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"Some people like it; some people hate it. I don't care either way," the Tony Award-winning actress told ESSENCE

Apr, 28, 2017

Cynthia Erivo is literally living her best life. Fresh off a Tony and Grammy Award-winning run in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, the singer and actress shows no signs of slowing down.

Besides an upcoming role in the Steve McQueen-directed film Widows, the 30-year-old is also set to portray Harriet Tubman and flex her singing chops for the highly-anticipated documentary, Step.

It's hard to believe that someone with such a jam-packed schedule would have time for well, anything, but make no mistake; Erivo is determined to savor her well-deserved success and empower others to live with the same confidence that got her to this point. 

"If I am not confident enough in myself, to put myself on stage, nobody else is going to be," she said during a visit to ESSENCE. "I have a duty to make sure people are confident and comfortable when they see me. If I don't feel that way within, nobody else can do that."

Naturally, Erivo's philosophy has extended to other parts of her life, including a recent transition to blonde hair. You may have seen the Tony winner living it up on the red carpet in platinum blonde coils, which she's styled into everything from fingerwaves to an afro. The choice to take on such a bold look was a deliberate one for Erivo, who remains unbothered by any of the commentary around it. 

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"Some people like it; some people hate it. I don't care either way. I did it because I really wanted people to see my face. The thing about me and having dark hair is I felt like I was hiding and the white hair feels like a light bulb," she told ESSENCE. "You can't miss me. I just stopped being afraid of my face. My hair was really long and I just want to spend less time doing it and have you see my face. Never want to hide behind hair. It's fun and easy to dress."

The new 'do, kept in place with bi-monthly color touch-ups and go-to products like Miss Jessie's Leave-In Condish, is hardly a barometer for Erivo's blackness, but as expected, there are those who equate "wokeness" with hair color

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"I'll tell them to look at Aborigines in Australia who have beautiful, naturally blonde. hair. I'll tell them to look at my cousin who is a redhead. And I'll tell them that hair color isn't pigment," Erivo told ESSENCE when asked about the backlash against Black women who go blonde.

"And what about the White women who go and get a jheri curl and dye their hair black? Hair dye is hair dye. My hair still grows in black at the root and I don't run to the hairdresser when it happens. I don't feel like me having blonde hair stops me from wanting to encourage Black women. I'm very happy being Black. It's something I'm very proud of, and specifically being Nigerian, I couldn't run away from it if I tried."

If ever you needed motivation to live unapologetically, this is it. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Cynthia's most recent hair slays here.