Who would have thought Instagram, of all places, could actually help a young woman with her self-image? But that’s exactly what happened to Tia Mowry, who just shared an inspiring personal essay about embracing her hair: first its texture, and now its (ever-so-slightly) fading color.
“Growing up, there were just no visuals or representation of someone who looked like me—Black girl with curly hair. All I saw being showcased was blonde, straight hair, blue eyes, white skin. And there was little to no visibility for women of a certain age,” she wrote—as told to Kayla Greaves—for InStyle. She shared that toward the end of Sister Sister, which she starred on with sister Tamera, she began to straighten her hair, and later was told that her natural curls were “distracting” in auditions.
“That negative relationship with my hair went on for a very long time, until Instagram hit the scene in the 2010s. I started to see more girls like me…curly girls, and just Black women celebrating all the various textures and colors of their hair at every age,” Mowry continued, adding that she’s decided to represent not just “curly girls” but also women going gray, as she started to around age 40.
“One thing that I credit my parents with is they’ve always taught me how to just be myself at every stage of my life. And I’ve always had this perspective that it is a blessing to get old. There are so many people on a daily basis that are not making it to the age where their hair starts to gray. And so when I see my gray hair, it actually is a blessing because it means that, yes, I’m getting older and I’m still here.”
She also pointed out that Instagram is not the be-all and end-all of self-love. “I recognize that social media has helped me embrace my natural features, [but] there’s also a flip side, where some people have become so obsessed with this previous version of themselves, or what they think they should look like, because of all the filters and editing, that they end up not liking who they are right now…. It’s making people not love who they are and where they’re at in their journey, and that’s not good.” Fortunately, making the internet a safer space for yourself is doable with the tools we have, as Tia Mowry instructs: “There are many accounts that celebrate aging. Unfollow and block whatever or whomever does not make you feel good—never be afraid to do that.”
Wise words, sister.
Originally Appeared on Glamour