On the runway for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, where lustrous, bouncing beautiful tresses are the standard, one model chose to do things her way on Tuesday night.
As opposed to bending to VS's conventional beauty script, 23-year-old Angolan model Maria Borges strutted the runway sans wig, weave or even extensions. While wearing expensive bras, feather-loaded "wings" and tons of fringe, Borges went all natural with her hair to put proclaim an individual yet powerful statement on what beauty can look like in today's society.
"I advised my agent that I needed to work in the Victoria's Secret show with my natural hair," Borges told entertainment news journalist B. Scott, who posted on Instagram. "I was apprehensive, yet I needed to do it. When they said "yes" I didn't expect it, however I was so excited!"
Fans were in LOVE with Borges' look and expressed so on her Instagram. "I can't be more pleased with your hair style, you look STUNNING <3," one fan posted. Another commented, "Thank you for standing firm and wearing your natural hair!!!"
What's more, Borges was more than glad to celebrate with them, demonstrating no feeling of uncertainty or hesitation about her choice. Rather, she donned her "Afro hair" and posted the hashtag #MBmakinghistory.
It was history-in-the-making.
Borges has walked in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show catwalk twice before — in 2014 and 2013 — and for both shows, she modeled with the average long, flowy tresses of her companions.
This year, on the other hand, she could stroll close by superstar supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner and emerge for simply the right reason.
Borges' bold statement comes at a time for the nation's biggest lingerie retailer and its huge yearly showcase. Despite the fact that Victoria's Secret has tried to show more Black young models on the runway show, there were still very few of them. Out of the 44 models strolling this year, eight are Black. Furthermore, Borges was the main model to do as such with her natural hair.
Particularly during a period when Black Beauty in the industry (or lack thereof) keeps on standing out as truly newsworthy, Borges has made an powerful statement with her natural hair. In early October, Empire on-screen character Taraji P. Henson did likewise with a photo shoot for the top style magazine CR Fashion Book.
"As ladies we put sooooo much attention and emphasis on our hair!!!" Henson wrote in an Instagram caption. "As though hair characterizes beauty? I am generally so appreciative for ladies who are FREE AND bold enough to cut it ALL off."
In the fashion and beauty industry, there's been a rise in models themselves drawing attention to the general absence of focus on diversity, and specifically in its display of Black beauty. In July, model Nykhor Paul took to her Instagram to discuss the make-up artists that still come poorly prepared to photo shoots with models that have darker complexions.
"Why do I need to bring my own cosmetics to an professional show when the white models don't need to do anything other than show up wtf!" she posted. "Quit apologizing it's annoying and discourteous to me and my race it doesn't help, genuinely! At least try!"
The way that Borges strutted the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show gladly with her natural hair matters — both for ladies who will watch the show on national TV Dec. 8, admiring the models as presentations of beauty, and for the business insiders who could use to acquaint themselves with hair and skin that isn't simply white.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is known for exhibiting models that are beauty personified and sex appeal incarnate, and Borges reminded us what that should look like in 2015