Poised. Elegant. Eloquent. Intelligent. These are a few of the many descriptors that can be used to describe the woman at the center of today’s ‘Her Hairstory’, Viola Davis. From her most recent smash performance in Fences and her ability to bulldoze through beauty standards as a no holds barred attorney on How to Get Away with Murder to being the first Black women to wing 5 SAG Awards and gaining a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Davis is a modern day SHEro. What makes her even more dynamic is her hair story. A story that many can probably find a bit of themselves in.
During her formative years, Davis sported a neat, low-cut afro while pursuing artistic endeavors that eventually led her, in 1989, to attend the Julliard School in NYC. It was here that she continued pursuing her passion for acting but also where she found herself suffering from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune skin condition that results in hair loss. In an interview with Vulture, Davis recalls: “I woke up one day and it looked like I had a Mohawk. Big splash of bald on the top of my head. I was like, What is this?”
Such a drastic experience would shake even the most confident person, and it was this major turning point that drove Davis to begin relying on wigs. She admits that this was in an effort to feel like others saw her as beautiful. However, like many of us, she recognized that she needed to kick the crutch from under herself and shamelessly step into her beauty. She did just this at the 2012 Academy Awards. It was here that Violas Davis wowed us with her coppery-blond TWA (teeny-weeny afro). Davis was done hiding and this was the turning point in a long lived journey of self-acceptance.
Davis still wears wigs from time to time but it is no longer functioning as her security blanket. She has graced the covers of Essence, Elle, and Variety donning her natural curls and defying the beauty standard media and society try to convince us of. A standard Davis boldly challenged in season one of How To Get Away With Murder where millions witnessed her character removing her wig and makeup, something people haven't seen from a black female character on primetime television.
It was a raw look at an experience many Black women go through and it was a game-changer.
It’s safe to say that Viola Davis is a champion for women of color. Her transparency in her journey to love herself and being vocal about her insecurities is a dialogue that resonates with and encourages women to boldly step into their beauty and live for the approval of others. So whether you rock your natural curls, a wig, or anything in between, do it with the confidence that you are beautiful regardless.