Since her early days in the music industry, Willow Smith has always marched to the beat of her own drum. We got a taste of her one-of-a-kind style at 10 when she released “Whip My Hair” and later as an act of rebellion, she shaved her head. Today at 21 years old, she is rocking a shaved style proving that she still hasn’t fallen victim to society’s standards of beauty. Willow has also ventured into metal, a genre that her mother Jada Pinkett Smith has occupied for many years but is still predominantly white.
In the cover story for Glamour UK, the “Lipstick” songstress reflected on her younger days, her journey as a Black woman in metal, and her relationship with beauty.
Willow on Shaving Her Head
“Shaving my head is maybe the most radical thing I’ve done in the name of beauty.”
Willow on Being a Child Star
“Yikes. I mean, I was definitely fearless back in the day! I think a little bit more about things before I do them now, which is a good thing. I feel like I’m forever evolving and trying to find the most authentic version of myself. I think that’s a lifelong thing.”
Willow on Her Relationship with Her Hair
“As a Black woman there were a lot of layers to my relationship with my hair and skin growing up; it was definitely a learning curve.”
“However I’m feeling, I like to do that. I don’t really like to think about it too much. I love to be free with it. I think just being me sometimes is radical.”
“I had to look up to other beautiful Black women. Just looking at someone who’s like me, living their truth and doesn’t let what society says tear them down. I think that was the most important [influence] for me as a child.”
Willow on Jada Pinkett Smith Influencing Her Music Career
“That was my first experience with music touring. And just watching her as a Black woman in this crazy metal scene. I was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ I loved it. My mom showed me everything. I still go to her now like, ‘You got any new stuff for me to listen to?’”
Willow on the Pushback She Received When Wanting to do a Rock Album
“When I wanted to do a rock album, there were a lot of executives that were like, ‘Hmm…’ If I had been white, it would’ve been completely fine; but because I’m Black it’s, ‘Well… maybe let’s just not’ – and making it harder than it needs to be. If I go through that, every single other Black artist is getting the pushback [too].”
Willow on How the Industry Can Empower More Women in Music
“I think the music scene reflects the world. For a long time, women have been looked at and expected to be in these boxes. It’s up to the people who have been a part of the oppressing, but it’s also up to us to step out of that. That’s scary, and it’s sometimes dangerous.”
“We need to make better spaces for each other and stop expecting other people to make spaces for us. We need to start holding our sisters, and start listening to each other the way that we wish other people would.”
Willow on Taking Care of Her Mental Health
“Sometimes [managing your mental health] is so overwhelming that you can’t really bring yourself to do much else besides reminding yourself of the things that really matter. For me, I love a good mantra. Recently, my mantra has been, ‘I accept everything as it is, and I’m grateful for it.’ Repeating that over and over again; that’s been really helping me.”
“If you don’t talk about it, I don’t know how the healing’s going to start. Even if it’s to yourself in the mirror, you know? I do that all the time.”
“I’ll literally talk to myself like I’m my best friend. And then be like, okay, what would my friend say to me right now? What would someone who really, really loves me say to me? It kind of feels unnatural because our own minds are so harsh sometimes.”
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Featured image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage