Dariana Portes
email: dportes@pratt.edu
Instagram: @darianaportes

When I was younger, I had an image of myself skewed by eurocentric ideals and media, so I bridged a connection between what I was exposed to with my White-passing mother. As a child and to this day she is the woman I idolize the most, but when my inner hatred and confusion over my ethnicity took over, my colorist attitudes were projected into the roots of my hair. The mirror on my childhood dresser was already enough. Stabs at my appearance, whether by self-infliction or by others had bled longer than I thought and continued to fuel my own self-doubt. Being born to a fair-skinned Latina woman with thick, luscious hair that I’d run my fingers through made me want more than just braids and hair clips, and led me to my first box of Olive Oil Relaxing Creme at age five.

Using my hair as a safety blanket for fitting in instead made me stick out like a sore thumb: “You look like you have broom hair”, “why does it look like you stuck a fork in a socket?” I soon found it easy for myself to repel these types of comments as these same individuals found the need to compliment my natural hair and ask me how I style it years later. These images work as a form of self-reflection on the many forms of life my hair has taken along with the emotional impact it has imposed on me. With the use of soft lighting and available light, I manipulate and use hair as a subject to represent myself coming to terms with the past and present of my hair journey.