This Is What Happens When You Grow Up Being Told You Have ‘Pelo Malo’

"It definitely gave me some deep rooted anxiety."

Julissa Calderon remembers clearly how her family disparaged her curly hair as a little girl, and she’s not alone.

The Pero Like producer sat down four Latinx for a video about the impact of being told they have “pelo malo” (or bad hair) growing up and how they feel about their curls today. 

“I am all too familiar with that phrase, I grew up thinking that my hair was of pelo malo,” one woman says in the video. “I was like kind of ostracized and they would bully me for my hair because I was different.”

Another woman says her hair gave her “some deep-rooted anxiety” and was hurt by how much anxiety it gave her grandmother. The participants also discuss getting their hair chemically straightened, or relaxed, and how long it’s taken them to love their natural hair. 

“I remember the first time I got my hair relaxed, I felt beautiful. I felt like was happy, it really sucks,” Calderon says in the video, holding back tears. “Yea I felt happy, I felt pretty, I felt like I belonged.” 

Watch the full video above.  



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