NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Tanya Wright attends 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' Logo TV Premiere Party & Screening at Paramount Screening Room at the Viacom Building on October 16, 2014 in New York City.
John Lamparski/WireImage

“Our hair is the only part we can cut off, grow back, tease, color, curl and straighten. The only thing we can manipulate at will to tell the world who we are.”

Toni Akindele
Jun, 02, 2016

For Orange is the New Black actress, Tanya Wright, the answer to all was in her hair.

In an essay Wright penned in the Huffington Post, she explains how a life tragedy changed her perspective on her life… and hair.

After the loss of her brother, Wright had also lost her savings, her home and her car.

“In 2010, I began to think about rebuilding my life. The world seemed new, different. I wanted to start fresh. I was out walking my pooch, Macarena, whom I had gotten a year after my brother’s death and had the overwhelming feeling that if ‘I could get control over my hair, I could get control over my life.’ The answer to it all was in my hair,” Wright wrote.’’

Inspired by YouTube videos of women with her hair texture, Wright also wanted to add her voice to the dialogue and share her own hair, and life, journey.

“As I started to cultivate a more loving relationship with my hair, I realized those curly coils atop my head were teaching me a lot about patience. Elasticity. That shedding (which is natural, we shed skin and hair daily) is an integral part of the ‘letting go’ process to make a way for the new,” Wright shares. “Our hair is the only part we can cut off, grow back, tease, color, curl and straighten. The only thing we can manipulate at will to tell the world who we are.”

With a busy career as an actress playing Crystal Burset, the wife of transgender inmate Sophia Burset (played by Laverne Cox), life for Wright, can get overwhelming.

“My life sometimes feels more out of control than ever. At the same time, I know that the opposite is also true: That I am the captain of my ship; I am the master of my fate. Life is a healthy balance between these two ideas. And I would never have known that if it were not for my hair,” Wright acknowledges.

Embracing her natural curls has helped Wright embrace the chaos that life can bring and has helped her to find direction.

Read her entire essay here.

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