Mixed race woman brought to tears by bullying about her afro hair films moving video diary

Marie Claire Dorking
·4 min read

Watch: Mixed race woman learns to love her natural curls after recording emotional video diary. 

A mixed race woman who was bullied at school about her afro hair has recorded a moving video diary explaining how she learned to love her natural, curly locks - thanks to the support of six million strangers.

Hannah Connaughton, 21, from Stockport, had always been insecure about her curly hair and was regularly brought to tears after receiving negative comments about looking "visually white" but having "an afro".

After years of straightening and bleaching, she had grown so insecure about her heat damaged tresses, she would get upset and struggled not to "feel ugly".

She decided to start a video diary on TikTok, in which she opened up about her insecurities and asked for advice, hoping to get a few tips on good products.

Hannah Connaughton straightened her hair after receiving bullying comments. (SWNS)
Hannah Connaughton straightened her hair after receiving bullying comments. (SWNS)

Connaughton's video struck a chord with black and mixed race women around the world who were struggling with the same insecurities.

Soon a staggering six million people had watched the video, and Connaughton was inundated with support, tips, free products and encouragement.

The outpouring gave her the confidence to go to a specialist textured hair salon.

Read more: Michelle Obama celebrated for wearing her hair natural.

Connaughton as a child with her natural curly hair.  (SWNS)
Connaughton as a child with her natural curly hair. (SWNS)

Despite initially vowing not to cut her hair, within a couple of weeks Connaughton plucked up the courage to cut off the majority of her locks.

Revealing her new short 100% curly do in a recent video diary, the confidence visible in Connaughton is a world away from the first clip she recorded, when she struggled to even wear her hair down.

Watch: Best black natural hair influencers to follow. 

“I have been straightening and bleaching my natural hair or wearing extensions since I was around 14 when I first became self-conscious about it," the film and media student explains. 

“Because I look white, my hair was one of the only things about my appearance that made me look visually mixed race, so it stood out - people at school would call me a poodle or ask to touch it.

“When I asked for advice on TikTok because my hair was so damaged, I was overwhelmed by people’s responses and support - and I realised I’m not alone, and so many other people relate to my story.

“I even had Love Island star, Amber Gill, send me a haircare package because she understood my experience - which made me realise every mixed and black woman has experiences like mine."

Connaughton spent years straightening her hair before embracing her natural look. (SWNS)
Connaughton spent years straightening her hair before embracing her natural look. (SWNS)

Read more: Margot with the good hair: Star debuts new Oscars 'do'

Connaughton, whose mum’s family originated from St Kitts in the West Indies, started her hair confessional videos on 12 April before having her hair cut on 27 April.

She said years of bleaching and straightening her hair as well as wearing extensions had left her natural curls damaged.

“So many people were telling me to cut my hair short to let my curls grow naturally, and eventually I finally plucked up the courage to book an appointment and started to get really excited to see my hair grow long and curly, like it used to be," she continues. 

“I got the chop and I was so nervous, but it was such an exciting and liberating experience and I’ve had nothing but support and people telling me they’re proud I finally did it."

Connaughton with blonde extensions. (SWNS)
Connaughton with blonde extensions. (SWNS)

Read more: Jane Fonda, 83, reveals why she’s happy she embraced her natural grey hair

Connaughton's collective video diaries of her hair transformation have clocked up more than eight million views and the support she has received has helped her come to understand that she should be proud of her natural hair.

“Over the past weeks, I’ve grown so much more confident and realised I should embrace who I am," she continues. 

"There is a huge community out there of people like me, and I feel like I fit in and belong for the first time.

"I want any girl that feels the same way I felt to see they're not alone and their natural hair is beautiful - self love is the most empowering thing you can do, so try to embrace it.

“It’s taken 21 years but now I’ve learnt to love that side of myself - and I see that black is beautiful."

Additional reporting SWNS.