LOTS OF LOCKS Amber Hill styles senior Sarai Cornejo’s hair during a break
by Amber Hill
Hair. It defines every female student. Especially at a small urban high school. Just look around McClymonds. Students are into their hair. There’s everything from singles, weaves, press, flat iron to French braids.
People like to copy their hairstyles after those of celebrities. Walk down the hall, you’ll see someone with the same wild hairstyle as Beyoncé. Turn a corner and it’ll be Nicki Minaj’s China bangs and colorful weave.
At a small high school like ours, hair has even more significance. People notice every little change in appearance, every “hair out of place.” “We notice more about each other because we see all the same people all the time,” says Ciana Augustine, a junior at Mack. “Our school isn’t like Tech or O’High where you cross someone walking down the hall maybe once a week.”
Hair is also a way to express the type of person you are without speaking. As Asia Hill, a junior at Mack, notes, “If you walk around with a ghetto hairstyle, that is what people will think you are. You want to look presentable, not like you’re walking in from a circus.”’
What sets me apart at this school is that I have my own style. I wear more hairstyles — a Mohawk, an Afro, even flat-ironed hair– that you will never catch someone else wearing. Until they try to copy me.
The majority of the girls don’t have their own style when it comes down to hair. I feel that they could be a little more original.
In 2008, I came to school with a hairstyle that no one at Mack had worn before. Weeks later, another female student, a stranger to me, came to school with the same hairstyle I had worn. The only problem was, she had a weave when I was wearing my real hair. There was a huge difference between our hairstyles.
There are many ways in which girls learn to “do” hair. Some people have family members teach them: they sit around and do their sisters’ hair, just like they once practiced on Barbie dolls. Working on people is a lot harder: Barbie’s hair was thin and flat and easy to style. Real hair, thick hair, can get scabbed, cut badly, poked with needles and even burned. I’ve seen it all: burns from leaving a perm in too long or dipping the ends of a braid; cuts when someone takes a sewn weave out of your hair a little too violently. Because of these risks, some girls prefer to go to the hair shop and pay $25 to $100 to have their hair permed or braided or flattened or curled.
I know about hair from my work as a paid stylist. It’s given me a new outlook on people, an appreciation for originality, and self-confidence.