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Denée Benton at the Markarian appearance appearance during New York Appearance Week adjoin blush accomplishments
Seeing extra and accompanist Denée Benton on Broadway in Hamilton or in episodes of the HBO alternation The Gilded Age, you’d never apperceive she was anytime afraid about her looks. But in a new account with People, she appear that acclimated to be the case.
Speaking with the advertisement for its 2022 Admirable Issue, Benton opened up about her accord with her hair. After accepting a relaxer her accomplished life, she baldheaded her beard off the summer afore her green year of academy at Carnegie Mellon University, Benton told the magazine.
“Especially as Black women, our beard holds so much,” she said. “It can be such a antecedent of shame. So to absolution that for the aboriginal time, it absolutely fabricated me feel like I was unstoppable. I acquainted sexy.” (Related: Fun, Short Accustomed Hairstyles to Change Up Your Look)
If you’re apprehensive what aggressive the abrupt admiration to chop her hair, Benton said she was empowered by artisan India.Arie, accurately her accepted 2006 song “I Am Not My Hair.” To brace your memory, the song’s lyrics accommodate the curve “I am not my beard / I am not this bark / I am the body that lives within.”
In fact, Benton’s absolute adorableness aesthetics seems to be aggressive by India.Arie’s music. The Tony-nominated extra acicular out specific lyrics from “I Am Not My Hair” that she relates to in the contempo interview, quoting: “Sometimes I barber my legs and sometimes I don’t / Sometimes I adjust my beard and sometimes I won’t / Depend on how the wind assault I ability alike acrylic my toes.”
For Benton, this is what adorableness is all about. “It absolutely aloof depends whatever feels acceptable to my soul. That’s my way of beauty,” she told People. (Related: The Best Black Accustomed Beard Influencers to Follow for Styling Tips, Tutorials, and More)
In accession to R&B hits from the aboriginal 2000s, Benton’s apparel for The Gilded Age, a aeon ball that calls for corsets and accustomed makeup, additionally appulse how she chooses to presents herself. Accepting to dress according to akin norms has prompted her to accomplish adventurous choices aback she’s off the clock, she shared.
“In aeon dramas, there are so abounding restrictions on women and the way we were accustomed to be and look, and I anticipate as Black women, we internalize so abounding of those rules about what colors we can and can’t abrasion and how you charge to attending able and all of these things,” she told People. “So it’s been a absolutely admirable allurement to breach those appropriateness backroom and aloof absolutely shine.”
Benton’s new angle on adorableness coincides with a addition in her confidence. “I’m starting to feel added admirable now than I anytime have, and I anticipate it aloof has a lot to do with maturing,” explained Benton in the interview. “The added I’m acceptable myself, advancing into my queerness, advancing into altered genitalia of myself…the added it’s like, I can array of feel admirable in any amplitude and accept a lot added adventuresomeness to attending the way I appetite to.”
If Benton could go aback and acquaint her boyish cocky anything, she told People she’d say “she looks absolutely as she needs to look,” abacus “that you will abound out of Eurocentric adorableness standards airless you and apprehend that actuality Black and admirable is the best affair ever.”
Here’s to all-embracing what makes you different — and if you charge a aplomb boost, alert to “I Am Not My Hair” is a abundant abode to start.