By Jenni Sellan

“I’m having a bad hair day”.
A universal phenomenon understood by all women, bad hair days are a known and justified cause of unproductive days filled with unforeseen errors and accidental mishaps.

When your hair has seen better days, so have you; if the curl isn’t bouncing and the humidity has created an unwanted tribal affect, then just about everything proceeding that fact is pretty much deemed disastrous for the remainder of your day.
Don’t expect anything else to go well. It’s the internal voice of unreason, telling you that you don’t look good today so don’t expect to achieve anything of any significance, let alone for anything to go your way.

Had any dreams lately about styling your hair? The belief is that this is representative of your internal struggle with self-image and appearance. What about dreaming of cutting your hair? Experts will have you believe that you are dealing with issues around a loss of personal power…
Are you really having a bad day, or are there deeper issues at hand?

Blondes have more fun,’ ‘brunettes do it better’ and according to Coco Chanel, “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”.
The relationship we hold with our hair is a complicated one and perhaps the most fascinating aspect is it’s uncanny connection with a woman’s sense of confidence, self-image and worth, with the state of our hair seemingly synonymous with the way we actually feel about our state of self.

Recently while attending a runway show I leaned in to a colleague whispering, “I want the secret to those golden glowing locks”. With my gaze focused on the models hair, bouncing, shining and perfectly placed, looking at her made me feel like all was well in her world, and with hair like that surely I could conquer mine!

Personal power, self-image and confidence; all part of the internal knots and tangles faced by women which do not discriminate by size, race or colour.
Our biggest struggles are most often related to the internal beliefs we hold about ourselves and whether a size ‘0’ or ‘16’, the majority of women do not go untouched by feelings of inadequacy, comparison and questions around their own self worth;

Self-image is a long-standing topic of debate among media and social commentators and the high fashion industry in particular regularly scrutinised and often criticised for its role in promoting unrealistic ideals of beauty and unhealthy body images.
While there are no doubt a large number of hurdles that need jumping for long term change to be felt across the industry as a whole, there is evidence that the voice is slowly but surely adopting diversity and changing direction; From Vogue Editors in 2013 making a pact to create boundaries around age, size and imagery, to high profiles models taking their own stand on busting the beauty myth and diversification around who and what we see on the runways and in the pages of fashion magazines, there is more than a hint at the fact that the industry is listening and the platform of fashion is being used as a catalyst for change as it recognises it’s responsibility to women and the promotion of a healthy body (and self) image.

Model and Body Activist Ashley Graham is one such voice challenging the status quo with a vision to redefine beauty beyond size, and while she doesn’t let the fashion industry off the hook, noting it’s narrow views around beauty, the most powerful part of her message is her willingness to take responsibility for validating and affirming herself, stressing the importance of women being their own “biggest cheerleaders’. In her words, “We need to work together to redefine the global vision of beauty and it starts with becoming your own role model”.

I cant help but draw the conclusion that while changes and developments within the fashion industry are key, 19 synonymous Vogue Editor ‘pacts’ and increasing the standard size above a ‘0’ for the runway, wont change the game on their own.
Surely it has to start with a belief that as women we can.
A belief that we are unique and an acceptance that beauty is not defined externally but from within.

There will be days that are better than others; there will be bad hair days and Instagram worthy hair days. There will be days where we feel prettier than others but it doesn’t mean we’re not.

A positive self-image starts with me, starts with you. Ultimately it’s about how we feel on the inside about ourselves and that in itself is a choice and an opportunity for us as women to embrace self empowerment – no hair cut required!

This is a message for ALL women.

“Be you. Be real. Be authentic. Be your favourite kind of women. This is the generation of body diversity. The current is changing. Ashely Graham”