Last week marked the third consecutive year Maria Borges graced the catwalk of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but this year’s appearance has an even bigger milestone attached. This year, for the first time, the 23-year-old beauty eschewed flowing hair extensions and instead rocked her neatly cropped Afro. It was a move that could only be summed up as daring, bold and deeply empowering.
The Angolan model told People StyleWatch that going weave-free was “one of the best feelings, ever!”
“I’d like to thank Victoria’s Secret for giving me the opportunity to help women around the globe embrace their own beauty,” she said. “It was important [to have this moment] but it mostly felt natural. To me, it was the right thing to do. Being yourself is always the right thing to do. By being yourself, I mean choosing the hairstyle that you want, not what people ask you to do in order to be beautiful or sexy in their eyes.”
She even had more time to actually enjoy the experience with the other girls, she says, because “I literally spent 10 seconds at the hair section backstage.” Borges initially debuted her natural ‘do at the Givenchy Fall 2015 Couture show at the request of creative director Riccardo Tisci.
“He asked me to change my hairstyle,” Borges told Style.com. “He had asked me last season as well, but I had booked an H&M campaign that same week and at the time I wasn’t feeling as comfortable with change. This season I finally felt ready, and I’m glad that I did.”
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(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)