August 27, 2011

NEW HEADSHOTS! & The Opinions Behind Choosing To Wear My Hair Straight

I'm so excited about my new headshots! I went back to Laura Rose. I wasn't happy with my last set and felt like they weren't marketing me in the most effective way. I also wanted to experiment with straight hair to see if it affects my audition/booking ratio. Even just an increase in auditions would be awesome!!

I have a new commercial shot, and three new legit shots, all of which showcase a different look/side of me. I know I'm facing the same direction in all 4, but I know my angles and this one is my best and most flattering. Otherwise, I think I have pretty good range to work with and I'm so excited!! I apologize for the slight blur, I re-sized them to make them a bit larger and more viewable.

The following two comments are from the "CBS Diversity Workshop & Headshot Advice" post I made on July 10th. Apparently my choice to try out straight hair was a bit controversial. While the first post is the only one that was left on my blog regarding this issue, it's not the first time that I've been confronted with it.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Hey, a friend of mine saw you in the 'staremaster' and told me about you - found my way to your blog. We were so excited to see an actress with great hair! Now I see that that you've decided to straighten it. Now you'll look just like everyone else, it's a shame. I'm sure this woman meant well, but keep in mind that you can hear advice without having to take it! oh well . . . . . . moving on"'m sorry you're disappointed? I'm not going completely straight, I won't even be straightening my real hair so keep your panties on! I'll be wearing a straight hair wig. I will have a couple of headshot options with my curly hair, and I will have a couple of headshot options with straight hair.
I'm very aware that one can hear advice without choosing to take it. However, when a VP of CBS casting recommends that I have some headshot options with straight hair, I'm going to take her advice. I've been considering trying out straight hair for over a year now. This decision comes from feedback and inquiries from multiple casting directors, as well as discussions with my manager, agent, and friends. My manager was all for it, and my agent was on the fence until he saw my new photos and he loves the straight hair.

I will be honest, I spent a lot of time rallying against trying straight hair because I was afraid that I would look like everyone else. Then I finally realized that I was being silly and dramatic. It's just hair. Yes, there are a lot of social and racial implications when it comes to how black women are portrayed on TV and it's an exhausting debate/discussion. Do I feel that wearing my hair straight will make me a more desirable choice for casting directors and producers? Yes. Is it fucked up that I even have to think this way? Yes. But, I also want to work as an actor and I want more opportunities so right now, it's just another way to increase my casting range. That's all.

Thanks for your post.
Anonymous said...
"I think that woman is wrong. your small chin, button nose, and apple cheeks read sweet and innocent. Especially your eyes. But you definitely convey a grown and sexy element in pictures and on camera. I see you as the sweet sexy love interest. Maybe even playing the part of a girl who comes on sweet at first but has underlying motives. I think that your hair since it's grown out gives you extra sex appeal and makes you stand out. You would be a major contender for the usual celebrated Hollywood beauties if they would just be fair and balanced. I have seen the stern, take charge, attitudinal role from black women time and time again, and you just don't have that look. :( But anyway, I wish you much success very soon, and a long career. Good luck."
Thanks a lot for your post!
Sweet and innocent is not really my type, but I DID think of you when I posted the headshot with me wearing the coral shirt. I think that photo conveys that sweet sexiness that you referred to, so I think you definitely have a point! Fern Orenstein was right that my old headshot was reading girlish. If you look at the types of roles that I book, none of them are girlish. Most of my characters are strong, sexy, smart, and opinionated. There's noting wrong with that. I'm not sure why it bothers you to see black women play strong/opinionated/tough roles. Plenty of non-black women play these kinds of roles on TV and film, why is it a problem when black women do it? While I can agree that many times, some black actresses turn their performances into....caricatures, it can be done with finesse too!
What you said about me being a contender for the usual Hollywood beauties is incredibly sweet, but Hollywood isn't fair and balanced! It's just not. And let's be honest when it comes to hair. When most people think of sexy feminine hair, they think of long flowing hair, not a full highly textured afro. That's the truth, right or wrong. I think my fro is sexy, and if I could cast myself in all of my dream roles, I'd be set for life. But I can't.

Not yet, anyway. ;)


  1. You're headshots are beautiful! I think BW put too much emphasis on hair, it's just hair. I'm in the process of going natural (1.5yr) I'm doing it because it will give me more options. I think it was wise of you to take the VP of Castings advice. Your hair doesn't define you. It's all about the HS getting you called in for auditions.

  2. Excellent headshots! The third one looks like a "Dont mess me with me kind" mixed with Dion from Clueless. LOVE IT!

  3. When I saw your profile pic on your FB page, I did not even go there with your hair. In fact, I didn't pay much attention to your hair at all. Your face expresses such beauty that I looked beyond it. Not saying that I didn't notice, because I did. However, when people make judgements because you have decided to do something different, it rubs me the wrong way. You do have rights just as everyone else. No matter what hairstyle YOU choose to have, you are beautiful. You are grown and you have the talent needed to go very far. You have to do what you need to do to get there. You are the one who's paying YOUR bills. You listen to those who give the positive advice. So, get off my girl--anyone who has any type of negative opinion about her hair.

  4. I can completely relate to this post! Ever since going natural, some people seem to take it personally when I wear my hair straight. The funny thing is that once they discover that it's a wig (including the straight hair headshots I have) all seems to be forgiven. Go figure.

    All I know is, now that I have both it's broadened my castability. My commercial agent loves the natural look, yet almost everything else seems to want straight hair so it is what it is. Keep doing you and best of luck.

  5. I think your headshots are great, and remember that everyone will have something to say.

  6. Hi Andrea,
    I absolutely love your blog. I also love your new headshots. I do have a question about the straight haired wig you are wearing. Do you mind sharing the name of the wig? I really like it and it looks really good on you. Thank you in advance.


  7. Hey can you do a post about what are the things you learn about Acting in the business?

  8. Thank you all for the comments! I'm very happy with my new headshots. Today I had my first "straight hair" audition and the CD said that she loves me curly or straight, but that the straight hair definitely gives me a more "va va voom" aura. Luckily, I was auditioning for the role of a sexy drunk chick. LOL

    For the person that asked about the straight wig, the name is "Mariah" from Equal.

  9. You look beautiful either way and experimenting with different looks with your headshots is great! As an actress unless you want to be typecasted it has to be believable that you can go from the cute sweet girl (which comes across more with your curly hair) to the sexy mysterious woman (straight hair especially pic #3)!

  10. You're headshots are amazing! You actually look like a completely different person with straight hair.

    So wonderful you have such a versatile look! I love the boof and I love the straight :)

  11. @MyssReceB: Thank you so much and I agree!! haha

    @Elise: Thanks love!!

  12. I have been searching hi and low for an actress with natural haired headshots. I have a natural hair blog and I'm on a protective style challenge. I have no idea what to do with my hair. I was thinking maybe a twist out or braid out but it might be too bulky. My teacher/manager already said he can't sell an afro so I was pretty scared. I was thinking I'd have to straighten it but I don't want to disaapoint my followers. All the natural hair actresses I know of wear wigs or straighten their hair. I figured I might try a wash and go and see if it looked long enough. If not then I'd go with a wig of some sort and get natural hair pictures in a few months. I want the pictures that are gonna get me work first. Thanks so much for your inspirational post. It helped with my decision. BTW you are so pretty both ways but I really do like your natural hair better. It just suits you so well.

  13. @Isa: I'm glad that my post helped you in your decision!! Do you mind telling me what your decision was?

    Thank you for the compliment, and I have to say, I like the natural hair much better too! Also, don't be afraid to post a link to your blog, I always love reading natural hair blogs. :)

  14. @Isa: Nevermind on the blog link, haha!! I clicked your name and it popped up. :)

  15. Andrea I just wanted some advice on wearing my natural hair and wearing extensions. I'm an aspiring commercial and print model. I wear a sew in for longer length, Do you think I will benefit more , meaning will I get more bookings or auditions if I wear my hair natural then wearing weave? I've heard different things and just wanted to know what you thought since already being a model. Weave or No Weave? HELP! Thanks

    1. While how you wear your hair is completely personal, I will say that natural hair seems to be more popular and preferred amongst commercial print models and commercial actors. As a happy medium, you could just wear a weave or wig that mimics your natural hair texture. I did that for over 2 years, although I am currently wearing my own hair to auditions and bookings.

  16. Andrea, I like that you can read the trends of what is happening with the modeling/acting industry and can pick and choose how you want to respond. That is priceless. It is the game that has to be played in acting and in corporate America. In corporate America once you get your foot in the door and prove your worth then what you wear and how you look is not as important as long as we don't start wearing African garb and talk about going back to the motherland. Not that this is not ok, it is just not acceptable. We all have to fit in to get in just like our parents had to do to live in the neighborhoods where the good schools etc, etc were. I think your updated pictures are awesome. Keep up the great work. "You do you boo boo" as I jokingly tell my kids and husband.