Do you see hair as a supporting role or a hurdle in your self-expression?
Iona: I think I used to see my hair as a hurdle in my self-expression. When I had long hair as a child, I saw it as something I didn’t have control over and something that made people see me as a feminine person. It felt more like an unwanted disguise that hid who I actually was. Now, my hair plays a supporting role in my self-expression and I use it as a way to explore how I see myself.
When I was younger, I had very long, thick hair that I was never allowed to cut. Everybody used to constantly comment on how beautiful they thought it was, how lucky I was. To them, I fit into their idea of what a girl should look like — whereas to me, it felt like a burden, because it didn’t represent me. When I first cut my hair short about five years ago, there was the expected reaction of devastation that I could have done such a thing, questions of “Are you doing ok?” The reality was, I was actually starting to feel more free.