Welcome to Lace Frontier, a cavalcade about the apple of wigs, the players in it, and how wig ability is evolving. This month, biographer Sharine Taylor speaks to Angelica Ross on how her wigs — and her accustomed beard — empower her as a woman.
Keeping up with Angelica Ross is no accessible feat. Aloof aftermost year, she captivated up her role as Candy on the critically-acclaimed hit actualization Pose and started her new role as Donna Chambers on American Horror Story. All that is alfresco of gracing runways, accession awards, and actuality featured in Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2020 campaign. Ms. Ross is appointed and busy, honey, so it’s alone adapted that she has an all-encompassing archive of looks to accept from aback she’s alleged to accomplish an appearance.
Through her activity adventures — from activity to adorableness academy to actuality a annoyance aerialist — Ross has abstruse a affair or two about the allotment aspect of beard in particular. Booty the above attack with Louis Vuitton, for instance. Upon accession on set, she was presented with a alternative of wigs as options but advocated to abrasion her accustomed hair. “I sat bottomward and Duffy, who was my hairstylist, had a brace of wigs to the side. He was like, ‘I accept these wigs over actuality [that] accept that pattern,’ and I said, ‘What do you anticipate about me cutting my own hair?’ He was like, ‘let me ask the artistic [team]’,” she tells Allure. “He was gone for a additional — ‘Yes, they adulation it. Let’s go for it.'” As Duffy styled her hair, he asked Ross actually what she was cerebration of accomplishing with it. “Let’s aloof ‘fro it out as big as it can go.” And the blow is history.
But admitting Angelica acutely loves her abundant kinks, [gently acrimonious and fluffing them until they blossom out into the heavens, she’s additionally a wig lover. The amateur consistently switches amid proudly cutting her accustomed beard and arena with hairpieces of all textures. Because if Ms. Ross is anything, she’s versatile.
ALLURE: Above aesthetics, what does beard beggarly to you?
ANGELICA ROSS: My beard is an addendum of myself in the faculty that I acclimated to anticipate that my beard authentic me as a woman, and abnormally as a auto woman, I aloof did not accede a activity after wigs and extensions. But aback I went accustomed and did the big chop, I was able to chronicle with so abounding added women, who weren’t aloof disturbing with their beard growing back, but saying, “actually, I don’t appetite my beard to abound anymore above this and I attending and feel beautiful.” I challenged myself as my beard was growing aback to consistently reflect that I’m admirable at whatever date my beard is [in]. It’s this affair about actuality able to abrasion your attending and not accept your attending abrasion you.
ALLURE: In an account you did a few years ago, you mentioned you acclimated to do annoyance shows and aggregate that administration your beard was a agency for you to acquisition your womanhood.
AR: I don’t apperceive if I appetite to say sad, but it’s about like I feel a accident aback I anticipate about RuPaul’s Annoyance Race. I anticipate about all the girls like myself, Silkie Munro, and all of the girls who grew up with [drag culture] who acid ourselves through it by actuality performers. [We were] absolved by our own association because we [were] somehow “not alive that hard” because we’re enhanced, accept had surgeries, alive as women, or whatever the case is. We still are artists, admirable artists.
I acclimated to assignment at this bar alleged The Kit Kat Lounge in Chicago. I got in at seven and got off at 2 a.m. I would accept to be out of the bathrobe allowance every 15 account in amid anniversary achievement accomplishing a cardinal to the advanced of the restaurant, again accomplishing a cardinal to the back. Accomplishing that abounding costume, makeup, and beard changes, it got me to apprentice so abundant about my womanhood. The best affair we can do is apprentice that aggregate abroad is an accessory. You are the star. Nothing abroad can flash brighter than you can. You can comedy with these things, but you don’t charge to be authentic by them.
I anticipation that I could never comedy with albino hair, but let me acquaint you, César DeLeön Ramirêz is a god aback it comes to hair. Period. He has fabricated me albino alert and I about fell out anniversary time. The aboriginal time was for the 2018 Marco Marco appearance show. I had a albino Afro, and I anticipation it was beautiful. It was gorgeous. Again for the Emmys this accomplished year, he fabricated this awful continued ponytail for me and had the wisps advancing out of the front. He aloof sprayed some albino in it, put some albino pieces in the front. The way he put that abracadabra in there and fabricated it attending like I was albino from my scalp? Baby, I was through!
ALLURE: You afresh did the big chop. You mentioned that you didn’t accede activity as a auto woman after wigs. Now, you’re killing this brownie cut. What were your wig-wearing habits aback again and what has afflicted since?
AR: Synthetic wigs were my best acquaintance aback in the day. It’s all I could afford. In the beginning, it was a lot of avalanche [extensions], drawstring ponytails, and quick weaves. After activity through cosmetology school, I abstruse agency in which I could accumulate my beard advantageous and booty risks. But aback in the day, you would not bolt me after a wig or some affectionate of extensions. I wasn’t assured abundant in my womanhood, which was actuality surveilled alone all the time. But now not alone do I not charge them, I don’t actually affliction if you alarm me or not. I apperceive I’m blessed.
ALLURE: Do you anticipate that beard or hairstyles can be political? Has it been for you?
AR: Oh, absolutely. Aback I was cat-and-mouse tables aback in the day, I bethink accepting dejected beard alloyed into my cornrows and actuality told that I’d accept to booty them out because that was “ghetto,” or I’d be fired. But again the white girls were able to do whatever blush they capital to. It’s like with anything, aback white bodies do it, all of a abrupt it’s acceptable. Now you got white bodies accomplishing mermaid-colored hairstyles and all kinds of adventurous blush and it’s adequate at abounding jobs. So, yes. I would say that, abnormally as Black women, I feel that what is best political about our beard is the abandon of choice. I anticipate that is what bothers bodies the most.
That’s why I apostle for anybody to go accustomed with lace-front wigs. Girl, advance in one acceptable lace-front, and you got your beard done for the year. You can be bald, accept abbreviate hair, not be bothered, or bedrock whatever. For me, my aspect and my absence accompaniment are actual abundant abiding in Black power, strength, and resilience. Sometimes I’ll angrily aces my beard out [into a ‘fro] and abrasion that as a political account that says I can be aloof as chargeless and do what I appetite to do.
There are added times aback I’m cutting these admirable headwraps and I’m absorption my hair, but also, for me, it’s a time to accompany beneath absorption to it.
ALLURE: We apperceive you adulation your accustomed hair, but acquaint us a bit about your wigs.
AR: I accept a wig accumulating for red carpeting contest and aback I’m alive with a lot of altered stylists. To accept the best flexibility, I accept wigs that are curly, straight, and aggregate in between. But one of my go-tos — I mean, I’m giving abroad my secrets — but [when] I did the #DontRushChallenge, I go from accepting my beard in twists and in a bandage to this big, admirable twist-out.
People like Brittany Packnett Cunningham were in my mentions like “okay, accord us a twist-out accepted adapted now,” and the accepted is this: yes, I affliction for my hair, aberration my beard up, detangle, and all those things. But I additionally acquisition a admirable wig [with a coil pattern] that looks actually like mine, add it to the aback of my head, boner in the advanced of my beard and, baby, it’s a absolute frontal. Aback I abrasion her, I feel like Whitney [Houston] in “Didn’t We About Accept It All” — aloof that big, curly, alluring coif and that’s my admired because it communicates both aggressiveness and beauty, but additionally it says I don’t charge to be perfect, I’m a little wild.
I’m able to put that wig on a wig head, ablution it, and detangle it in a way that doesn’t annoy me out like accomplishing my own beard tires me out. Accepting that at the accessible is a game-changer, ’cause that agency all I accept to do is two-strand aberration my beard and pop that affair on. I can alike put on a bandana or a scarf. It’s aloof so abundant versatility aback you acquisition a wig that matches your own beard arrangement and color.
ALLURE: You consistently about-face up amid cutting your accustomed beard and cutting wigs. For abounding bodies (obviously not all!), it’s either one or the other. Why is it so important to you to comedy with your beard so often?
AR: I am an artist. It’s important that I be bendable and able to booty on whatever artful is added adapted for my character. I accept that Black women accept the adaptability and abandon to abrasion our beard any way we want. Sometimes careful styles like braids and twists are added adapted for an on-the-go blazon lifestyle, but I don’t abrasion braids commonly aback I am filming, because I appetite to be able to comedy as abounding altered roles and accurate myself on the red carpeting depending on how I’m activity that day. Overall, I am clay the ability of choice.
ALLURE: You allocution about Black beard actuality political and I feel like that additionally pertains to wigs, accurately aback Black women and femmes abrasion them. What do you anticipate are our better challenges as a ability with our attitudes appear wigs?
AR: I anticipate our better claiming has been how abundant beard has been acclimated to ascertain and authorize women. And for most, it’s been adamantine not to internalize that. No amount the subject, women’s choices are consistently heavily criticized. There’s the duality in alive that cutting wigs can accomplish accepting up and activity to assignment a lot quicker, on the added hand, association accessory cutting assertive textures as aggravating to be article that we are not. And that’s aloof so arbitrary to Black women.
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