Angelica Ross on Her New Buzzcut: "I Only Feel More Beautiful"

Josiah Rundles for SELF Magazine

We all have a unique sense of self and beauty that contributes to how we like to portray ourselves to the outside world. As a Black transgender woman, Angelica Ross from Pose says she has a deep, emotional relationship with her hair. But, for the October cover shoot for SELF magazine, Ross decided to buzz it all off to celebrate her natural beauty.

Ross shot two covers — one with her long hair in a loose updo and one with her hair buzzed short and dyed blond. "A Tale of TWO covers," is what she called it on Instagram. This was so much more than just a haircut for Ross, which she touched on in the exclusive cover story.

"As a trans woman, a lot of our journey is a process of highlighting our assets and diminishing the things that we don't like," Ross told SELF. "It's more than, 'I just don't like this about myself.' For some of us, the dysphoria hits when it's, this makes me feel or look or appear more masculine. If you're willing to pull away the layers, you can reveal a type of beauty that exists with or without those things. And so that's what I needed to see, not just the beauty, but myself. And I was going to say my womanhood, but I'm even speaking beyond that. I don't need to prove my womanhood to nobody at this point."

Josiah Rundles for SELF Magazine

Long hair is often tied to a person's femininity — the same goes for a person's choice to wear or not wear makeup, nail polish, and so on. But Ross is challenging and speaking up about those stereotypical ideas of what a woman (or any person, for that matter) should look like.

"Now when I remove a wig or makeup, I only feel more beautiful, not less," she said. "I could not always say that in the beginning of my transition. I needed the hair. I needed the makeup in order to make me feel like I belonged in the ranks with women in society and that I was enough of a woman. I eventually realized that cis women and trans women doing the same damn thing, trying to fit into unreasonable standards of womanhood."