Actress Zoë Kravitz is opening up about the entertainment industry's beauty standards and its impact on her life.
Since Kravitz --the daughter of singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet-- made her acting debut nearly two decades ago in 2007's No Reservations, she has been a force to reckon with.
Over the years, the 34-year-old has selectively chosen roles that best showcase the range of her abilities and has remained authentic to herself by speaking up about issues she feels are essential such as Hollywood's pushback toward Black hairstyles.
Earlier this year, in an interview with Elle magazine, Kravitz shared details about the struggles she faced within the entertainment industry because she wanted to wear a protective style, mainly micro braids, and how Hollywood has changed its tune following the murder of George Floyd and the rise of Black Lives Matter movement.
Zoë On Wearing Braids In Hollywood
In the discussion, Kravitz disclosed that before Floyd died in 2020, she was often "fighting" about how she would wear her hair on the set of numerous projects, including photo shoots.
The High Fidelity star recalled when she went to various photo shoots with her braids, a stylist asked her to remove them so that her hair could be done differently. Kravitz added that her direct response to the request would always be "pretend this is the way it grows out of my head."
Kravitz shared that the reason behind her statement is because of how long it takes to get her hair done, and over time, she noticed that her white counterparts weren’t receiving the same treatment when they would change their looks by dying their hair.
"[Pre-George Floyd], I was constantly just fighting [about my hair] and being asked to change it. I would do a shoot, and this still happens to be honest, where they'll say, 'Can you take your braids out? Because we want to do something else.' And I always reply, 'Pretend this is the way it grows out of my head," she said.
"You don't ask people that have long blonde hair to change their hair every time they do a shoot.' It's interesting that I'm often asked to pop them braids out. Do you know how long this takes? And it's also the way I wear my hair."
When the topic shifted to how long it usually takes for Kravitz to get her micro braids installed, The Batman star claimed that it can take about "12 to 15 hours." During those moments when Kravitz is getting her hair done by two braiders at a time, she uses it as an excuse to relax by smoking weed and watching films.
Zoë On Hollywood Becoming More Conscious
Further in the interview, Kravitz explained how Hollywood and the entertainment industry have changed in recent years and the work that still needs to be done.
Kravitz revealed that Black people in the entertainment industry are now being offered roles that "go beyond stories about being Black." The Big Little Lies star added that Hollywood still needs to grow in some aspects by making room for more Black female directors, particularly when it comes to telling the story of other Black people.
"I think there's more of a consciousness around making sure that Black women, Black people, get to be a part of stories that go beyond stories about being Black, and then also finding ways to bring that truth into a story. For a long time, it was about being—if it was a Black woman, with a white man, it was about that, you know what I mean? It couldn't just be a love story between two people," she said.
“I think that's really exciting. And ways I would like [the industry] to continue to grow—I want more Black directors. I want more Black female directors. In terms of telling our story, I would be excited to work with more Black female directors. So let's make more room for that."
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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