An advocate for natural hair, boxer Ramla Ali is the perfect role model for curly-haired girls, with haircare brand Pantene announcing the champion boxer as the one of the first members of its new ‘Power Squad’.
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I’m so excited to announce that I am a Pantene Power Squad brand ambassador. @pantene believe in the transformative Power of Hair: a great hair day, no matter what that looks like, can make you feel stronger and more powerful and this is something that really struck a chord with me. My hair has always been a huge part of my identity but growing up I never felt truly comfortable with how it looked. Now, I love being a bit different. My hair gives me the confidence to have my game face on – in and out of the ring. #AD #PowerofHair
The first Muslim woman to win a boxing title for the UK, she moved from war-torn Somalia to London as a child in the 1990s, and picked up the sport as a teen. She went on to win both the British and English titles in 2016, and is currently in training to compete at the 2020 Olympics.
Speaking with Harper’s BAZAAR U.K, Ali detailed how her Islamic faith celebrates hair as being “really important; it's considered a woman's beauty”.
However, Ali says that learning to love her locks was a journey of self-acceptance, telling BAZAAR “I never really liked my hair growing up, because I'd see girls on television and they would always have straight hair.”
"Over time, I learned to embrace my hair and to be more confident. There wasn't one moment where I suddenly thought, 'I love my hair', but it helped when I started to see more diversity on television, including girls with hair like mine. Now, I like the fact that my hair is not the same as everyone else's. I'd describe my hair as: big, bouncy, loud and proud. Who wants to be the same as everyone else?
"I wish that someone who looked like me had been in a haircare campaign when I was growing up. I think I'd have loved my hair a bit more and probably not have tried to straighten it as much as I did, so I wouldn't have as much damage now."
Ali joins fellow Brits Katie Piper and Paris Lees for Pantene’s new campaign.