Long hair has historically been a symbol of womanhood and femininity, while short hair has carried the stigma associated with being a “tomboy,” whatever that means. But women have long been breaking molds, asserting that whatever we do with our bodies and hair goes because we say so.
Actors Nia Long, Halle Berry and supermodel Eva Marcille have worn their hair short, demonstrating that it can be not only audacious, but sexy, too. As a result, online platforms have emerged to recognize the beauty of short hair.
One of the most widely celebrated is The Cut Life. Created in 2013 by Tahira Joy Wright, the lifestyle brand has earned more than 1.4 million followers on its Instagram account by celebrating short hairstyles ― particularly for Black hair ― as well as the people who wear them and the stylists who carefully craft the cuts.
“As a longtime short hair enthusiast, I found that there was hardly any content online, specifically Instagram, that celebrated short hair. The Cut Life started as a hobby ... and quickly snowballed into a community with a massive following based on the need for this niche content in the beauty space,” Wright told HuffPost.
Wright began her professional career in media and became a publicist for celebrities like Ludacris, as well as major brands. Using a combination of her talents and ambition for entrepreneurship, she cultivated a way to celebrate women.
Kim Hinkson, director of sales for the InterContinental Hotels Group, loves The Cut Life. “I am constantly in awe of not only the beautiful styles, but the bold and powerful statements made by women,” Hinkson told HuffPost. “More importantly, women of color unafraid to live colorfully and express themselves through statement-making, super dope hairstyles!”
For the past six years, Hinkson has been keeping her own mane short.
“I have a photo album in my phone labeled ‘You need to cut it,’ in the words of the wise O.T. Genasis,” she said. “The photo album consists of all screenshots from The Cut Life, which I scroll through while under the dryer and make a last-minute decision on a new cut.”
“Blissfully finding a picture of someone with their face shape and skin tone gives you the confidence to say ... 'OK, sis! If she can pull it off, so can I!'”
The Cut Life has reached women who never even thought they’d cut their hair short, as well as women who’ve been about that life forever.
“Everything about The Cut Life resonates with me,” Chimere Pressley, who serves as her own “kitchen beautician,” told HuffPost. “I actually style my own hair most of the time, and I often reference the page to get inspiration on how to style my hair even down to when it’s time for me to get a cut.”
But beyond its focus on looking good, The Cut Life is a feel-good page. A quote often attributed to Coco Chanel — “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” — resonated with Wright and influenced her decision to create the platform.
“So many women have sent me messages about being inspired by The Cut Life to do the ‘big chop,’ finding confidence in rocking a badass baldie after battling an illness, or simply owning their short hair and feeling comfortable rocking their own hair more often,” Wright said. “Stylists have also expressed to me how their businesses have changed from being promoted on The Cut Life. They’ve gained more exposure, which leads to a larger following and clientele. I’m most proud of the impact the brand has had on stylists’ and barbers’ businesses.”
The online community Hinkson says she’s found on The Cut Life “is definitely one of those things you didn’t know you needed until it presented itself.”
The platform serves as “a lens for women who are looking for a change,” she added. “Someone apprehensive to change their look, needing guidance and assurance to make the decision to chop, they can be empowered by scrolling through likenesses of themselves. Blissfully finding a picture of someone with their face shape and skin tone gives you the confidence to say ... ‘OK, sis! If she can pull it off, so can I!’”
Wright knows her brand, its power and its message. “The overall message of The Cut Life is, ‘It’s just hair!’” she said. “Cut it if you want, color it, get an edgy design, grow it back ... do you! It’s about freedom ― short hair is a statement, and it shows the utmost confidence to wear it and wear it well.”