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Empire’s Grace Gealey Discusses Her Big Chop: ‘I Would Hide Behind My Hair’

Avatar • Mar 26, 2015

Grace-Gealey-400x470

If you are a fan of Empire, you have definitely taken notice of Grace Gealey’s chic hair and style. The actress, who plays Anika Calhoun on the hit show, sat down with Essence to discuss her gorgeous pixie cut — which she was rocking long before Empire. Check it out:

I used to have really long hair. It was a big fro with mad curls. When I moved to California for school my skin wasn’t used to the lack of humidity. And even though I’m light skinned, I scar like someone of a darker complexion. I was a light skinned girl with all these dark scars on her face; I was embarrassed. I would hide behind my hair and it got to the point where I was so insecure, that I said, ‘you know what Grace, you have to deal with this. You have to understand that you’re still beautiful no matter what.’ In 2008 I chopped my hair off and started using new skin products that actually worked! It was a healing process… I’ve been short ever since.

As for long hair, the actress said she’s kind of over it…

Well, I tried it [again]. And it got to shoulder length and I was like, ‘Naw, that’s not me anymore.’ I do miss my hair because I used to do so much stuff with it, but I do like different levels of short. I had a super short pixie before and I loved it.

Ladies, have you ever rocked your hair super short? For your personal style, do you prefer short or long hair?

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Dee
Dee
5 years ago

I scar easily too. I wonder what she uses.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago
Reply to  Dee

Well My sister is slightly darker than me ( I feel like I’m a medium color), so when she gets hurt and scars her scars are a darker color. So I assume (and I could be wrong) that when her scars heal that instead of her scar being a lighter sandy brown that maybe it turned into a much darker color which then brought people’s attention to her scar alot more and that is embarrassing when everyone is asking you what happened. Just yesterday I was standing next to my friend who was frying some fish and the oil popped… Read more »

HONEYJAZZ29
HONEYJAZZ29
5 years ago

I’m curious.…can someone please enlighten me on what she meant by , “I scar like someone of a darker complexion.”?…Not trying to be rude or ugly but just curious because I’m light skinned as well and never heard of such a thing.. I will admit though, her makeup and wardrobe on the show is always “on point”.… I hate her character which means she’s playing her part very well..lol

Yogurt
Yogurt
5 years ago
Reply to  HONEYJAZZ29

People with a lot of melanin in their skin scar several shades darker than their natural complexion. If you observe lighter skinned or ‘white’ people, they tend to scar without that hyperpigmentation effect. She’s saying that she does have the hyperpigmentation issue even though she has much less melanin in her skin than the average black woman.

Dee
Dee
5 years ago
Reply to  HONEYJAZZ29

I believe she is saying that acne caused her to have hyper pigmentation and scarring. Being that she is very light, the dark scars left her feeling insecure. With that being said, it was an interesting choice of words that she used.

SimplePseudonym
SimplePseudonym
5 years ago
Reply to  HONEYJAZZ29

The whole purpose of melanin is to protect our skin cell DNA. Darker skinned people tend to have a stronger skin cell protection system (which is why darker black women age most slowly, when you account for other factors such as smoking, SES, etc.) which is great in that it prevents aging and skin cancer, but bad in that a slight insult to the skin can result in an overreaction and a darker spot than desired. There are some lighter black people who have skin protection that is just as robust, so instead of getting a little scar, they get… Read more »

Lo
Lo
5 years ago

I’m light skinned as well and I admit the comment kind of annoyed me, I was thinking what did her complexion have to do with the story of you scar easily then you do lol never heard of this phenomenon of darker complexions being more prone to scarring.

Chante
Chante
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

I think she was saying that the color of her scars were the color that the scars of a dark skinned person would have instead of a light skinned person. As in they were more noticeable than say a fellow lightskinned person’s scars or another dark skinned person’s scars.

Elle
Elle
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

I was thinking the same, that’s just silly. I’m lightskin and I’m pretty sure the rest of my family all have issues with hyperpigmentation/scarring also. I think anyone of color can be prone to having scars from acne. It really just depends on your genetics and hormones if you have acne or not which usually lead to scarring.

Shelly
Shelly
5 years ago
Reply to  Lo

This is actually factual. The darker your skin, the more prone to hyperpigmentation you are. That’s why dermatologist will warn people with darker skin to stay away from procedures such as deep chemical peels etc.

Tabatha
Tabatha
5 years ago

I love her hair that short. She has a stunning face.

V.M
V.M
5 years ago

As a darker skinned person who has scarred like a bitch, I understand what she means and I’m not offended.

BUT I will say that she shouldn’t call herself “light-skinned”. Light skinned to me implies that you are a lighter skinned black person. She’s mixed.

SleepinBeauty
SleepinBeauty
5 years ago
Reply to  V.M

As a dark skin person who has no scars I was shocked and offended about the comment additionally I have lighter skinned friends and family who’s skin scars.…so it’s really not about complexion at the end of the day. Oh yeah the article was extremely mislead .

roo08
roo08
5 years ago
Reply to  V.M

I agree but I’m guessing she considers herself black.

Myllee
Myllee
5 years ago
Reply to  V.M

But describing your skin color as nothing to do with your background. Mixed people comes in all kind of shades. There is no of such a thing as briracial skinned lol!

V.M
V.M
5 years ago
Reply to  Myllee

She’s not black. She’s part white. Does she call herself “dark-skinned” in the presence of white people? I doubt it.

HeartOne
HeartOne
5 years ago
Reply to  V.M

There is nothing wrong with describing oneself and dark or lightskinned. There are many people from India and Sri Lanka who are dark-skinned– and much darker than many black people. Anybody, white, black, bi-racial, asian can be dark-skinned or light-skinned.

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago
Reply to  HeartOne

You’re correct. However in the black community biracials and blacks are erroneously lumped as the same. Therefore in our case it is wiser to specify whether black or mixed instead of just describing skin tone (since people of the same race can come in different shades).Yes she is technically light skinned but she is not the same as a lighter skinned black person with 2 black parents.

bew
bew
5 years ago

I’m sorry but this is. A big disappointment. Can we as black people ever stand for anything?? Where are the pics with her curly hair! She should note have said the comment about darker skin scarring because she’s not articulate enough to explain what she meant!!

Veronica
Veronica
5 years ago

I don’t watch much TV but this lady kills it on so many levels!! Her style, her hair, her makeup! Woo!! This is making me want to cut my hair in shorter tapered style.

Bigantic
Bigantic
5 years ago

My ears are too uneven for super short cuts.

g
g
5 years ago

all ppl that are black or half black usually get dark marks. so, idk what she is talking about…light skin ppl will get dark marks because of the melanin they have…that’s just common knowledge.

Mishawn
Mishawn
5 years ago
Reply to  g

She comes across as someone who is not that familiar with speaking about her blackness. Is it her mom that’s white? That could explain it.

Sweetasbanana
Sweetasbanana
5 years ago

Where’s the natural hair? And she can’t be light-skinned if you’re biracial.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

Why not?

H
H
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

You have never seen dark skinned bi racial people? They exist.…

Sweetasbanana
Sweetasbanana
5 years ago
Reply to  H

I just think that light-skinned and dark-skinned term should only belong to the black people. It’s just my opinion. Biracials are not black.

HeartOne
HeartOne
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

Why should it only belong to black people when there are people in other parts of the world (Sri Lanka) who are even darker than many black people. I just don’t get it. Why is dark-light reserved only for blacks?

Anon46
Anon46
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

Biracial people are whatever they choose to identify themselves as. And, unless you live under a rock & are very young & have never been expoxed to.anything, you do know that Blacks aren’t the only race to describe complexion as light or dark? Are people jealous or upset with this woman or biracial or mixed race people? I swear, Black women find an excuse.to get mad or make issue about every stupid thing. I’m brown skinned, my hair grows long but I prefer it short & I’ve never had an inferiority complex bc of my skin tone.

Mishawn
Mishawn
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

But her skin is light. How should she describe it? I’m mixed as well, and I describe my color as medium or caramel.

Sweetasbanana
Sweetasbanana
5 years ago
Reply to  Mishawn

Good for you, I just think the those terms should belong to the black community, not the biracial community because that’s where it started. It’s my opinion.

Camille
Camille
5 years ago
Reply to  Sweetasbanana

People who are light that have 2 black parents are light for the same reason as biracial people are. It’s just genes. Almost all american blacks have PLENTY of biracial or less ancestors even if it wasn’t called that back then. Both of my parents are from mixed families and I didn’t hear the terms “light skinned” and “dark skinned” until pretty recently. I thought it was a rap thing honestly.

MelyB
MelyB
5 years ago

my skin wasn’t used to the lack of humidity. And even though I’m light skinned, I scar like someone of a darker complexion.” SMH, if there was an eye-roll gif, I’d post it.

LuvBlack
LuvBlack
5 years ago
Reply to  MelyB

Yes, didn’t quite understand that statement unless she trying to describe keloid type formations.….. hmmmm…smh

agman
agman
5 years ago

I think what she meant to say was as a “lighter skinned” mixed individual. Not that big of a deal folks.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

I like short and long but not in between. I didn’t know there was a difference between light skin and dark skin and scarring. Never heard that before.

Hair Anomaly
Hair Anomaly
5 years ago

Ahhh, short hair. I used to be bald, skinny, and fierce, and I loved it. After 2 of going from bald to APL, I have been asking myself lately why I am bothering to grow my hair long again. Vanity, I suppose. I am slowly realizing that I am one of those women who was just meant for short hair. I need to stop fighting it.

Josselyne H.
Josselyne H.
5 years ago

i have.. and i loved it, but it was relaxed and required curling every so often. I really want to do it again, but with my natural hair. not educated enough to know how to do it yet..but some day I will.

Brown Girl
Brown Girl
5 years ago

i dont understand why some people are saying that she shouldnt refer to herself as light skinned because she is biracial.……???? i kno some biracial people who are darker complected not all biracial people have light skin.

alt-K
alt-K
5 years ago

Can the sister live? Why do we attack each other so much? So what if she describes herself as “light-skinned” and she is biracial!? She is, in fact, light-skinned. So what if her hair is straightened? She didn’t do an interview exclusively for BGLH. It looks as though the photo was taken from another site. As a former long haired natural, I totally get feeling like I hid behind my hair. My hair provided me an excuse to not keep up other things such as makeup or jewelry because I depended entirely on the beauty of my hair. I recently… Read more »

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  alt-K

I really think it’s jealousy quite frankly! And when a woman is stunningly gorgeous and has the nerve to have A LIGHT SKIN COMPLEXION, the knives come out. Black women really need to get over their insecurities!

Dana
Dana
5 years ago

Honestly don’t understand why no one gets what she said. All blacks who have a lighter complexion are mikes with something. Deal with it people. It could be Native American Caucasian Asian or Arab. And it could be over 100 years ago. Because it is in the past they decide it is more convenient to forget this. Dark or brown skinned blacks could also be mixed race and just not have inherited the skin genes. There should really be no divide between birracial and African American because most African Americans are mixed. Stop ignorantly believing your only ancestry is from… Read more »

R Says
R Says
5 years ago

Black girl. Long Hair. Natural.
Under which category does she fit?

cheryl
cheryl
5 years ago
Reply to  R Says

She’s black and her hair is natural but straightened. So your snide point is what?!!!

J.Nicole
5 years ago

Not every biracial person is going to look like Mariah Carey- some will look like Halle Berry or Tiger Woods or even Lauren London. The latter, to me simply look like Black people of a lighter complexion. No matter what, it’s up to her to decide how she classifies. There seems to be some people on major ends of the spectrum; those who want everyone to be considered Black and those who think Blackness has to have a very specific look. It’s kind of sad. I don’t consider myself light skin, but I can totally understand how it feels to have… Read more »

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  J.Nicole

I had been watching Halle Berry for years when I heard it mentioned she was biracial. I had no idea. Also I have known people that until I saw there parents I didn’t know. People have a stereotype of what half black people look like when TBH most of my family has a lighter complexion than most biracial-black people I know so I think it’s not good to assume. Look at Tom Joyner and Vanessa Williams. They are not biracial. Also I caught chicken pox at 17 and it left me with marks on my face. My mom bought me… Read more »

Krysten
Krysten
5 years ago

just because she’s biracial doesn’t mean that she can’t be considered light skin. she obviously identifies with her black side more. If I didn’t know that she was mixed I would of considered her just a light skinned black girl.

Camille
Camille
5 years ago

Just my personal opinion, but I think this push for biracial people to “be their own race” is a white supremacy concept. Just look at countries that have separate categories and see how well the black people of any amount are doing there. No thanks, I don’t want to live in the 1940’s and worship white people. I’ve seen a lot of Spanish language TV, and you won’t see anyone who looks even 1/4 black, or even brown latin people represented despite the fact that there are way more people who look like that than the ones who are at… Read more »

Lola Aikins
Lola Aikins
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

This whole one drop rule is complicated . In South Africa biracial people are not considered black . They are called ’ coloured’. Even though they faced the same problems as black people they still had more privileges than us. Because they were closer than White . The USA confuses me . If you’re gonna have biricial people called black even if they’re half white and half black then in my opinion they should be also be allowed to be considered white . However White people don’t want PoC of colour to be part of their race because they believe… Read more »

Camille
Camille
5 years ago
Reply to  Lola Aikins

Yes, whenever I’ve seen documentaries about how the mixed groups were treated in other countries, it was still MUCH worse than the black people in America post-civil rights. The social realities of being mixed with black are almost identical to being completely black. In America even in the 60’s, the doctor decided what race the black baby was- black, mulatto, or indian, and you could have siblings with different “races”. I think this is just being repackaged and sold as unity, color blindness, and “the future”, while whites have no intention of actually including people who are mixed with white.… Read more »

iman campbell7
iman campbell7
5 years ago
Reply to  Lola Aikins

The USA confuses me”
Its really nothing to be confused about. People who are mixed black and white are typically viewed as black because back-in-the-day they were rejected by their white family and their black family took them in. If that was the case and they were rejected by their white sides they were raised in black households and grew up in black culture so that’s all they knew. Langston Hughes, Bob Marley, Halle Berry, and Freddrick Douglas are all half-white and are seen as pillars in the black community. It’s really nothing confusing about it.….

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
5 years ago
Reply to  Camille

Um no. White supremacy invented the one drop rule and black folks are fighting to keep ?t alive. The treatment of black people is not a matter of whether mixed folks are lumped in with black folks or not

Camille
Camille
5 years ago
Reply to  eve-audrey

The One Drop Rule was evil, but the unity and sharing of resources that came out of it put us almost a century ahead of countries who have MUCH larger black populations. I still think they just want us to divide our resources and voices.

How black people are treated and how mixed race blacks people are treated ARE related, and it usually ends up with BOTH groups being worse off than they would be if they could see their common ground.

heavysigh15
heavysigh15
5 years ago

Grace and her mother

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

Are you suggesting that calling a mixed person mixed is a reflection of insecurity???

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
5 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Vee

Yes she is lol.

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
5 years ago

That is the most original justification for supporting the one drop rule that i have ever read. Maybe black americans worked to have their resources regardless of what status was given to mixed race people? I am not saying there aren”t biracials who identify with black people but i fail to see how the one drop rule gives the black collective more resources?

Camille
Camille
5 years ago
Reply to  eve-audrey

I’m not justifying it, but when I look at countries that have intricate racial classification systems, I think our way is actually the more progressive one, regardless of the original cause. There aren’t many black american historical figures who aren’t at least 1/8 white. What if our ancestors had only decided to fight for mulatto rights? Both groups would have been weakened in their fight against a common enemy.

Fayla
5 years ago

Oh no! How did an article about a short haircut end up a LS vs DS vs BR discussion? 🙁

Me lady
Me lady
5 years ago

I never comment on these things but I had to comment on your post…Why do you rant and rave about everything? I have seen your posts on other articles and you definitely have an attitude problem. Take a chill pill and stop letting everything offend you.

Me lady
Me lady
5 years ago

I see short haircuts like graces and I absolutely love them! I use to have a short pixie cut a time or two when I was relaxed. Now that I’m natural, I’m afraid to straighten my hair again (I once had a fight with a hair straightener that lasted 2 years long… not going back there again lol) but I think haircuts like hers and halle berry’s are so cute! once I reach my limit go I may get bored and chop it all off again.…hmmm.…

tracy
tracy
5 years ago

She is a very pretty black woman

BeastOfNoNation
BeastOfNoNation
4 years ago

she’s not black though. she’s mixed…

Sarita
Sarita
4 years ago

I just love Grace and Trai. They make such a beautiful couple! Now, ‘scarring like a darker person’. What does that mean? I once had a nurse say something just a ridiculous: ‘darker people keloid after surgery’. BS! I am almost as dark as Black people can be and I don’t keloid nor do I scare badly. In fact, I rarely retain scares from anything. Whew. I just had to say that. All better now.–With me anyway. Still love you.

Diane
Diane
5 years ago

I am from NJ and lived in CA for many years. I know what she meant by the climate impacting her skin (I am brown skinned-stating this only to make a point), but I adapted by changing my skincare products and eating differently and got awesome results. Regarding the skin color, multiethnic (we are all of the human ‘race’ no such animal as bi, tri-racial). People of color need to understand that we come in all shades and hair types, and we need to identify as God designed humans. Peel away this outer shell and surprise, surprise we are all… Read more »

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

Here is an interview where Grace says she is “light skin black woman”. Nuff said. She goes on to say she doesn’t see why in the US people make such a big deal out of complexion where they don’t in the Cayman Islands.
http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2015/03/empires-grace-gealey.html

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