Tracey “Africa” Norman was one of the first transgender models and was featured in Clairol’s “Born Beautiful” hair color campaigns from the mid 1970’s. Now 40 years later, she returns to the brand in its 2016 “Color As Real As You Are” campaign.
“For me personally, I had to hide my truth, because if I was to tell I was sure that I would get fired.”
Norman was a sought after model who was featured in fashion magazines in addition to having her picture on Clairol’s “Born Beautiful” hair color box. She had to hide the fact that she was transgender out of fear of losing her career.“ Back in the 70’s it was a different world, especially for transgender women, because I was working as a female model.” said Norman in the video. “For me personally, I had to hide my truth, because if I was to tell I was sure that I would get fired.”
She recalls how in the middle of a photo shoot for a magazine, her secret was revealed. Her career came to an abrupt end at that moment. “That was the day my truth was revealed,” Norman said. “My work stopped right after that.”
“Don’t be afraid to live your truth, and if an opportunity knocks, go for it.”
Now four decades later, Clairol reached out to Norman to ask her to be a part of their new “Color As Real As You Are” campaign as her true self. Today Norman refers to her true self as just “a woman of color.” Looking back, Norman has no regrets regarding her life’s journey. “Don’t be afraid to live your truth,” says Norman. “And if an opportunity knocks, go for it.” She closes the video by saying, “it’s good to be back, and it’s good to be me.”
To an outsider, Tracey Norman had it all. She was a sought after model who graced the pages of top fashion magazines and had her face on a box of Clairol hair color. Inside, she was harboring a secret: she was transgender. When her secret was revealed, her modeling career came to an abrupt end. Now, 35 years later, she’s back modeling for Nice ‘n Easy, a hair color brand that believes in letting the real you shine through.