Victoria's Secret model Maria Borges' return to catwalk with natural hair celebrated

After making history last year, Maria Borges returned to the catwalk with natural hair

Olivia Blair
Thursday 01 December 2016 13:38
Maria Borges
Maria Borges

Model Maria Borges has spoken of her happiness that two other black models followed her lead in wearing their hair natural in this year's Victoria’s Secret show.

The annual fashion event took place in Paris on Wednesday evening with veterans of the show like Adrianna Lima, Alessandra Ambrosia and Lily Aldridge returning to the catwalk.

Those familiar with the event are likely to characterise the parade of models who walk as super slim and tall with long, flowing, tousled hair. However, last year model Maria Borges challenged this by shaving her hair and wearing it in her natural short afro, making history in the process.

Borges returned to the show this year and described one of her outfits which was one of the most vibrant and outlandish of all the pieces on the catwalk, as a “love letter to my beloved continent Africa”.

The Angolan model told Teen Vogue earlier this month wearing her hair natural was “the sexiest moment of my life. I was very excited to share [my hair] with the world”.

This year, two other women joined her in the form of Herieth Paul and Jourdana Phillips.

“[Last year] was such a great opportunity to showcase this natural Afro,” Borges told W magazine. “This year, I feel happy still because I see two other girls with short hair and they are beautiful”.

The three women posed for a backstage photo together which has been praised online for showcasing black women’s natural hair.

In the picture, shared on Paul’s account, she hashtags “melanin” in a nod to their race and culture.

Other models including Dilone and Alana Arrington also showcased natural, shorter styles at the show.

Dilone, who acknowleged Borges "broke a lot of barriers" in wearing her hair natural told W: “I didn’t think they would ask me to put hair extensions in. There’s a few other girls here with short hair and I’m glad they are not trying to add extensions to them. I think they’re bringing more diversity this year.”

Ahead of the show, on Tuesday, the Victoria Secret’s hairstylist said there would be a range of styles in this year's show telling Refinery 29 she wanted to “embrace everyone’s natural beauty”.

While models such as Borges, Paul and Elizabeth might be helping brands like Victoria’s Secret pave the way in adopting a more diverse approach, non-white models still face enormous disparity in the fashion world.

In the highest-paid models list of 2016, only three non-white women featured. The three women, Liu Wen, Joan Smalls and Jasmine Tookes, all took part in Wednesday night’s show with Tookes wearing the standout “fantasy bra” which is worth $3 million.

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