Issa Rae’s hair deserves all the praise. The color is nonstop vibrant, curls are always popping and standout styles are never in short supply. We’ve spent most of 2016 obsessing over the Insecure star’s many red carpet looks and almost forgot that she once had zero locks atop her head.
Reflecting on her decision to do the big chop a couple years ago, Issa called it one of the most “freeing things” she’s ever done, in an essay penned for the Snapchat Discover publication Sweet.
“I needed to do it because I had so many different hair textures going on, and I wanted a fresh start,” she wrote.
“I toyed with the idea of doing it, and then I posted ‘I’m thinking about cutting off my hair’ on Facebook. A bunch of my friends [commented] like, ‘oh my God, do it,’ or ‘no, you’re about to be so ugly,’ or ‘what if you have a weirdly shaped head?’ There was so much interest, and so many responses. I was like, ‘Oh, my friends are sh*tty, but this is interesting.’
After realizing she could work her new look into a plotline for the Awkward Black Girl web series, Issa took the plunge and quickly realized that by letting go of each strand, she was also liberated from the insecurity it carried.
“I thought about the absurdity of hair,” she continued. “I felt like I was viewed differently after I cut my hair. People look at you like you’re more confident when you have a bald head—like you have the audacity to be able to walk around like that.”
Although she’s since decided to grow out her hair again, the TV writer and actress has adopted a healthier hair routine, citing products like Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Masque ($11, target.com) and Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Gel ($13, walmart.com) as some of her favorites.
Click here to see her hottest hair moments to date.