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What Does Looking ‘Professional’ Mean For Women Of Color?

By September 8th, 2021No Comments
Professional black woman with natural short hair

Photo credit Lena Pringle (@lenapringle_)

By Onicia Muller

Originally published on TODAY x TMRW

Florida-based anchor and reporter Lena Pringle made headlines when she posted photos of her natural, Afro-textured hair with a tapered cut. While Pringle is by far not the first or last Black woman to rock a natural hairstyle in a corporate setting, her viral tweet sparked conversations about professionalism.

We spoke with Lena Pringle, business owners, work experts and everyday people to weigh in on what it means to act and appear professional in the modern age — especially during a pandemic.

Do Black women struggle with looking professional

Pringle, whose look was always “different,” said the evolution of her professional style is powered by an ongoing self-love journey. When she first entered the newsroom at 23 years old, she wore a short, relaxed pixie cut. That look wasn’t standard or normal at the time. Now Pringle said wearing her natural hair on air is “nonnegotiable.”

Expanding the definition of professionalism might seem insignificant compared to major news stories right now. However, several sources interviewed for this piece confirmed that conforming to outdated standards causes emotional and physical distress. It also increases the potential for discrimination to people from marginalized groups.

Continue reading on TODAY x TMRW


Onicia Muller is a writer, comedian, and clean beauty enthusiast. She currently serves as Culture Editor at ASE Beauty, a clean beauty lifestyle brand for women of color. Enjoy more beauty tutorials on Onicia’s YouTube or ASE Beauty’s Instagram.

Find more articles about clean beauty on, HERE!

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