Enjoy Liz’s story featured in our Color Me Gray eBook.

I once became incredibly anxious while watching a telecast of the red carpet from the Academy Awards. No, it wasn’t that most actresses my height weigh 25 pounds less than me (at 5’4” and 145 lbs), nor was it the enviable money or successful careers on display. It was the hair.

Women’s hair on the red carpet—and all over Los Angeles, where I live—generally comes in many vibrant shades of hair dye. At age 35, I had recently started growing out my natural hair and was sporting an attractive half and half look. Natural hair next to dyed hair often looks grayer and drabber than its usual state. I didn’t want to go short, so I suffered through a year making the transition. At that time I panicked, imagining my mousy locks next to a sea of bright, shiny, perfectly dyed dos.

I actually love my natural hair color. Most of it is a cool, dark brown they can’t mix at the salon, and now my gray adds a touch of silver that I’ve grown to adore. My hair is healthy and strong, and it even grew back significantly around my hairline when I stopped dyeing it.

I used to worry that my gray hair made me look older and unattractive. I still occasionally notice people looking at it, and I’ve had conversations where I realize that the person I’m talking to thinks I’m in my 40s. I don’t enjoy those moments, and I do sometimes still feel self-conscious about my choice to sport gray hair in a city that’s so judgmental about looks.

But much more than that I love that my hair is my hair. Strangely, it makes me feel stronger, freer, and more confident in who I am. Plus, I realized that should I ever actually be on the red carpet for the Academy Awards, it would be as a female director. That alone would mark me as a rare breed, so everyone will just have to accept my “Rogue” look and adjust their flashbulbs accordingly.

Need more inspiration? Enjoy 23 more stories and gorgeous pictures in our Color Me Gray ebook!