Hair Stories: (Ian)

Photography by Joana Meurkens, Interview by Carolina Meurkens

In a society that values whiteness and one’s ability to approximate it, hair can be a battleground. In Hair Stories, we wrestle with what it means to love yourself through your relationship with hair and others’ perception of it. Through interviews with our editors, contributors and community members, we journey through what beauty means in different cultures and the narratives woven into our locs. Where do our hair preferences and grievances come from? What does our hair tell us about our family history, our culture, our people? In this series, we interview and photograph people from different diasporas, to get the root of their hair story. We ask them; what does your hair symbolize to you? 

In this installation of “Hair Stories”, we interviewed New York native and curly hair dreamboat Ian Deane. Ian (they/he) is a triple threat actor studying Musical Theater at Texas State University. His artistry seeks to highlight stories that speak to social change and challenge audiences. When he’s not acting, Ian can be found writing/ producing music or taking long bike rides. In his hair story, Ian opens up about learning to love and maintain his curl pattern, his go to hair products, and celebration of individuality through hair.

I am Black, Puerto Rican and Irish. Among my family, and most of the Afro-Latino community, I feel like textured hair is seen as something super unique and beautiful! There are so many different textures and curl patterns, and curly hair can really have a mind of its own, so I feel like the beauty and individuality of that is celebrated more often than not, especially more recently.

For the first 17 years of my life I had literally no idea what to do with my hair. Styling it was super hard for me, and I also didn’t understand or appreciate the beauty of my hair for a while. After I turned 17, my mom started helping me with understanding my hair and figuring out ways to style and care for it.

My go to hair products are Tresemme Botanique Coconut Nourish conditioner, Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in, Eco Styler Olive Oil gel ALL THE WAY. I diffuse for however long it takes until it’s completely (or mostly) dry, depending on how much time I have. I swear by this. I’m never going back EVER.

I have felt both discriminated against and experienced privilege because of my hair type. h. When I had no idea how to care for my hair, I felt judged by people with curly hair who thought I looked like a mess, and by non-curly haired people who also thought I looked like a mess. Also shout out to my professor who said my hair looked like a rats nest when it was wet after dance class one time. But I have also felt very privileged because of my hair type. Because my hair isn’t very kinky, and because racism is a thing, I feel like I’ve been given passes and have had my appearance celebrated by people who might not have done that had my hair texture been different.

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