A mixed race woman who was bullied and dubbed ‘poodle’ for her Afro hair has been viewed more than six million times in a poignant TikTok journal that shows how she learned to love her curls.
Hannah Connaughton, 21, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who describes herself as ‘visually white’ but ‘has an Afro’, explained that she was always insecure about her curly locks and was bullied at school.
The film and media student said that after years of ironing her hair, she had become so insecure about her heat-damaged locks that she would get upset and struggle not to be “ ugly. ”
She took a video diary on TikTok, bravely candid about her insecurities and asking for advice in hopes of getting a few tips on good products.
But the video struck a chord with people around the world struggling with insecurities, including celebrities, and Hannah was inundated with support, tips, free products, and encouragement as more than six million people viewed the diary.
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Hannah Connaughton, 21, (most recently pictured) from Stockport, Greater Manchester, has gone viral on TikTok after documenting learning to love her curls
Hannah, who was bullied at school, said she spent years straightening her hair and struggled not to feel ‘ugly’. Pictured: Hannah with extensions
Hannah explained that she has battled with insecurities because she is “visually white” but “has an Afro.” Pictured: Hannah as a child
The outpour gave her the confidence to try on beautiful wigs and eventually go to a specialized structured hair salon.
Hannah’s original video posted April 12 got more than six million views and many people encouraged her to keep it short – and after being hesitant at first, she finally got the chop.
She described the experience as “ thrilling and liberating ” and says she has since been “ just getting support ” after sharing her news with her TikTok followers.
The new confident Hannah who has a short 100 percent curly do, is a long way from her first video, when she struggled to even pull her hair down.
Hannah shared her experiences on TikTok hoping to get advice on good products for her hair. In the photo left: Hannah with extensions, right: Hannah’s blonde Afro
Hannah received a lot of support from around the world, with many people advising her to cut her heat-damaged locks. Pictured: Hannah’s Afro
Her collective video diaries of her transformation have been viewed a whopping eight million times.
Hannah said, ‘I’ve straightened and bleached my natural hair or worn extensions since I was about 14 when I first became aware of it.
‘Since I look white, my hair was one of the few things about my appearance that made me look mixed breed visually, so it stood out: people at school called me a poodle or asked if I could touch it.
Hannah (pictured) said chopping off her hair was finally ‘exhilarating and liberating’ after straightening and bleaching her hair since she was 14
Hannah (pictured) said she realized every mixed and black woman can relate to her experience after receiving a hair care package from Amber Gill
‘When I asked for advice about TikTok because my hair was so damaged, I was overwhelmed by the reactions and support from people – and realized that I’m not alone, and that so many other people relate to my story.
‘I even had Amber Gill send a hair care pack because she understood my experience – which made me realize, whether celebrities or not, that every mixed and black woman has experiences like mine.
‘So many people told me I had to cut my hair short to let my curls grow naturally, and eventually I finally got the courage to make an appointment and started getting really excited to have my hair long and grow curly, as it used to be.
Hannah (pictured) said she was overwhelmed by the support she was getting from viewers on TikTok and realized she’s not alone
Hannah said she has become more confident and found a community she fits into. Pictured: Hannah wears extensions
Hannah (pictured) advises other girls to see their natural hair as beautiful, saying ‘self-love is the most powerful thing you can do’
‘I got the pork chop and I was so nervous, but it was such an exciting and liberating experience and I’ve only had support and people told me they were proud that I finally did it.’
She continued: ‘Over the past few weeks I have become so much more confident and realized I need to embrace who I am – there is a huge community of people like me, and I feel like I belong and for the first time. . time.
‘I want any girl who feels the same way I do to see that they are not alone and that their natural hair is beautiful – self love is the most powerful thing you can do, so try to embrace it.
Hannah (pictured) has received support and advice from celebrities such as Skai Jakcson, Mahalia and Amber Gill
“It took 21 years, but now I’ve learned to love myself from that side – and I can see that black is beautiful.”
Hannah, whose mother’s family was from St Kitts in the West Indies, began her confession videos on April 12 and got her hair cut on April 27.
She said her natural curls had been damaged by years of bleaching and straightening and wearing extensions.
She’s been inundated with supportive posts and advice from fellow TikTok users – and even celebrities like actress Skai Jackson, singer Mahalia, and Love Island winner Amber Gill.