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Every woman has a hair journey. From experimenting with sleek cuts to embracing one’s natural curls to one day doing the big chop and every product in between, women have always used their hair as a form of expression. And sometimes an indicator of how one is feeling internally. While Black woman attempt to always have it all together, sometimes we pour our emotion into our hair.


Life imitates art in HBO’s I May Destroy You. The main character Arabella begins the series with a fun and spunky pink wig. Then the show takes a dark turn and she is sexually assaulted twice. She remerges with a freshly shaven head. The transition of hair has always been symbolic. 

“You know at the beginning she may feel that she has her life together, she has this pink wig, but the wig is falling apart, it’s fraying,” Michaela Coel told PEOPLE.

A woman’s hair is tied to her personality, her femininity, until she deems it’s not. And a metamorphasis begins.

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“Her life is already kind of hanging in the balance. She shaves off her hair and I’m exploring this concept of realizing how wronged she’s been as a woman and how deceived,” said Coel. “She almost shaves of the symbol, this pink hair that’s kind of wrapped into femininity, so she always had this pink hair that she abandons and then picks it back up. She’s constantly trying to do something with her identity and her aesthetic.”

Watching your hair fall to floor seems scary at first but then freedom sets in and it’s kinda therapeutic. A reminder that no matter what happens, you will live, you will grow. We need life to happen so that we know that we are here.

We are resilient, we are capable to getting through it. It is easy never, but we adjust just like your outlook to your hair. The series offers many teachable moments but one stands true and that is Arabella will survive. She will emerge stronger than ever despite her scars and when she’s ready, her pink wig will stake its return.


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Michael Coel Breaks Down Arabella’s Symbolic Hair Journey  was originally published on