Tackling lack of trained stylists for curly and Afro-textured hair

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At the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, students are learning how to style curly and Afro-textured hair.

It's a new hairdressing course, aimed at reducing the lack of hairdressers able to competently style curly hair.

"Now I feel confident if someone were to sit in my chair, a person of color, a person with curly hair. I'm well versed in the field and I know what to do," says Ahdinda Ley, a recent graduate.

At the helm is Cynthia Simango who says the course is much deeper than hairstyling.

It's also about learning how to communicate with clients.

"Unfortunately, curly hair has been associated with discrimination. I've met so many clients that, they've been called names because of their hair," says Simango.

The course aims to address a lack of hairdressers equipped with the right skills.

"There's a shortage in people or hairdressers that specialize in curly hair, that's just a standard. Whether it be in a regular salon or whether it be in the entertainment industry," says Simango.

Model Basija Almaan learned early on in her career that most stylists on photo shoots would not know how to do her hair.

"I realized that the majority of the time it was better for me to come with my hair prepared because when anyone had previously tried to do my hair, it never quite looked like it was done properly," says Almaan.

But it shouldn't be the norm.

"As a hairstylist, you have to be able to work with all different kinds of skin colors, hair textures," says NIDA tutor, Sandra Wogandi.

NIDA hopes that by training more stylists to become experts in curly hair, we will eventually see more diversity on the screen and on stage, and offer the same styling opportunities to everyone.

"Curly hair should be part of every curriculum when you teach, makeup, hair," says Wogandi.

Additional sources • AFP

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