays homage to black hairstyles by featuring black models in the September 2016 “Natural Anthem” Beauty Shoot.
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing news outlets feature many of these same styles and then crediting non-black women for the inspiration, sometimes even renaming the styles and presenting them as new:
Elle Canada, thankfully, is giving credit where credit is due, and issued the following statement via Instagram:
September Issue realness: I have wanted to do a shoot like this for a long, long time — a visual love letter to the girls I grew up with and the women we all have become. Hair is such a hugely important part of our world and I wanted to celebrate it authentically. (P.S. I have worn every hairstyle in this shoot at some point in my life. Bantu knots is a personal fave).
Meet the models:
ON BEING PART OF A SHOOT FOCUSING ON NATURAL HAIR:
“It’s amazing. We are getting there; diversity is what we’re fighting for. [We need to do] more things like this.”
ON BEING A PART OF THIS SHOOT:
I’ve never been in a photo shoot where it’s all black people. Usually there is one black person and seven Caucasian women. We all come from different backgrounds and we can share stories together. And I kind of feel at peace because at other shoots, nobody would talk to each other.
ON BEAUTY IN 2016
I grew up in Toronto in a predominantly black community. Everyone had my hair…. I think our perception of beauty is changing. [The acceptance toward] sizes are changing, heights are changing. The look is changing. It’s really nice to see. It’s good to live in our time.
“My boyfriend is a barber, so he just cuts it for me. I cut it every month or so. I like to keep it short.” [Editor’s note: Naro naturally keeps her hair shaved.]
ON HER SIGNATURE RED HAIR
My sister has really dark, dark, dark hair. And she’d always be like, ‘Kiera you’re adopted!’ So, I’d cry. Nobody has red hair in my family. And nobody has freckles either so I was the oddball. I never really noticed my texture. I wanted it darker like my sister. But then modeling happened and then I got used to it. I’ve never coloured my hair ever! When I was younger I was super orange. Now it’s a dark auburn.
Being multi-racial, I had mixed feelings about my hair. When I was really young, I wanted straight hair and I kind of resented my untamed hair. It was quite fuzzy, and it had a mind of its own. I used to get bullied for it a lot. The kids weren’t racist, it was just different and they didn’t understand. I didn’t know how to deal with my hair either, so it wasn’t the best kept. As I grew up and there was more awareness of how to do up my hair, I felt more comfortable. My hair is something that really launched my career, so I have begun to accept it and like it.
Check out the full shoot here.
“Natural Anthem” was originally published in the September 2016 issue of ELLE Canada. Photographs by Saty + Pratha; Beauty direction by Vanessa Craft; Hair, Justin German (P1M.ca); Makeup, Sabrina Rinaldi (P1M.ca); Manicure, Miyuki (P1M.ca); Fashion direction by Juliana Schiavinatto; Art direction by Brittany Eccles.