Today we continue our Panache giveaway-inspired series about how to stand out.

As for standing out, my hair does most of that for me. My hair is extremely coarse, thick, and curly (3b texture), and it is mega poufy even with meticulous care, just through being itself. I’ve had complete strangers pet me, yank at individual strands to see if my hair is real, and even interrogate me about my race, because I’m very pale but with hair typically seen on people of African descent. All without permission, of course.

katherine curly hair

When I was younger, I was miserable because of my hair and the attention it got. I normally would yank my hair back in a vain attempt to contain the curls; on the rare occasion I left it down, my technical theater director referred to this as “letting my freak flag fly,” that by embracing my hair I was letting some of my personality shine through. I was often bullied in school for my hair, so my director’s words were empty to me at that time.

My feelings of misery from standing out began to change when I found an online community of other ‘curlies.’ Their hair-care tips and support helped me feel like less of an oddity, and I began to enjoy what makes my appearance unique. I think more about the positives now, like that I probably won’t ever go bald, and that I’m very easy to find in a crowd. It has been a really difficult journey for me, but I’d encourage everyone to fly their own personal “freak flag” in an effort to love who they are.