Model Maria Borges is no stranger to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. In fact, she has walked the runway three times in a row. However, for her third appearance at the Victoria's Secret runway show, Borges rocked a much different look that deviated from the common VS Angel hairstyle we are all too used to seeing: She got rid of her hair extensions and embraced her natural hair in all it's glory.
The 23-year-old Angolan model undoubtedly stole the spotlight at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show not only because she traded in her standard bombshell waves for short natural curly hair, but also because she made history by being one of the first models to actually hit the VS runway with an afro. In 2006, Ajuma Nasenyana caught the positive attention of many with her fully shaved head and in 2001, Alek Wek styled her hair in cornrows. On a similar note, Karlie Kloss helped change the game when she introduced her bob cut. Now, Maria Borges can say that because of her bold decision to wear her hair natural, she is also proving that beauty truly is diverse.
Borges, who chopped off her long locks after some convincing from Givenchy artistic director Riccardo Tisci before walking at New York Fashion Week, spoke of her groundbreaking decision with Essence, "I told my agent I wanted to walk in the Victoria's Secret show with my natural hair, I was nervous, but I had to do it. When they said 'yes,' I didn't expect it, but I was so happy!"
This is such an important move on Maria's part since she is challenging beauty standards defined by culture and the media, and she is encouraging females all around the world, from young girls to grown women, to not conform to restrictive beauty stereotypes. She also was willing to share a few words of encouragement of her own, "Be strong," she said. "If you say you're beautiful without hair and makeup, then they will believe you. It's about being confident and always being yourself.
On December 8, the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will air on CBS.
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