Gabrielle Union didn't learn to embrace her natural hair until she was in her forties.
The 'Being Mary Jane' star has admitted she "wasted" so much of her youth despising her tresses, because women on the cover of magazines and on TV made her feel like she didn't have the "it factor".
She said: "When I was younger, I hated everything about [my hair]. I wanted it to be anything but what it was.
"I wasted so much of my youth in my twenties, thirties and certainly my teens wanting to be someone else. I was inundated with images and messages saying, 'You're just not as pretty as so-and-so.'"
Gabrielle continued: "The images that I saw on TV and in magazines and film reaffirmed what they were saying. That I wasn't 'it', and people who look like me aren't 'it'.
"You couldn't possibly have that 'it factor' and have hair like mine or skin like mine."
The 48-year-old actress finally felt ready to empty her "basket of f****" and start loving herself as she is in her early forties.
She told People: "In my early forties, I just emptied my basket of f**** and came out reborn and loving myself in a way that you only see on Oprah episodes when you're like, 'What the hell is my most authentic self? What does that even mean? I don't even know who that girl is. I wouldn't know her if I saw her.' So just really doing a much deeper dive in therapy, and internal work, and traveling the world, and embracing that beauty comes in every kind of form."
And Gabrielle no longer gets FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) about her hair because she realised it's so versatile and she can do whatever she wishes with her locks.
She said: "I marvel at my hair's strength and all of the diversity of looks and styles that I can achieve. I can literally transform into anything. I can do it without a lot of heat. I'm doing it without relaxers. I'm doing it without having FOMO! I used to think you had to have a certain hair texture in order to be seen as beautiful or dynamic. I don't have that anymore. I love my own hair. Everything I want to achieve, everything I can dream of, I know I can do it with my own hair."
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