LOS ANGELES — Camilla Friend never thought she’d find herself in the spotlight as an Academy Award-nominated hairstylist as a child, because she never saw anyone who looked like her in that space, and the thought of such a possibility never crossed her mind. did not occur to her.

Friend, a third-generation hairdresser, always knew she wanted to be a hairdresser, but little did she know that this passion for hair would lead her to become a storyteller, telling stories through the art of hair in films.

“I knew I wanted to be a storyteller when I enjoyed my first big movie, which was Ray,” Friend said. “And I knew from there working with the great director Taylor Hackford, I knew that was what I wanted to do because I could take so many things that I learned from my childhood and just being a black woman , and I could translate it in the film.”

Now the first Oscar nominee. notes that Black Panther made an indelible mark on her life.

“‘Black Panther’ came into my life first and took over my whole life,” she said. “And then the second one, Wakanda Forever, came along and took over my entire life. But I think the most important thing is that we have the opportunity to see different cultures, not just black culture. And I’ll say, as a journalist in the first one, she quoted that Black Panther was a “love letter to Black Hair.”

Friend said that returning to the world established in the first film gave her more opportunities to represent other cultures. “We have a great opportunity to work with Mayan culture, with Latino culture, and create a whole new culture that you’ve never seen on film,” she said. “And we can give our take on it and our interpretation, and we can let the world see the images and how beautiful the culture is.”

For a friend: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever helps illuminate the cultural significance of hair for the black community.

“Hair is everything. Hair is an expression of who we are as people, as individuals, as men, as women and as children,” she said on the Red Carpet. “Black hair is such a beautiful tool because you can shape it, you can sculpt it, you can do anything with black hair, black hair allows you to, and it allowed me to use my imagination to the fullest.”

Like the first film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever showcases the diversity of black hair styles and textures that black women haven’t always had the freedom to express, especially in the workplace.

“As far as the workplace is concerned, it’s something that for a long time, you know, braids weren’t understood, strands weren’t understood, but thank God we have a Crown Act that now protects our freedoms where you have a choice when you go to your workplace,” said Friend.

She also explains the importance of how the Crown Act extended protections and rights to non-black citizens.

“People who are Muslim, people who are Native American, we should all be protected to wear our hair however we want. Even if it’s spiritual, if it’s cultural, if it’s religious, it doesn’t matter. We should all have that right and freedom to do that.”

Girlfriend recognizes this special moment in her life and takes nothing for granted.

“I just feel grateful for this moment. And for all the moments that happen in my career, good, bad and indifferent. I just feel happy for all of them. And that’s what brought me here.”

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