Presenter and commercial model Linda E is a passionate advocate for natural beauty and the importance of having self-love.
In an exclusive interview with Melan Magazine Linda Egwuekwe (known as Linda E) shared how embracing her natural beauty and chopping off her hair to rock a short style has been an empowering experience and is now her unique selling point in her career.
Linda E has been in the public eye in one capacity or another since she was in single digits. Presenting at the CITV Kids Awards on ITV at eight years old sparked a lifelong love of being in the public eye and she knew that she wanted to work in the entertainment industry. Over the years, Linda has dabbled in various entertainment sectors, initially following her love of singing and musical theatre to perform in shows at The Young Vic, Battersea Arts Centre, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and even New York City. Clearly taking the longer route to home in on her preferred career, Linda has opened for Afrobeat’s giants ‘P Square’ and even detoured for a short time to explore being a street dancer. However, after completing her university education, she refocused on presenting and ran a popular community radio show. Today Linda is a very successful freelance presenter, actor and commercial model. Her calendar is crammed full of high-profile events, and she is a familiar face on British TV and billboards.
“Linda is keen to stress the importance of self-love and positive affirmations”
Explaining where readers may have seen her recently, Linda E said: “I was on BBC1’s hit prime time show This Is My House last year hosted by Stacey Dooley. I was also on Seasoned by BuzzFeedUK; even now a lot of people stop me to ask about the jollof rice episode! I’m currently one of the faces of Tesco’s fashionwear brand F&F so readers may have seen me there. Other high-profile campaigns I have been a part of are with No7, Evri and Adidas.”
Working as a commercial model with high profile mainstream brands means that how she looks is literally Linda’s money-maker, so making the choice to cut off her hair and stop wearing weaves four years ago was a big decision, but one that she doesn’t regret. She said: “There wasn’t some deep philosophical reason behind it, to be honest I just wanted a change. My hair had become so damaged, I was tired and wanted to try something new. I remember a year prior, I had permed my hair and my younger sister was like ‘oh my days’, I feel like a short cut would suit you. And I thought hmmnn, maybe! I’ve had short weaves in the past and had experimented a bit, but one day I just asked my sister to cut it for me.”
For Linda, there were no regrets after having the big chop. After a few weeks of getting used to her buzz cut she began to fall in love with the easy, low maintenance style. “For me the decision to cut my hair wasn’t too deep. My hair isn’t all that I am, so I’ve never felt like ‘oh my gosh, what have I done!’. I felt relief firstly because I loved it and I felt normal, like why didn’t I do this sooner?”
On being asked whether people react differently to her following her big chop, Linda says she noticed that people who didn’t know her and saw her at face value, had a notion that she fit into a stereotype of bald Black women. “I often think people perceive Black women with bald or short natural hair to be a ‘Soul Sister’ or an ‘Earth mum’ type of character, but anyone who knows me will tell you that’s not who I am.”
“I felt relief firstly because I loved it and I felt normal, like why didn’t I do this sooner?”
“I was confident before and I’m still confident now. It’s the same me.”
Linda’s choice of opting for a natural makeup free look complements her short hair style; perhaps an uncommon choice for someone in the modelling industry. She explains: “If I’m going somewhere fancy, I sometimes will use a little mascara and lip gloss but that’s as far as it goes.”
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So, is there any push back from brands on her preferred natural look or do they try to change how she looks? Linda said: “A lot of jobs require the model to wear a lot of makeup but that is because of the need for studio lighting etc, so I won’t ever say I won’t wear makeup. However, there are certain shoots where they actually will ask me what my preference is. When given a choice I always say that I don’t normally wear makeup and they often go for a much lighter makeup look as opposed to being contoured to the gods!”
She continued: “It depends on the shoot. But I’m okay with this, I understand that my role is to sell the product and then when it’s done, I’m like ‘where are the makeup wipes!”
Linda is keen to stress the importance of self-love and positive affirmations, something she practices on herself regularly. During the call she exclaimed: “Right now I’m getting ready to go to an event and I’m filling in my eyebrows and I’m thinking, ‘Sis you look good!”
“Even today I’m having a bad skin day, I’ve got three big old spots on my face, but I still look in the mirror and I am content. To me, there is nothing sexier than looking at yourself and loving what you see. I’m not thinking to myself, let me add something, a little makeup etc or whatever, and then I will feel good. I feel good the second I wake up and look in the mirror.”
“I think it’s because this is all me, in my natural form. What is more powerful and sexier than that? I’m not hiding behind wigs or weaves or texture treatments, I just wake up and go.”
Linda’s confidence shines through and her decision to embrace a more natural look has clearly had a positive impact on her commercial modelling career. She said: “I started booking most of my work once I cut my hair, but that is probably a combination of timing and all the years of work I had put in prior. However, I also think it’s because embracing a more natural aesthetic is a look that is being championed more and more by the mainstream world.”
Whatever it is, we’ll have what she’s having!