Social media creator Nadia Jaftha parted her ombre dark blond tresses into four ponytails and in front of her vlogging camera, she cut each section with a pair of scissors.
Finishing off the cut with clippers, Nadia now sports a buzz cut.
She confesses to her followers that she’s been wanting to cut her hair for about eight months to a year now.
Unlike what many online personalities have shared, Nadia wasn’t cutting her ends because she couldn’t get to a hairdresser due to the coronavirus lockdown. There are a few motivators for Nadia to have short hair.
First, she shares that there’s a history of cancer in the maternal side of her family, having lost her great grandmother and her grandmother to cancer when she was young. So it was an obvious choice for her that she would grow her hair out so she could donate it to cancer survivors.
She tells W24 that she has decided to donate to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) because she has followed its criteria for prospective donors. “I am deciding to [donate] to them because my hair has met all the criteria it needed in order to donate. I have emailed them and waiting for a response as to the process of donating my hair,” she says.
Another reason why this content creator is cutting her hair is something uncommon for social media stars. While many could attach the title of ‘Instagram baddie’ or being a ‘conventional beauty’ – both not inherently negative labels – to Nadia’s online image, nobody can accuse her of not making attempts to portray real and raw images of herself. And as such, her second reasoning is befitting.
Long straight hair has long been the beauty standard and Nadia says she’s hoping to break the beauty mould where she can, showing her version of beauty with short hair.
“I always felt encouraged by those women who were bold and enough to be themselves. I just always wanted to be that to many young girls that follow me. I wanted to do something that would spread awareness and teach women that they can define their own beauty. I think once I realised my mission, it was very easy for me to overcome those fears,” she says.
Fear is the one thing that has always held me back.If there’s one thing this whole experience we're going through has taught me,it's that there is no time for fear&we only have the present to overcome it. It’s finally time for a fresh start. Hair will be donated in aid of Cancer. pic.twitter.com/kMXOI2UnJY— Nadia Jaftha (@nadiajaftha_) April 19, 2020
Many can recognise that no woman is exempt from the suffocating constrictions of beauty standards, no matter how many boxes checked. The patriarchal system is designed so that no woman wins.
Nadia says she hopes to keep passing positive messages to her followers. “I would definitely like to see the everyday woman embracing their beauty in more ways than what conventional media teaches us,” she says.
“I think the only way that will happen is if we begin to change that narrative ourselves and start to really own it but it starts with us. I have a platform and I try my best to try and spread that message. I would encourage all those who have platforms to do the same. To use their platform to spread a positive message,” adds Nadia.
They says there’s never a good time for a pandemic and you could argue there’s never really a good time for a woman to cut hair her – you just do it.
“I felt that it was as good a time as any,” says Nadia. “During this time, I realised that you do not have time to worry about these things. In the greater scheme of things and with everything going on in the world, my hair is so irrelevant compared to it. But if I can use it, as a tool of change in the bigger picture then I think it’s always a good time to start.”
She adds that “beauty truly comes from within. You don’t have to abide by the norms of society but rather redesign those constructs that are so very limiting to suit yourself.
Have you made a significant hairstyle change during lockdown? Share your story with us here.
Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.