I want to start this blog by firstly declaring that I LOVE my hair - the curls, the texture and the versatility of afro hairstyles.
However, I didn't always feel like this….
In primary school, I can remember looking at myself in the mirror and wishing that my hair was straight, long and glossy - just like the white girls in my class at school.
Growing up in the 80s, I used to sneak a peek at my mum's magazines and I never saw any beautiful black women with their natural hair in an afro or braided style. I didn't realise at the time, but my definition of beauty was symbolised by European images.
The start of my hair journey
When I was old enough, I couldn't wait to chemically treat my hair, which, in effect, is a process that straightens the natural curl texture and over time damages the hair. I totally loved my new look and I cut my hair into a short graduated style.
I continued to chemically treat my hair for about 10 years but then I noticed, over time, my hair started to lose its natural thickness and started to thin. At that point, I made a conscious decision to stop chemically treating my hair and learnt to fall back in love with my natural hair texture.
This experimental journey meant trying different styles. I wore wigs (yes - you heard me correctly… wigs are totally on point and authentic if you secure a good hairdresser), weaves and braids.
The workplace challenges
I can remember a few years back I worked for an organisation and said to my manager at the time that I was thinking about changing my hairstyle from wearing a weave to rocking my braids. I simply just felt I wanted to change my look. My manager scornfully said to me “I am not sure braids fit in a corporate environment”.
At the time I felt deflated and marginalised and I can remember thinking that I couldn’t see myself working in the organisation longer-term. They talked about diversity and inclusion, but they didn’t really mean it!
Camelot’s approach couldn’t be more different
On the contrary, Camelot’s culture is totally the opposite compared to my previous experience. They offer a place where you can truly bring your authentic self to work!
I rock my braids and people simply embrace my different hairstyles. I truly feel myself here. People accept you for who you are, rather than you feeling like you need to fit into a particular category or mould.
I must confess though, the one hairstyle I have not rocked at Camelot is my big gigantic afro… watch this space!