Hair is a big deal for Jodie Turner-Smith.
The star of the new “Anne Boleyn” mini-series is on the new cover of Glamour U.K.’s “The Hair Issue” this month.
“For the longest time, I just loved to wear my hair very short. People don’t really understand Black women in protective hairstyles [such as braids, locs or weaves created with extension hair to reduce the manipulation of fragile Afro hair and limit breakage],” the actress says. “They’ll say, well, that’s not your hair, so why can’t you just go back to what your hair looks like? Which is another thing I’ve heard that’s really not right. Right now this is my favourite protective style, I just love the locs. I also love twists and braids, and their cultural significance.”
Turner-Smith also talks about how the entertainment industry is finally starting to treat Black women’s hair with real respect.
“Hair is important to everybody. It’s so funny. It’s suddenly a big deal when we Black girls are talking about it, but [it’s important to] everybody. That’s why there’s a whole thing about when you have a bad hair day. Right? Nobody wants that. So it’s frustrating as a performer, when you go on set and the people are not qualified to deal with your texture of hair,” he says. “While we’re in this time where diversity and inclusion have become the buzzwords of the day, it’s important that filmmakers go the whole length of what that means. If you are hiring a diverse and inclusive cast, you must also hire people who know how to deal with their texture of hair.”
The actress also brought her approach to her hair into her styling as Anne Boleyn in the new series.
“When I went into Anne Boleyn, we spoke extensively about what my vision was and it was interesting to see how closely it mirrored the production team’s,” she says. “I was very excited to see that. It was really important to me that Anne had Afro texture hair. In my mind I was like, my queen Anne, this is a woman who I did not want to put on European texture hair. I wanted kinky hair that she’s been growing her whole life.”
Talking about backlash to her casting in the show, Turner-Smith says, “I had just become a mother and that was what really jumped out at me, the story of Anne as a mother. I did know it would be something that people felt very passionately about, either in a positive or a negative way, because Anne is a human in history who people feel very strongly about. More than anything, I wanted to tell the human story at the centre of all of this. [During filming] my daughter was only 6-months-old and I was still nursing her.”
She adds, “So to have the experience of working with people that have so much compassion for where I was in my journey as a mother, as we were telling the story about a mother, I feel there was just so much more compassion in the storytelling.”
Read the full interview in the Glamour U.K. May Digital Issue online now.