Hair Issues: Getting Called Into the Office

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It was bound to happen sooner or later.  As a result of some hair issues, I got called into the office.  Let me explain…

I’ve been trying to limit the amount of heat I put on my hair.  Since committing to going natural, I want to stick with a more healthier approach.  But my job as a weather anchor could make that a bit difficult.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there are rules with regards to hairstyles for TV.  Every station is different.  The bosses are flexible when it comes to length, and have been known to give reporters who sport curly hair a break once in a while.  But, shoulder length straight hair is the accepted look at the station I work for.  

The other day I wanted to change things up a bit, so I rocked a side ponytail.  I was pleasantly surprised when my boss told me she loved it!  “I’m on to something here,” I thought.  Fast forward a couple days later and she had a complete about face with this look.

To help with my thinning hair I decided to pin the sides.  I thought it looked mad cute.  But, I was told that it doesn’t look good, and that my hair too long.  I explained that I’m suffering from hair loss, and the reasoning behind the style was to avoid curling my hair.  She seemed very sympathetic and encouraged me to feel free to discuss my situation anytime.  I was grateful for the reassurance.  In fact,  I appreciated it so much that I went on to tell her that I’m growing my hair out.  “Do you know what that means,” I asked.  She responded that she has “black friends” and proceeded to tell me about a former New York City anchor, Melva Tolliver, the first black woman to ever rock natural curls.  She googled a recent picture of the former anchor and said, “she’s gone wild!”  Apparently, her more recent naturally gray curly tresses were a departure from the small afro from back in the day.

I won’t say anymore about that statement.  As an on-air personality looking to take that natural leap, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to tell boss lady about my master plan.  During the transitioning process I would like to continue wearing different styles to give me hair a break.  She responded that we’ll have to take it case by case, which is cool with me.  I also mentioned that once natural, I’ll stick with straight styles.  But, there may be days in which I may want to go with curls.

The response was that company policy doesn’t allow for talents to constantly change their look which seems fair.  “But what if I just rock it natural?  Would that be okay?”  Apparently not.  Naturally curly hair is “too casual.”

So, I’ve got a lot to think about.  I don’t plan on giving up on transitioning.  But, I may have to get ‘wiggy wit it.’  After our chat, I decided to change my hair to my normal style.

Some may view this as giving in.  I’m willing to bite the bullet on this one.  I know it’ll be a bumpy ride ahead, as present more style options.  In the meantime, I shared with her this youtube link.  Who knows?  We may be on to something good.

Do you ever struggle with having to maintain a certain kind of look for a job?

Weather Anchor Mama

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow this is powerful. I can definitely see two sides here and I think regardless of race there are definite standards in your industry (even with anchors not having regional accents I’ve noticed), and it seems like from this post and others you totally knew that going into it. I don’t think it’s a clear white/black issue as I’ve seen white women with curls rivaling black women.

    Anyway, I know the Law and Order actress S. Epatha Merkerson rocks wigs too for her show and wears natural out and about (my family and I bumped into her a couple years ago at Make My Cake in Harlem where she lives and she didn’t have a wig on) so that does sound like a viable option.

    Good luck!

  2. says

    LOL @ gettin’ “wiggy wit’ it,” but it seems like the right option. If the choices are spending money and damage your hair vs. spending money on a natural-looking wig, sounds like the second one is the better long-term answer.

    I think I need to watch Chris Rock’s movie “Good Hair” so I can get a better understanding of this! For the sake of my daughter’s hair!

  3. says

    Wow… I think it’s great you were able to speak to your boss about your hair. And I absolutely loved the link for the news segment. It must feel good to have an idea of where the powers that be stand regarding changes in your appearance, but more importantly, they now know where you stand, too. Best of luck!

  4. says

    I don’t get this…the hair you are born with is too casual? I can see the not constantly changing looks though.

  5. Anonymous says

    Wow, i’m not sure how you were not completely offended by the situation?! I guess that’s the norm in your line of work. Goodluck with your hair journey!

  6. says

    LOL– I totally understand!! I’ve been called into the office before too.. I thought about rocking a wig on air!! :) Consider it?? The price we pay for being on tv. lol

  7. says

    Wow!! I’ve been called into the office myself and I am NOT on TV. I’m an addicted wiggy and I will admit at times I do go a little (ok a lot) too far to the left. I’m also guilty of switching up drastically. I’ll wear a straight long wig today and come in tomorrow short and curly. The looks are priceless!!

  8. says

    I first want to start off by saying that you have definitely been an inspiration for me through my school years as I study to pursue a career as a broadcast meteorologist here in NYC. :-)It’s extremely rare to see women of color giving the weather forecast much less a woman with natural hair.

    I’ve been natural for about 5 1/2 years and it has certainly been an interesting journey. One of the issues that’s always at the back of my mind is how I would be able to remain natural while being on television. I have no idea how the possibility of using a wig never came up. After seeing how simple of a solution a wig is and how natural your wig looks, I feel that’s the perfect option especially since it doesn’t compromise your individuality. No sacrifice of self and no worries of a bad hair day. LOL

  9. says

    I work in television as a host and am transitioning to natural hair. I have been called into producers office many times! I have also had to update my headshots with every new phase until I decided to just invest in a wig. I use lace fronts and they are a very great alternative style!

    When I do production when I have to look younger or be sexier then I put on my long one with highlights. When I have to appeal to the masses and middle America I go with something more conservative.

    Your post really hits home and I appreciate how you handled the delicate situation with your boss and when you retold it to us. I enjoy your blog very much!

  10. says

    Thanks Athena! Since writing this post, I got a wig! It’s the best thing ever. My hair gets a much needed break, and I can rock whatever style I want on the weekends.

  11. says

    Team Jacob, if you are not a black woman with black hair, you will never get it. Lol..the thing is, even though we were born with this hair, it is still difficult hair at times which is why years ago we all relaxed our hair so that we dould accomplish a more controlled and less kinky/curly look. I do not believe we did those things to conform to white hair/asian hair/indian hair, I believe we did it because it made our hair more manageable, easier to comb thru, and gave it a silky and luxiourious look. So yes, the hair that we were born with is not necessarily a preferred look among ourselves or among others.

  12. says

    Really? That strict? One of the perks of working from home: no hair code + no dress code. :)
    Happy SITS Day! :)

  13. says

    I have super-curly hair that is a beast to manage. I generally need to straighten it. I work as a teacher, and so it’s not too big of a deal. I can’t imagine what it’d be like if I was an on-air TV personality!

  14. says

    That seems so strict, but I guess if you’re on air they have to make a few rules. I personally think you look awesome with the side ponytail. And, honestly, I think you look great no matter how you wear your hair. Boo to rules!

  15. says

    It’s amazing how something that seems so minor is not. I recently decided to stop dying my hair and let my early grey hair grow in. The chemicals were hard on my scalp, plus it was so much work to keep up. I still need to update my blog pictures.

    It’s wonderful that you have decided to go with the healthier solution.

  16. says

    Interesting video! I love your “normal” style and think you look great! I think women are so pressured to look a certain way. Where I live, we have lots of women who get plastic surgery. Loved your post & happy SITS Day!

  17. says

    Hair is such a personal thing. My hair is thin, too thin and it’s a family trait. I finally went with a wig. I love it. In fact, I think my real hair is getting thicker. Maybe I was doing too much to it to try and cover the thin scalp spots.

    We do have a dress code and it is different from school to school. It can be a pain. Our staff was once told we dressed too cheap. I said that I would love to shop at the better stores but they’d have to pay me more, first.

    Enjoy your SITS Day and if you get a wig for work, make sure you love it.

  18. says

    Happy SITS Day!
    How crazy, I never realised companies could put this sort of pressure on to people, sounds like being back at school – however I kind of understand as you’re a face of their company.
    I have to say you have beautiful hair, you can’t even tell that you’re thinning.
    Enjoyed reading this post, thanks for sharing.
    Kez X
    http://anormalgirlsreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

  19. says

    Wow, I never realized that there was such a restriction on your hair style as a TV anchor. I knew there was a lot on appearance but I thought that meant no purple streaks in your hair, no jeans, business attire and that kind of thing. I wasn’t aware that having curly hair or straight hair was so offensive.

    As ignorant as it seems Oprah was the first person that came to mind when I thought of black women in the media. Oprah changes her hair all the time and I don’t think that has hurt her TV ratings at all.

  20. says

    See, this is why I work for myself. There is nobody who can tell me not to rock my natural curls. By the way, you hair looks beautiful. :-)

  21. says

    I never noticed until you said it but almost all news anchors DO have long straight hair!! How interesting that that is the “good” look to have according to the powers that be at the news station.
    I have many African American friends who are now going all-natural and I think they are beautiful!!
    I’m not sure I would tolerate being in a job that controlled the way I look. There are plenty of them out there though!

  22. says

    Oops. Typos. What an education you have given me. I am so impressed by your great attitude. You understand your boss’s point of view and don’t seem to be having a pity party for your own hair loss. You are a strong woman!

  23. says

    I think the hair style looked cute! Pshhhh, who cares what she thinks. Why are you losing hair? Is it the hormones from having a child?

  24. says

    Wow! I’ve never had to think about my hair style when it came to my chosen career. I would have a terrible time as I am a naturally curly gal! I’m glad to see you are staying so positive. Keep it up girl!

    Happy SITS Day!

  25. says

    I really enjoyed your post, and didn’t realize how restrictive stations can be in what they require of their on-air folks’ appearance. You are beautiful, and I love your hair. Happy SITS Day! :)

  26. says

    Hey, I know you!!!! I mean not personally just used to watch you on FOX 5 – on Good Day NY – one of my favorite morning news shows.

    Happy SITS day! It’s so much you don’t know about companies. Never knew that they would be strict on hairstyles. I mean it makes sense, you are representing a TV station. I remember being a receptionist, they wouldn’t let me do anything too crazy or “unique” to my hair as they put it. The clients were big money people who insure their jewelry and so one look at the front desk and her crazy hair, would have them leaving. So I either had it straight or in a bun. How boring!!!

  27. says

    I never knew how crazy it was! It would be hard for me not to take it as a rejection that my “natural” hair in it’s natural state is not desirable nor acceptable. Good thing you are thicker skinned than me! I have naturally curly hair that I straightened for years. Now I have a little girl who has beautiful ringlets and she wants me to straighten her hair to be like me. I’m rethinking my whole hair-idea. I want her to be happy with the beautiful hair God gave her. Unfortunately, it seems I’ve straightened my hair so long that it is no longer really curly. It’s just wavy & not all that pretty, at that!

  28. says

    Well you’re gorgeous, and clearly any look would be fabulous on you. However, I am a little shocked. I know nothing about TV so I didn’t realize there were policies in place about such things as hair…well, now I know. But really, you are beautiful, and I bet the side pony was super cute!

  29. says

    You are lovely–it’s tough on the hair though, being on TV! My anchorwomen friends also suffer from hair loss due to dieting and torturing their ‘do’s. Their solution? Contact a fab wig person (Donald Trump’s guy in NYC is supposed to be great :)

  30. says

    Stopped by because I saw this post on your SITS page. That’s so crazy that you’re not allowed to change your hair! I understand saying, “Don’t drastically change your appearance”, but having to maintain a certain hairdo at all times on -air? :( So sorry hunny, that seems so unfair and unreasonable. I suppose if you have to get a wig you can, but I still think this is outrageous. Much love and support!!

  31. says

    Great post. And what a tough one. I work as a school administrator and we have the same issues. I’d love to put red highlights in my hair–but I can’t, it’s not a “natural” color. I always tell kids that I’m working with–you think when you grow up you’ll be able to do whatever you want–but……there’s always a boss. Always.

  32. says

    I didn’t know the policies would be so strict about natural hair. I’m also transitioning and am starting to pursue acting, I may have to explore what route to go for headshots and auditions to prevent over-heating. Glad to find your blog through SITS!

  33. says

    Wow! These are all issues i would have never even talked with my boss about! I guess its one thing i don’t think about being someone who is not in front of a camera all the time! Hair can be such a challenge without all the over styling, products, etc! I wish you luck! Hopefully it will be a smooth transition! No pun intended!

    -Simone

  34. says

    That’s great Julene. congrats on your transition! I know it can be challenging being in showbiz with natural hair. The great thing is that I’m seeing more and more naturals in commercials, shows, and movies. Good luck!

  35. says

    When I got my first job in the field I went to school in I thought oK, now I get to wear my work attire. In a very small, family owned business, I was shocked by how casual it was. Most days I am in jeans and a tshirt and I have even come to work in my work out gear, when I used to workout right after work. I have been trying to break myself out of it though, I like to dress up and if I have the clothes why not do it right?

    I don’t think you’ve given in, this is your job, the source of income, why jeopardize that? Like you said you may be on to something, perhaps it will revolutionize the way TV personalities are viewed or maybe this journey will lead you to a new path you never even thought of. Best of luck!

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