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Aussie hairdresser calls for mandatory Afro and curly hair training at TAFE

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTINA YENKO
WORDS BY ROSANNA WATTS

You’ll want to sign this.

Aussie hairdresser Chrissy Zemura is petitioning TAFE to include Afro and curly hair training in its cert III hairdressing course. Chrissy has been a hairstylist for all hair types for eight years but is fed up with the lack of knowledge in the Australian haircare industry when it comes to afro and curly hair.

Her petition calls for eight different subjects to be added to the curriculum, which means over one million Black and First Nation Australians might finally have easy access to a hairdresser who understands their hair. 

Although the recent explosion of Black Lives Matter activism was originally targeting police brutality, it’s spurred a global push for change in all existing social structures. Chrissy’s petition and proposed TAFE training is an important part of that push, and it’s bringing to light yet another covert form of oppression BIPOC face in our society.

Because most Australian hairdressers lack the training, many international models and actors who have Afro or curly hair bring along their own hairdressers from overseas. This not only costs Aussie hair stylists local jobs but also points to a crucial issue of inclusivity in the Aussie hair industry. 

What’s more, in the Australian fashion industry Afro or curly-haired models often have to bring their own products and tools to shoots or are left with their hair unstyled. Chrissy’s petition will help fix this issue and ensure every model gets the professional styling they deserve. 

Chrissy also makes the point that the training would give Aussie hairstylists a serious career boost. Given that many Aussie hair-pros go overseas to work at fashion shows, a solid knowledge of Afro and curly hair styling will help them thrive both locally and internationally. 

There are fundamental differences between Afro and non-Afro hair, which is why detailed training is a must for all hairdressers. Chrissy’s proposed subjects take into account these differences and include science, scalp care, cutting, styling, manipulation, chemical treatment and knowledge of specific products and tools. 

You can join over 9,000 others and sign her petition here.

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