Lupita Nyong’o is featured on “The Culture of Hair” issue for Allure magazine!
“Hallelujah! Thank you to the great @VernonFrancois for always gilding my crown of hair, always empowering and transforming my kinks and curls, and to @allure for this refreshing feature,” the Black Panther actress wrote on Instagram unveiling the cover.
Check out highlights from the feature below:
On how she felt about her hair while growing up: “Well, I didn’t love my hair when I was a child. It was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much. I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair. In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed. She wouldn’t allow it, though her hair was relaxed. She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18. Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty. My dad intervened and spoke to my mom about my hair, and she finally agreed. She took me to the salon in the middle of the school day, and I got my hair relaxed. I felt so much better because it was easier to tame. All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed. Very few had natural kink, so I felt a lot more acceptable. I had my hair relaxed for most of my teenage years, and that was a whole other world. The upkeep of relaxed hair is a commitment. It took styling it once a week and then having it retouched once a month. I remember doing crazy things, like sleeping with my head above the headboard so that my curls wouldn’t get messed up for the next day. I’d have these terrible neck aches because I was determined to keep my hair as pristine as possible. And it was super expensive. When I was about 18 or 19, I didn’t have a job or anything, so it was really my parents paying for my hair. So I was once asking for some more money to get my hair done and my dad joked, “Why don’t you just cut it all off?” And a few months later, I thought to myself, Why don’t I? I went into the hair salon, and I said, “Let’s cut it off.” It was almost a dare to myself: Can I live without hair? He shaved it right off. It was so scary but so liberating because I went completely bald.”
On maintaining her hair now: “My hair is the longest it’s been in over a decade. A lot of that is because I have an amazing hairstylist in Vernon François. He’s been so helpful, helping me learn how to maintain my natural hair texture. Also giving me regimens that are streamlined because part of the challenge is all the steps. You go on YouTube, and there are just so many different ways of upkeep of one’s natural hair. It’s honey and rosemary water and avocado-paste conditioning and whatnot. I’ve tried it all. Now I love my hair. I love it because I’ve also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do. It’s like clay in the right hands. Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands. Being able to have that kind of playtime with Vernon to create different things has inspired me.”
On what a perfect day looks like: “My perfect day is waking up before anyone else and having time by myself to write, read, and get a head start on the day. It’s walking along the beach, seeing the sunrise, and then having a lovely home-cooked breakfast. It’s being with my siblings — actually, my extended family — for a big, fat lunch. And then spending time with my friends, talking. Actually, painting nails.”
Images: Patrick Demarchelier for Allure