I have always been mesmerized by the beautiful African Top Model Maria Borges. This Angolan beauty is changing the way black women should be portrayed in the global fashion industry and doing so with her natural short hair, which by the way is tres fabulous. She recently sat down with style.com Janelle Okwodu to share why she is going to let her natural beauty shine. Enjoy reading!!!
“Black models embracing their natural hair texture has been one of the season’s key beauty talking points. With the rise of new faces like Lineisy Montero and Karly Loyce, the conversation has been largely focused on models who have always worn their hair natural—but what is it like to make the switch from lengthy extensions to short ’fro? When Angolan stunner Maria Borges first arrived on the scene, she sported the long, pin-straight extensions favored by many top models, but a conversation with Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci changed all that. “He asked me to change my hairstyle,” Borges tells Style.com. “He had asked me last season as well, but I had booked an H&M campaign that same week and at the time I wasn’t feeling as comfortable with change. This season I finally felt ready, and I’m glad that I did.”
Removing her extensions and cutting her hair before Givenchy’s Fall 2015 show, Borges debuted the new look on the runway, prompting surprising responses from her friends within the industry. “They didn’t recognize me at all,” says Borges. “There were people asking backstage, ‘Who is that new girl?’ which I thought was hilarious.” Sporting the show’s intricate facial jewelry and a crimson Tisci gown, Borges says the move to shorter hair gave her a renewed confidence on and off the runway. “I feel like I’ve proved that I can be beautiful with or without the hair. Since I’ve gone natural, I feel younger and fresher. With my short hair I don’t feel like I need makeup—maybe I’ll use a little foundation, but I’ll skip blush or lipstick. When it comes to clothes, I gravitate toward styles that are cooler, more minimal.”
The shift has had an impact on Borges’ career, as well. Thanks to the versatility her hair gives her, she feels she appeals to an even broader range of clients. “If I have a job to do where they need me to have longer hair, they can put extensions in for that shoot, and then I can take them out afterward. For the most part, I feel like my natural hair makes me look even more high fashion.” Given that Borges was already a regular on the catwalk for Givenchy and Dior, her fashion cred was never in doubt, but she appreciates that she’ll be able to model without the artifice. “The industry—thank God—has become more accepting of individuality. They accept whatever makes you feel comfortable, cool, and beautiful. I think that for those of us who grew up watching Naomi Campbell and all the top models who had beautiful long extensions, it’s freeing because now you don’t have to adhere just to that standard. You can change, you can go natural, you can have different colors, and you can be yourself.”