The beauty of hair – sleek and straight, luscious curls, braids, waves, or a perfect pony, the choice is all yours! They don’t call our hair our “crowning glory” for nothing. As I’m sure you know a bad hair day usually equates to a bad mood day, a bad attitude day, and an all-around bad energy day. On the flip side, a good hair day can be all the motivation a girl needs to be unstoppable! Who understands the power of hair better than three champion athletes who would never compromise their style when it comes to their athleticism? As a matter of fact, when it comes to winning, their hair is all the magic they need to secure a gameday crown.
Jamaican Olympian, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, known for dominating on the track as the most decorated 100m sprinter of all time, believes her hair is her superpower. “I’m an island girl so you’re always going to see some color,” she said. “It’s like putting on a superhero costume, it’s an alter ego when I’m on the track with a colorful cape of hair. My hair says a lot about me; it’s a reflection of how I’m feeling or where I am in the world. When you look good it’s easier to focus on doing good.”
Style aside, while being bold and beautiful, you need to be mindful that your hairdo doesn’t quickly become a hair “don’t” by using harsh styling products on your hair and scalp. For example, a hair “do” is using a leave-in conditioner that provides moisture to prevent damage, and detangle hair, for maximum results and a carefree style. “I regularly protect my scalp and hair between washes. Curls tangle much quicker, so using a detangler and combing gently is necessary,” Wellness Coach and Amateur Boxer, Monica Jones said.
As a woman, with your own standards of beauty, how you choose to present, even in the male-dominated world of sports, is up to you. In other words, “You can show‘em, better than you can tell‘em,” Jones said. “People often associate sport with masculine energy or tomboys, assuming we (as female athletes) don’t care about how our hair looks. Sports have historically been so male-dominated that hair just wasn’t a form of the athlete’s expression and style. Once women began expressing themselves and allowing their hair to truly be seen, it offered a new topic and element to the world of sports. I know tons of women athletes, including myself who love their hair, love to style it differently and to express their personal style with hair,” Jones added.
But hair is about so much more than hair and scalp, it goes deeper. It can be the voice women need to be seen and heard. That often-muted voice is even more so when it comes to women of color, who have been met with resistance when it comes to their personal hair decisions. They are often regulated by hair rules and restrictions, that are not in their favor, this holds especially true when it comes to women in sports. “I think any female athlete of color who ventures outside of the norm with their hair is going to get attention; especially when you’re of a certain stature. I mean with all that Black girl magic it’s hard to ignore how we show up to perform — sometimes making history along the way,” Fraser-Pryce said.
To be told how to wear your hair is to malign a woman’s personal power, but with supportive legislative bills prohibiting discrimination based on hair style or texture, women of color are feeling liberated in expressing their true beauty and strength without judgment. Mainstream media and hair care brands are moving in a positive direction as well, by empowering women with diverse beauty ad images and products that support textured hair.
As a former Division 1 basketball player, turned host, and sports analyst, CEO of Purpose To Be Heard, Nia Symone, understands the importance of owning your hair in sports. “Hair is a powerful form of self-expression for athletes. Athletes wear uniforms when competing, but hair is the one thing that we have control over, so how we choose to wear it should be up to us,” Symone said.
Remember the love starts with your scalp, so keep it healthy and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful hair to do with as you, please. So, whether in the game or not, a healthy scalp that supports winning hair says, I’m bold, courageous, powerful, beautiful, and unapologetically me. It is the key to being an empowered confident woman. “I’m a believer that confidence comes from keeping promises, and as I’ve honored my promise to make time and care for myself, it’s vastly boosted my inner confidence and enthusiasm to be seen,” Jones said.