Natalie Johnson, Arts teacher, 29.
“I started graying around 18 and I think my mom sort of slipped me some hair dye, which is funny to reflect on now and I just kept dyeing it. I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do. But something changed for me on my 27th birthday. It was my golden birthday and gold became a theme that year. Gold shoes, gold clothes…I wanted some of my gray streaks to show through. Just a little bit of gray/silver, with some purple in it too, then the rest dark brown. My beautician was on board with the idea. But the purple wouldn’t take and there was so much boxed dye in my hair that they had to strip away everything. So, I went from dark brown to blonde. That was not my plan, but
it went with the gold theme. And as the gray started coming in more, it wasn’t as obvious.
Going gray felt like…just unlocking part of myself. A lot of me wanted to fit in, to be mainstream. I didn’t like to be the center of attention. But now with the gray I feel like my style has changed. It became more authentically me. I was a t-shirt and blue jeans kind of person before, but now I am more daring with what I wear. I am freer now, more authentic. I’m not covering anything up anymore. I’m committed to gray; it’s become kind of my thing.”