Actress Chanté Bowser is living her best curl life. Her natural hair is healthy, flourishing, and getting screen time.
That may not sound groundbreaking, but just a decade ago, naturalistas serving kinks on television were an anomaly. Now, we’re no longer holding out for the token curl girl with the perfect rod set or length to give us some sort of exoticized representation.
This holds especially true for the actress who transitioned while working in corporate America as a licensed attorney. “Fortunately, I worked for a Black woman, so it was empowering,” says Chanté.
Going from the boardroom to the big screen, the rising star has landed roles on such shows as CBS’ Criminal Minds and Fox’s Lee Daniel’s Star. This past holiday season, she co-starred in Lifetime’s Christmas Love Letter, and we’ve seen her on the big screen alongside Taraji P. Henson in Best of Enemies and in John Wynn’s Mirror Mirror.
While she doesn’t get to rock her crown in every role, she’s excited that they are part of everyday conversation and culture. She recalls a role on Lethal Weapon, in which episode director Sally Richardson called for her “hair curly and out—the same way she wore it in the audition. That was completely awesome.”
Here, we chat about her transitions—from law to acting and straight to curly—and her regimen for getting the best curls of her life.
HYPE HAIR: We’re loving your crown!
CHANTÉ BOWSER: Thank you! This is the longest my hair has ever been in its life. I love having big hair and being able to do big puffs!
HH: When did you transition?
CHANTÉ: Around 2009. I didn’t do the big chop. I weaved it up until it got to a point where it was comfortable for me to wear it out.
HH: How did that play out for you working in corporate America?
CHANTÉ: Fortunately for me, I had an African American SVP who also started transitioning. Actually, all of the Black women [in the office] started transitioning. It was empowering!
HH: When did you first fall in love with your hair?
CHANTÉ: The moment I started seeing how embracing my own curls influenced other people to embrace theirs. I have three cousins that have also gone natural. My mom went natural. And to see whatever your curl was – from a one all the way up to a four—we could all have that same conversation.
HH: So how did you transition into acting?
CHANTÉ: I always wanted to act. After I graduated, it took like maybe a year for me to get the nerve up to go and do it. And then I did!
HH: Do you wear your hair natural or straight for auditions?
CHANTÉ: Both. If I audition and my hair was curly, I’ll ask if they want me to keep it curly or straight.