By Deanna Pai. Photos: Getty Images, Courtesy of Instagram.
I was trolling the Internet (as one does) when I stumbled across a photo of Bella Hadid. She wore her hair in a pile of corkscrew curls on top of her head, and the question at hand was: Did Bella Hadid get a perm? Well, no. Probably not. I'd place a significant amount of money—which, for me, is $20—that this is either a wig or that a hairstylist just spent some quality time with Hadid's hair and a curling iron. That's literally it.
I have corkscrew curls, depending on the day and whether my hair feels like it. Outside the occasional pump of mousse, I don't touch my curls. I love them so much that my only wish during chemotherapy was that my hair wouldn't grow back straight. Which is why I surprised myself when my first thoughts upon seeing this photo was: There's no way this is permanent. Hadid is a model. The stylists on set would kill her. It's kind of '90s.
I know, I know: SHAME. Even if it were a perm—which it's not—what's the big deal if she gets a perm? Wouldn't it be really refreshing to see a mainstream celebrity wearing super-tight curls?
That's exactly the point. Beyond women with natural hair, like Yara Shahidi and Solange Knowles, corkscrew curls are few and far between. And even when celebrities do have natural curls, like Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Zendaya, they don't even wear them that way. Teen Vogue even wrote what's basically a eulogy for Lorde's curls, which are a rare sight lately. And when's the last time you saw Swift with curly hair on the red carpet? It was probably three Grammys ago.
When curly hair does show up at awards show, on your Insta feed, or somewhere else in pop culture, it turns into a punchline. (See: Halle Berry's corkscrew afro at the 2017 Oscars.) No wonder we're so conditioned to see straight hair as normal and anything else—curly, natural, etc.—as not. Only recently has that begun to change. "I looked in the mirror and my hair was this giant big mass of curls," actress Jenny Slate told Glamour.com as part of our America, the Beautiful portfolio. "I remember thinking, I can’t believe that I have only ever thought of my natural state as something to use as a joke rather than something to be celebrated."
Hating on my own hair texture, even for a second, drives home the point that curly hair is still not seen as the "ideal" hair texture among women—and celebrities play a big role in setting that example. So I wish Hadid had gotten a perm and worn her hair curly. It would've been awesome (and, clearly, a gorgeous look). Still, seeing this was a good reminder of how glorious it is when curls get a positive spotlight—if even just for me.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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