Storm Reid says there are still not enough Black hairstylists in the entertainment industry: 'We have a lot more change to see'

Storm Reid says the entertainment industry still has a long way to go when it comes to on-set inclusion. (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Storm Reid says the entertainment industry still has a long way to go when it comes to on-set inclusion. (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Actress Storm Reid is the unofficial face of "new hair, new me."

The Euphoria star has been outwardly vocal about the lack of inclusivity on hair and makeup sets, and also speaks candidly about the realities of dealing with her natural hair after doing a big chop.

The actress first debuted her blunt-blonde moment at the Sept. 2021 Met Gala, but tells Yahoo Life that the major snip was a long time coming.

"I wanted to do my big chop for a really long time, I think around 15 or 16. I always joked around with wanting to cut my hair and I had that idea earlier than 15, 16, but I thought around that age it would be more appropriate," she says, admitting that it took her a few years to actually take the plunge.

"I always would say, 'I hope I get a role where I can just shave my head and I can just commit to the character and also face my fear," she says

Thankfully, new beginnings brought on newfound courage for the actress, who felt like going off to school was the perfect opportunity to switch things up.

"Going through a transition period of my first year in college, I had just left home. So I was just feeling that I needed to, like, let go of all of the baggage that I held over the years and just [have] a fresh new start and I loved it," she says. But even though the timing finally seemed right, she was still nervous about making such a drastic change to her appearance — dyeing her hair a bright blonde, á la Zoe Kravitz circa 2017, in addition to cutting major inches.

"I was terrified. I just didn't know if my head was gonna be shaped funny under my hair. And then, not only was I nervous to cut my hair, but I cut and bleached my hair in the same day and you really sometimes don't want to do that," she says. Thankfully she has a well-equipped personal team to help her manage her new high-maintenance style.

"Obviously, I had a phenomenal hairstylist who took great care of my hair, made sure that my hair was still healthy after the cut and the bleach," she says. "It was for sure scary, but I'm glad I did it."

But unfortunately, having a team aptly versed in the ins and outs of Black hair is a rarity in the entertainment industry, says Reid.

"As I've grown up on set, it's been a challenge, to be quite honest," she says, explaining that she didn't receive on-set access to stylists truly capable of working with varying hair textures until she worked with director Ava DuVernay for A Wrinkle in Time.

"Miss Ava made sure that I was taken care of and that my hair was taken care of and she knew that there were women of color on that set that needed the same time and care and love that other people receive in the hair trailer because it's just 'easier' to manage their hair," she reports. "Miss Ava made sure that that was in place for us on that set."

That moment shifted her perspective on speaking up for equal representation and resources on set — something she had been hesitant to do beforehand, she recalls.

"Sometimes you're scared to say things or use your voice because you don't want to be perceived or deemed as a diva, or being 'difficult.' But being on Miss Ava's set when I was 13, I was able to leave that set and go to my other sets with confidence," she says, and to be able let her team know that having a knowledgeable on-set stylist is a necessity.

"From that point on, I have requested people who know how to do my hair — or Black hair stylists who can work under the department head, even, to be able to make sure that I feel the most comfortable and my hair is being taken care of," Reid says.

Currently, Reid is growing out her hair with the help of Dark & Lovely's extensive line of haircare products. In partnership with the brand, she is raising awareness for its Building Beautiful Futures initiative in collaboration with the College Gurl Foundation, which will award $750 book scholarships to 50 young college women like herself. Applicants have until Oct. 10th to apply for the scholarship.

"I use Dark & Lovely blowout collection as well, because it just makes my hair feel smooth, silky and it smells really good," says Reid of her hair maintenance when she is in-between braids — her preferred choice of protective styling.

"Braids are easier for me and braids are also versatile," she adds. "So I could switch up the styles when I get bored."

Protective hairstyles and self-advocacy have done a lot for Reid's experience on various sets, but she says the entertainment industry at large still has a long way to go when it comes to sufficient hair and makeup inclusion.

"We have a lot more change to see. If I [could] say anything to the industry, it would just be to continue to let young people — or people who have experience with natural hair — come on set and help your talent, or give them the opportunity to be on the set, to where everybody can feel comfortable," she says, acknowledging that it can be difficult for Black hairdressers to get booked for big projects.

"I know it's hard to get Black heads or department heads on set, but it's even hard for people of color to get in the [Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild] — and to be able to create more opportunities for themselves and get the hours they need to become department heads," she says, adding that the same considerations should be applied to makeup artists, as well.

"Whatever the industry can do to create more equity in our industry when it comes to hair and makeup is very much needed, because it is dehumanizing to go on set in and sit in the chair and try to collect your thoughts and get ready to be on camera and give your best performance — but you don't like how you look or you don't like how your hair was dealt with or it's not being dealt with care," she says. "That doesn't feel good."

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