The job hunt can be difficult for anyone. But for Black women, even being perceived as professional can be its own feat. When Brianne Cash prepared for an interview with an insurance company early in her career, she was mostly concerned about how the interviewer would view her—specifically her natural hair.
“I wore my hair straight because I didn’t know if it was going to be considered professional [otherwise],” says Cash. “All of those thoughts filter through our minds as Black men and women.”
Bianca Reed, executive director of Rain the Growth Agency, said she remembers how her decision to go natural was a difficult one at a former place of employment. “I got feedback from other Black women that said ‘be careful because going natural will impact your career and it won’t resonate with people,” says Reed. “Meanwhile, I had [white] coworkers literally dye their hair in rainbow colors, and no one would say anything.”