Last year, Victoria Secret model Maria Borges made waves when she walked the runway donning her natural hair in a fro. This year the Angel returned to the stage in Paris, wearing her hair naturally for the second year in a row, and she’s brought a few friends to the party.
Victoria’s models, Jourdana Phillips and Herieth Paul joined Borges in discarding their weaves, extensions, and pressed hair to redefine what it means to be beautiful. Phillips, who walked the VS runway for the first time, cut her hair a month ago in preparation for the show.
“I never thought in a million years I would cut my hair. I’m so glad I did! It’s helped me overcome the idea that my beauty is synonymous with the length of my hair. I’m sure for many women it’s difficult not to feel this way when everyone and everything tells you it is. Knowing this has given me a sense of empowerment, that regardless my beauty comes from a place that couldn’t be altered aesthetically. I no longer feel forced to adhere to society’s beauty standards and feel free to do as I please. You are sexy, strong and beautiful with long hair/short hair/pink hair/blue hair whatever!!!” Phillips said in a post to Instagram last month.
While many have herald Borges as the first to walk the Victoria Secret runway with her natural hair E! Online reported it was supermodel Ajuma Nasenyana who rocked a fully shaved head in the 2006 VS Fashion Show.
Regardless of who holds the title its Borges who has left her mark on the modeling world and changed the game for the future generation of models. Earlier this week, model Nyadak “Duckie” Thot recounted her difficulties as a natural hair model from several years ago.
” I remember on top model on one of the episodes I had to cornrow my own hair. I was extremely upset and embarrassed that they “didn’t know how” to cornrow my natural hair when at the end of the day that’s their job. I sat in front of the mirror silently crying before my shoot doing my own hair, cameras rolling while all the other girls had hairstylists, shit scared I was going to get eliminated because a few “hairstylists” didn’t know how to do their job.”
I remember shooting this Dinosaur Design campaign just before coming out here to the states. They called my agent at the time and asked if I was comfortable to shoot a campaign with my natural hair. She already knew what I was thinking but told me I needed to compromise sometimes. I won't lie, I was extremely hesitant. I've never really had a good experience with my natural hair and modelling in Australia before. I remember on top model on one of the episodes I had to cornrow my own hair. I was extremely upset and embarrassed that they "didn't know how" to cornrow my natural hair when at the end of the day that's their job. I sat in front of the mirror silently crying before my shoot doing my own hair, cameras rolling while all the other girls had hairstylists, shit scared I was going to get eliminated because a few "hairstylists" didn't know how to do their job. It's not fun being bullied for something you can't control and to have a top model woman of colour who I thought encouraged acceptance and self love call me out for rocking my natural hair, isn't cool at all. Throw all the shade you want, but you played yourself with your cute little remark.
Let us hope that women like Borges, Phillips, and Paul continue to empowering others to redefine beauty and change the way the world’s standards.
The Victoria Secret Fashion Show will air this Monday, December 5th at 10 p.m. on CBS.
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