Mizzou students show off manes and mops, locks and ’fros
James C. Smith - sophomore geology major
’Fro: When I left my hometown for college, I wanted to redefine how people saw me in a readily obvious way, and for me the most obvious choice was hair. I feel like it worked out pretty well. Even people I don't know, who go here, know about "that tall guy with the afro," "the younger Bob Ross" or (a personal favorite of mine) "Garfunkle." The hair changes how I see myself. It's a constant reminder of who I am and who I want to be. As if that weren't enough, it's a wonderful conversation starter, it helps me feel obstacles before I hit my head on them (very helpful when you're 6′7″), and it even keeps my ears warm.
Awal Geng - freshman computer science major
Partial braids: I chose this hairstyle because it’s simple and low-maintenance. The only decisions I have to make with it are "Do I want it up or down today?" To me, my hair is part of my identity. It’s how people recognize me. It’s how I recognize myself.
Aaron Arinder - senior philosophy major
Beard: Around the age of 12, I began reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels, and fell in love with the writing style, characters and author. Since then I've wanted a beard like Dostoevsky's.
Marissa Small - junior health sciences major
Bun: I decided to go with this hairstyle because it was something quick and easy but classy. My hair means a lot to me, and I always try to keep it maintained and nice and neat. I absolutely love my hair and will do anything to make sure it looks presentable at all times!
Justin Whitfield - senior biochemistry major
Dreadlocks: I grew my dreadlocks out when a deep Caribbean influence entered my life. This sparked an interest not only in the history of the hair but also in concepts about dreadlocks being connected to life growth, and its ability to act as a timeline for the different stages in a person’s life resonated with me.
Kat Seal - senior sustainable agriculture major
Undercut: I wear this hairstyle to challenge the conventional image of beauty. Hair is a prominent symbol of beauty in our society and is often limited to a few restricted images. I often felt like I was too valued by my hair, so I shaved part of it off to challenge that mindset for myself and others.
Christopher Akins - senior textile and apparel management major
Dreadlocks: I chose it because I was tired of having to find a barber, and I wanted to add to my individual look. In the field I work for, I get a lot of attention for my look, and I use it to my advantage.
Rebecca Barron - sophomore biology/education double major
Powerful ponytail: I really didn't choose it; it chose me. I was in a rush one day, threw it up, and my bangs were to too long to leave, so I used bobby pins to pin it back. People at my school said they liked it and said that it became what they recognized me as. People often think it's fake, but it's my real hair — had it this long since I was 12.
ChengCheng Zhu - sophomore architectural design major
It doesn't mean anything to me, just a hair style.
Kristy Flores - freshman food science and nutrition major
Pink hair: I chose to dye my hair pink because I really love color, and there's no place better to express my love of color than my hair. In high school, we were not allowed to have any coloring in our hair; therefore the summer was the only time I could do anything unique to my hair. I believe that my hair represents my personality, which is unique, loud and fun.
Tony Hodgson - freshman mechanical engineering major
Mohawk mullet/mullethawk/mohullet: I honestly think my hair is kind of goofy. It's fun and different, and a big factor in actually cutting it this way was knowing that I doubt I will ever be able to have a hairstyle like this when I'm older and trying to start a career.
Imani Walker - junior psychology major
Natural hair with color at the ends: I choose this hairstyle because I wanted to wear my natural hair, but I wanted a twist with it. I feel like the color adds a little extra spark, and it goes well with my skin complexion. I also have a bright personality, so it only made sense for me to add some spice to my hair. I absolutely love fun colors in hair. I've even considered dying all of my hair blue at one point.
John Thomas - sophomore pre-journalism/broadcast major
High-top fade/box: When I was young I always wanted to get this hairstyle. It wasn’t until I was in high school when I decided to do it. It's a throwback look that I liked before I even had it.
Brittany Crocker - senior journalism major
Wild and curly: I was born with it, and frankly I think I'd look like a tool with straight hair. It bothered me as a kid, but now I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
Joseph "Joe Joe" Coleman - sophomore secondary-education language arts major
Dreadlocks braided into a bun: It's really long, so at times it can be a burden wearing my hair down. My hair is basically my stamp. Nine out of 10 people who describe me use my hair in the description. It's just what I'm known for among my friends and also my family since I'm the only person in my family with dreads.
Erin Osborne - junior English major
Dreadlocks: I spent most of my life fighting against my hair, trying to make it do things it didn’t want to do. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that the proverbial lightbulb came on and I realized that my hair just wanted to be free, so I freed it. I think of my hair as my own little piece of living art. It’s homage to my creativity, and it has become an integral part of my identity. People recognize my hair before they recognize me, and I have been told that it even smells good. If you catch a whiff of patchouli on the wind, I’m probably near.
Clarke DeLisle - freshman geology major
Undercut: I was a senior in high school and getting ready to go to prom. My girlfriend and I decided to go with a ’20s theme. Looking back at ’20s hairstyles, the undercut was very popular. I decided to just go for it and shaved the sides the night before prom, and I just fell in love with it.
Chasidy Allen - senior biology and art double major
Locks: I've had every other hairstyle, and I'm always changing my hair/color. I chose to lock my hair to show myself that I had the patience to keep it this way.
Lexus Mans - junior information technology major
Cornrows: I thought it was really cool. Famous musicians like Lloyd and Ludacris inspired me. When people tell me I should cut my hair, I tell them, "Never. It's a part of me and my personality."
Ebony Jackson - master’s student in architectural studies
Box braids: I chose this hairstyle because it is known as a protective style that aids in hair growth. A couple of months ago, I decided to go natural and embrace my natural hair by not using harmful chemicals or heat on my hair. Normally, when making this decision, a lot of women decide to do a big chop, but I really did not want to go that route. Instead I am choosing to allow my hair to grow out by getting protective styles like box braids, which help the process of growing my chemically processed hair out.
Mark Nicolais, aka JC Aslan - master’s student in religious studies
Matted hair, commonly referred to as dreadlocks among westerners and jata among South Asians: To me this hairstyle is a symbol that means I reject certain corrupt elements of society. It is a way of visibly separating myself from the larger culture in which I live. It shows others that you can be in but not of the world.
Lauren Elliott - master’s student in magazine design
Bantu knots: I wear my hair like this because it is low-maintenance, and when I take it out I have a completely new texture than what my hair would usually be like, without doing anything to it. This style (like most natural styles) allows me to express the fact that I don’t really care what other people think about my hair (not too much, anyway). It’s freeing to be able to wake up and just walk out of the door, without worrying about my hair, and still feel like an individual.