Why Empire’s Grace Gealey Is Team #ShortHairDon’tCare
Michael Rowe

Grace Gealey, who plays Anika Calhoun aka “Boo Boo Kitty” on Empire, depicts a no-nonsense boss. Whether plotting against Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) or trying to one up Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) she manages to maintain her short haircut with class. Here, she explains why she started wearing short, sexy hair and how she maintains her glowing skin.

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ESSENCE: Your haircut is so fly on Empire. Did you make a conscious effort to cut it short or have you always been a short-haired girl?

Grace Gealey: I used to have really long hair. It was a big ‘fro with mad curls. When I moved to California for school, my skin wasn’t used to the lack of humidity. And even though I’m light-skinned, I scar like someone of a darker complexion. I was a light-skinned girl with all these dark scars on her face; I was embarrassed. I would hide behind my hair and it got to the point where I was so insecure, that I said, ‘You know what Grace? You have to deal with this. You have to understand that you’re still beautiful no matter what.’ In 2008 I chopped my hair off and started using new skin products that actually worked. It was a healing process.

ESSENCE: And you’ve worn short hair ever since?

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GG: Yes! I’ve been short ever since.

ESSENCE: Do you think you’ll ever go back to wearing your hair long?

GG: Well, I tried it. And it got to shoulder length and I was like, ‘Naw, that’s not me anymore.’ I do miss my hair because I used to do so much stuff with it, but I do like different levels of short. I had a super short pixie before and I loved it.

ESSENCE: What’s your skin regimen like now?

GG: I am very disciplined with my skin—I tone and I moisturize my skin twice a day. I also exfoliate and I try to get a facial like once every two months. I find that when I put too much makeup on or I use a certain brand, my skin will break out. I tend to gravitate towards water-based foundations because my skin absorbs them a little better and it doesn’t break out as much. I use Hourglass Mineral Veil. It’s so amazing. But overall, [I apply] minimal makeup whenever I can.