Sekile Nzinga, Chief Equity Officer at Office of the Governor Illinois, 50.
“I wore my hair natural since 1993, but I had been coloring it since 2005 when it turned almost completely
white. I eventually started to question why I was dyeing my hair when I had stopped using all other chemicals in
my hair years earlier. I wondered about all the health implications of the dyes and wondered why I wasn’t just
embracing my own naturally white hair color. In 2017 I finally decided, ‘this is not me’ but decided not to do a
dramatic “big chop” but go the “skunk” route. I lived with a hard line of natural white and dark dyed hair for
over a year! I then went to a stylist on my 47th birthday and she cut it into a shoulder length bob, cutting almost
all the dyed hair out. I was scared at first, but it felt good—I felt surprisingly like myself.
This life change came around the same time I came out as queer, so I jokingly say 2017 was the year I went
“gay and gray”! For me, my gray hair, my coming out, my self-acceptance—I was uncovering the last bits of
authentic self. I am very comfortable with who I am becoming, and my gray hair is part of that journey.”