Pride Month is a special time to celebrate identities and voices, activism and visibility, and all of the beauty, strength, complexity, and diversity inherent in the LGBTQIA+ community, and ultimately a moment to take pride in self and self-expression. Although Pride Month is the perfect time to give yourself a radical makeover and try out a bold, colorful new look, there are infinite ways that the LGBTQIA+ community expresses who they are year-round. From unique takes on fashion to makeup inspo to hairstyles that boldly represent who they are through color, they celebrate their identity and self-expression in a fun and authentic ways that feel meaningful to them.
Meet Meaux Palmer, Atlanta, Georgia-based actor, content creator, and long-time oVertone fan who took us full circle on their hair journey representing an intimate piece of self-expression in celebration of their identity. Sit down with us as we explore Meaux’s thoughts on radical inclusion in the beauty industry, inspiring others through the interweaving of hair and identity, and how the color and styles we express through visual expression can reflect who we truly are inside and out.
1. It’s Pride Month! What does it mean to you, and how do you celebrate?
Pride means so many things for me. Primarily, it’s a reminder of the Stonewall Riots that were a catalyst for Queer people fighting for their liberation. The month, and specifically June 28th, commemorates all that Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera have done for the LGBTQ+ community. During the month I’m also reminded of how their struggles and the struggles of my elders have paved the way for me to enjoy the rights they had to fight for, but also the privilege of living in a society that’s growing in its acceptance of LGBTQIA folks. The month also brings an extra bit of visibility for those who may not be proud just yet. In our society, I think it’s easy for people to feel shameful about their identities. I feel like queer people seeing themselves represented in the media is still fairly new. Thinking about when I was a child, I don’t remember seeing any representations of queer people until I was actively seeking them in my preteen years. Having media that reflected how I was feeling in my day-to-day life was paramount to me becoming the confident person I am today. And although I may be very comfortable with my gender and sexual identity, there are still people out there that need a helping hand getting to where I am. Pride Month is a reminder of that journey and to do my part in creating a better future for those that will come after me. As for Celebration! I LOVE going to the Club during Pride Month. There’s always an extra bit of joy and queerness in the air that is a pleasure to be around. During the month, I try to go to as many Pride events as possible. Going to theatrical shows and parades and finding online events are some of my go-to’s. Lastly, I try to make extra time to Kiki with my Queer Friends, just to watch some of our favorite movies like Tangerine, To Wong Foo, or a Drag Race Marathon works too.
2. How do you want to see the beauty industry grow to become more radically inclusive and intersectional?
I would love to see the beauty industry expand its representation to include more body types and disabled people disabled. Recently, I’ve noticed a push to be more inclusive to People of Color, which I appreciate. However, still, more work could be done. Allowing Black people with a variety of hairstyles is definitely something I would like to see represented. I want to see more afros, braided styles, Bantu knots, and locs in print, media, and runways. Finally, I think that the beauty industry could add more people that don’t fit into the gender binary. It’s funny because we see people like that behind the scenes all the time. It seems like we lose that representation when it comes time to put them in the spotlight.
3. When did you first start changing up your hair or feeling it was part of your overall style/identity?
I started experimenting with self-expression through my hair back in 2019, but the pandemic added an extra push that really catapulted my hair journey. Before then, I was taking my acting career VERY seriously. There’s a saying amongst actors that your appearance doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the characters that you portray. And I lived by that to a certain degree. Whilst the theatre was on hold, and I had no acting jobs coming in, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to do whatever I wanted with my appearance, including experimenting with hairstyles and colors. I was like, “I’m never going to have the opportunity to play with my hair like this again.” And so I started playing with as many colors as possible, even adding colors to my brows and facial hair, and I haven’t gone back since.
4. Who are some of your hair/beauty/style icons? What do they represent that makes them so influential to you?
A few that really spark my eye: Janelle Monae, Shea Coulee, Jaida Essence Hall, Yvie Oddly, and Cynthia Erivo.
5. Where do you find hair and style inspo?
Literally, anywhere I can. I don’t have any boundaries. Most of my inspiration comes from other Queer people I’m in community with. However, that has never stopped me from finding inspiration from people I see on the street, on social media, on tv, or even in my dreams. More recently, I’ve been super inspired by the looks people wear to Afropunk festivals. But when I’m shopping, I try to center what I purchase less in how it looks and more in how it makes me feel.
6. How does hair impact your self-expression?
My hair is an extension of with my energy. Sometimes when my hair isn’t looking its best, my friends know that I’m having a rough day. If I’m feeling myself, then the edges will be laid, sharp, and giving what it’s supposed to give. I recently added Silver to my hair, because I wanted to highlight this futuristic, sleek vibe I’m aiming for. I try to use my hair to amplify the way I want to feel.
7. Is there a certain hairstyle that makes you feel your best?
Cornrows! I got cornrows for the first time in 2019, and it made me feel so powerful. I can’t wait to return to more braided styles this summer.
8. Do you have a favorite Pride song or queer anthem?
I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross! It’s honestly a classic, and the song fills me with so much joy whenever I hear it. I can’t help but dance and vibe out whenever I hear it.
9. Anything else you’d like to share regarding your hair journey?
Yes! I hope that anyone reading this that’s thinking about changing up their hair style/color, but is nervous about employment or what people will think, should just do it. I was worried about finding work with creative hairstyles, and to be honest, I probably missed out on a couple of job opportunities. However, because I wasn’t locked in with a job that had a restrictive dress code, I could find one that allowed me to be my whole authentic self. Your hair color doesn’t make you unprofessional, and it doesn’t stop you from fulfilling the functions of your job. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a weirdo, and I feel if more people gave themselves the freedom to explore different hairstyles and colors, we could change the way society thinks about hair culture.