Hated sunburns, wished I was black.

Donna Cook,
Roseville, MN.

I have very fair skin, Fitzpatrick Scale I, and growing up in Los Angeles meant lots of unintended, fairly serious, and wretchedly painful sunburns. I was also a bit of a tomboy wild child who would refuse to let my mother brush my hair, hair she intentionally left long as a final girly rebuke. One day, my father happened to be watching “Conan the Barbarian” when I got home from school. During that mesmerizing 90mins, Grace Jones became my childhood hero. Not only could she kick ass, she was beautifully dark brown AND had short hair! I asked why *she* was allowed to have short hair, and my father vaguely replied that very short hair was normal and acceptable for black women (and *not* for little white girls!). For the next several years I wished (and even prayed) to be like Grace Jones, willowy yet strong, tall and handsome, and wonderfully brown with fabulous, tangle-and-mean-hairbrush free short hair!

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