Within the hair industry, there’s a huge wealth of talented Latinx stylists, but you almost wouldn’t know it based on the names and faces that are regularly given the spotlight. Despite the fact that a person’s race or background has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to style hair, Latinx stylists and hair artists have long struggled to get recognition for their work, been largely overlooked for opportunities, and made to feel like there isn’t really a space for them in this industry.
If you’ve wondered where all the Latinx icons are in this field, you’re not alone. Hairstylist Chita Beseau has wondered the exact same thing. “I was thinking about this and it really got me thinking that there aren’t any that I know of,” she shared. In an effort to ensure better understanding about this important industry matter, The Tease spoke to Beseau to hear her thoughts on the current state of Latinx representation in the hair space, the barriers many Latinx artists face in this field, her advice for aspiring Latinx stylists, and more.
The Tease: How does it feel to be able to represent Latinas in your career as a hairstylist?
Chita Beseau: I’m happy to share our culture, diversity, and traditions in my creativity. Latinas don’t really have access to advanced education especially if English is their second language. It can limit their quality of education and hold them back.
Who are some of your inspirations in the hair industry and why do you admire them?
Beseau: There is one Latina I know of as a color icon, Lupe Voss. She is so creative and talented. I get so happy when I realize industry icons and talented artists are Latinx because I feel the familiarly of how they grew up and the sacrifices that have been made by our parents or even ourselves to be here. There are way more representations of men like Sam Villa and George Alderete and Johnny Ramirez, who are few that I also look up to.
You mentioned to me previously how there weren’t many Latinx industry icons that came to mind—particularly ones that are women. How important is it to have industry icons that look like you?
Beseau: I have so many artists I have learned from personally that I never stopped and thought of what their race or nationality was. I just loved what they had to teach. I have realized that we all look different but when you find a familiarity whether it be the way you were raised or your similar interest and just happen to share the same culture, you tend to feel more is possible and understood. It’s a very warm, welcoming feeling.
What is your general view about Latinx representation in the hair industry today?
Beseau: There should be more acceptance of Latinas. Period. We come in all colors and don’t want to be necessarily put in a box, but need to be represented.
Talk to me about the barriers that Latinx hairstylists face trying to make it to the top of this field.
Beseau: I think because of the lack of representation, our families don’t see the success we can have in this industry, so we have a lot to prove, not only to them, but to all of society as well as dealing with the profiling that goes with being Latinx or immigrants.
Do you think that recently there has been signs of change in terms of Latinx representation in the hair industry? Explain.
Beseau: I do see more representation in the last year, but only with men and I wonder if we are not as accepting with women because I don’t see as many.
How can we continue to push for more visibility for Latinx artists in the hair industry?
Beseau: Give them a platform to be creative and share their culture. We could all be inspired by this.
As Latinx Heritage Month comes to a close, why is it important that we continuously celebrate those who have long been underrepresented, like the Latinx community?
Beseau: It’s important because we have a huge community that is starving for inspiration and representation. This would build confidence for so many to aspire to do more and hopefully keep inspiring other artists.
What advice would you give to any Latinx hairstylists who are trying to break into the industry?
Beseau: Don’t be afraid to bring it and be you! I promise you are what everyone needs.
To learn more about Beseau and see more of her incredible work, be sure to follow @chitabeseau on Instagram.