Project Embrace auditions

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Over 40 women at the Africa Centre waited to be told if they would be selected or not. Their ages ranged from 18 years to 50+. All were from different walks of life - many were professionals, entrepreneurs, some students and undergraduates. They waited in a room above the 'judging room'. The ladies waited patiently as they were called one by one to have their portrait taken and speak to the judges. They all had very interesting and compelling stories. One lady shed a tear and even had some of the judges in tears too as she told about her lack of self-esteem due to abuse and how embracing her natural hair has helped her along her journey of self-acceptance. Another young lady told of how she was asked to sit at the back of the class because her hair was too distracting. Another said she is doing it for her niece. All of the mothers present said they were doing it for their children. They all felt passionate about afro hair representation which was evident in the fact that they came from all over London, including Manchester and Birmingham.

They were a mix of ethnicities too including Indian, different mixed-heritage, South Pacific and of course Caribbean and African heritage.

It was a long day as every woman was photographed and interviewed. After a short break the judges deliberated, they said they found it really difficult but they eventually chose 7 women, the last one actually nearly missed out because she came late and couldn't get into the building. She only got in when someone looked out the window by chance and saw her. Her name was Be, a filmmaker and writer. None were professional models although a few had been involved in some low-key modelling some time before.

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