e asked our Shareefa J to give us a little insight to her life as a black curve model with an afro in the modeling the industry.
I am 28 years old and I have worked as a model since I was 21. I’m sorry to say my career has been filled with many roadblocks relating to my afro and the shape of my body. My hair has been the cause for most of my issues. Clients have told me my hair is too ethnic, difficult to work with, dry, scraggly and the list goes on. I’ve spent most of my career fighting with my former agent to let me wear my hair naturally, the response was always “ without the wig you aren’t ethnically ambiguous enough to sell products.” This continued up until 2018, but when the movie Black Panther was released suddenly it was trendy to have an afro.
Then there was my body: my boobs weren’t big enough for a curve model, so extensive padding was required for me to work for the majority of mainstream brands. Apparently all curvy women have hour glass figures with flat tummies… ridiculous. I finally called BS on my former agent just after they suggested I get a boob job. Despite this, I love my work as a model and the journey to loving my appearance was no easy feat, however I’m proud to say over the years I’ve stood up for what I believe in and despite a wig here and there, I’ve always remained unedited and natural.
I believe young women need to know that they are beautiful without fakery, surgery and a diet full of juice cleanses and slimming tea. One of my favorite sayings is “be the change you want to see in the world.” Over the years I’ve lost many opportunities to work with huge brands because I don’t agree with their aesthetic, yet I have no regrets about that. I hope that women everywhere can embrace their natural beauty and love themselves, rolls, cellulite, natural hair and all!
To see more of Shareefa and to follow her journey, say hello on instagram @shareefa_j