Zoe Kravitz felt like she ‘had to change my hair in order to be accepted or get work’

'An Evening with Ellen DeGeneres' in Calgary

Zoe Kravitz covers the latest issue of I-D Vice Magazine (or is it just I-D magazine?). She spends much of the interview talking about a project I didn’t even know she was part of: did you know they’re doing another adaptation of High Fidelity? Her mom, Lisa Bonet, was in the film version starring John Cusack as Rob, the lead, who is going on a journey through his “top five breakups.” Well, they’re adapting the book again, this time in present day setting (are there still record stores?) and Zoe is playing the lead in the series. Rob has become Robin, and Robin is the same kind of pop-culture obsessive. It’s an interesting concept, I guess. Some highlights from the cover story:

Zoë’s own top five songs for defining the time we live in: Nina Simone’s 22nd Century, William Onyeabor’s Atomic Bomb, Ike and Tina Turner’s Workin’ Together and David Bowie’s It Ain’t Easy.

The idea that the obsession is all a person has: “Art or music becomes our best friend, but it is easy to become stuck in a rut – like all I have is this music, or all I have is this art.”

On life: “We need to be able to laugh at ourselves. We need to spend more time observing the ironic nature of just being alive.”

The show will have more women at every level: “Collaboration and compromise is an art form in itself. It is really hard, but it is about finding that balance, it is about knowing when to back down and when to fight for something that you see is really worth fighting for.”

On race, and playing black women: “I’m guided by my intuition. But I do say no to stories that don’t seem truthful, like when I felt I didn’t want to portray women, or brown women in that way…For some people diversity is a trend. But for others it is a lived reality.”

Her hair: “I always felt like I had to change my hair in order to be accepted, or get work… It has been great learning how to love my hair. By not putting a bunch of chemicals in it and realising that I can look how I want to look.” Although much ground has been gained, we’re still having to contend with certain black hair types not being “acceptable” in certain social situations. In recent years, Zoë has been turning up on the red carpet with a variety of different styles, and it’s another step in normalising the presence of black hair. “I just think I have a responsibility to be myself. I always say that it is not to inspire more people to be like me, but to be more like themselves.”

[From I-D Magazine]

Is it wrong to say that this interview reads like she had just smoked a joint before I-D turned up? I don’t have a problem with anything she said, but that’s because most of what she said was just vague faux-profundities about the “ironic” nature of being alive, man. As for the conversation about hair… for a while there, she was blonde and I absolutely hated it. She’s so pretty and I thought, before that hairstyle, that she could pull off any look. Turns out, she really can’t. She can do her hair however she likes and all of that… but I really do think the most flattering look for her are the black dreadlocks.

Oh and her “top five” songs are bulls–t. Let’s fight about it!!

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Photos courtesy of Getty, cover courtesy of I-D.

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12 Responses to “Zoe Kravitz felt like she ‘had to change my hair in order to be accepted or get work’”

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  1. Valiantly Varnished says:

    The comments about her hair weren’t about the color of it. It was about normalizing black hair textures which are often deemed as messy, unkempt, unprofessionally, not attractive etc. it’s about normalizing black beauty is all its varieties.

    • Original Jenns says:

      It’s really a strong statement that the daughter of Lisa Bonet, who has had a natural style for so many years, and Lenny Kravitz, also a natural hair style, still felt the need to change her own hair to be accepted. If someone being raised by those celebrated (and beautiful) parents and their hairstyles still felt shamed to conform, it’s that much harder for private citizens in 9-5 jobs.

      Also loved this quote: For some people diversity is a trend. But for others it is a lived reality.

    • Emily says:

      Look I’m just some average white woman but I’ve always thought that black women who style their hair naturally are the most beautiful. It’s a gorgeous look.

      I see black women commenting that they wear weaves to fit into white corporate spaces. I’m just telling you (as one white person in corporate) that natural black hair looks stunning. I hope to see more black women embracing their natural hair.

      • J says:

        When I was unemployed and going for interviews my 77 year old mother would ask, what are you going to do with that hair? I have a large fro and ended up getting a job in the hair industry. Not sure if corporate America is ready.

      • sunny says:

        Emily, that is a lovely sentiment but there are often economic and social consequences to wearing black hair natural at work.

        You are deemed unprofessional, people sometimes complain, people touch your hair… it is a lot.

        Last year a friend of a friend wrote an article in a major Canadian paper about her struggles being black on Bay st(our version of Wall Street) and let me tell you her choice to style her hair natural came up.

        I am a black woman who works in those same spaces and wears my hair natural and trust when I say it is tough. I am really glad that the natural hair movement is empowering so many to say F the consequences.

  2. Aeren says:

    Yeah because every other celebrity interview is much more specific and profound? Come on.

  3. Mrs. Darcy says:

    She is the child of a musician and a hip Mom so I won’t side eye her music choices too much, like she probably has more mature tastes for her age than some people. It’s sad she felt like she had to change her natural hair in Hollywood, especially considering her Mom has always been so naturally beautiful and embraced her hair. That pressure must be strong, that sucks. I am just a white chick with curly hair, the stigma of non straight hair is real though. I find it interesting that she is mirroring/redoing her Mom’s film a bit, it’s kind of cool because Bonet really just was the “cool girl/object of desire” in the original “man child likes music and is that is his whole personality” film; a woman led reboot sounds fun.

  4. Cindy says:

    Zoe’s grown on me a lot. I used to not stand her but I usually find her interesting in interviews and she was great in the last season of BLL (even if the season itself was rather underwhelming).

  5. Emily says:

    She has the most exquisite face. Her bone structure is incredible. I am a white woman and so don’t understand what this feels like but have always loved her hair.

  6. Mo says:

    What I find odd about her top five is that there are only four of them. Was there some terrible fifth song that ID found too embarrassing to print?

  7. SM says:

    The one thing I can’t with her are her random tattoos. Why would one do that? She is pretty with short, long, natural or blond hair.