Werewolf (Growing Up a Hairy Girl) - Written Interview with Natasha Quiñonez-Gajda
Questions by Loraine Garcia
Find the original post here.
L: Hiya Natasha! I just wanted to start off by saying that I was so glad to read your blog post. Growing up a hairy girl as well, I related a lot to what you had to say. Thank you for sharing your experience with the LYF audience!
On to the first question! Where did you get the idea behind this blog post? Did something inspire you?
N: So I actually spent about a month agonizing over what I wanted to write about. Acceptance is such a broad theme that you can do a lot with. There’s so much in my life that I’ve been learning/ had to learn to accept, but I really wanted to do something different and close to me.
The idea to do body hair just came to me while I was brainstorming on a road trip. I felt so stupid that I hadn’t thought about my experience with accepting my arm hair since it was a lifetime insecurity, but that’s just how natural my hair feels to me now, I guess! I don’t even think about it.
I also wanted to write something specifically for other girls, especially other Latinas, who struggled with the same thing. I know body hair can be such a huge insecurity for so many women and I just wanted to share my journey and show that we don’t have to live our entire lives doing these painful and tedious things to fit what society says is beautiful.
L: If you could speak to your younger self now, what would you say to her?
N: This is something that I’m still trying to learn, honestly, but I guess I’d tell her that things get better eventually and that there’s nothing wrong with us. Not only in regards to arm hair, but with everything. I grew up very afraid and insecure and felt very ugly for a huge part of my childhood because I wasn’t blonde with straight hair, I wore glasses, and I always got bullied by popular kids.
I wish that I realized earlier that a big reason people bully is because they feel threatened by others living their truth and they want to try and suppress that. I’m glad that I became a lot more confident in high school though, haha.
L: Do you have any advice for people struggling with insecurities?
N: It depends. I want to be able to say, “just don’t care about what people think about you!” but I know that it isn’t that simple, especially if you have trauma. I think that the first thing to do is to identify specific insecurities and really think about why you have them. Basically doing a lot of shadow work with yourself.
When I first grew out my arm hair after years of shaving it, I realized that I wasn’t actually bothered by the looks of it, but was just afraid about what other people would think. So my insecurity didn’t stem from within, it was external forces that made me feel bad.
Once you figure out the source, you can move from there and slowly learn to love and accept yourself. I also want to remind people that there isn’t anything shameful about having insecurities and to be sure to extend kindness to yourself throughout your healing journey. I feel like these days there’s a lot of pressure for women to be confident baddies 100% of the time, and it just isn’t realistic and creates a stigma for those who are struggling to love themselves. Everyone grows at their own pace.
L: Do you think our society has gotten better about setting these types of beauty standards/expectations? What do you think would be some solutions to this problem?
N: Yes and no. I think our culture’s attitude has shifted a lot due to the body positivity movement, but I have yet to see hairy girl representation in the media. There’s also definitely still pressure to get rid of hair, the language is just slightly different. I’ll see ads for women’s razors and they’re always like, “we know shaving is a personal choice,” but at the end of the day they’re still promoting hair removal and equating beauty with hairlessness. I also see things on TikTok like shaving your baby hairs or peach fuzz on your face, and I just feel like it creates a new insecurity.
I honestly think that to fix this, we just need more positive representation in mainstream media. I can’t help but feel that seeing a beautiful woman with arm hair in Cosmo would've done wonders for my self-esteem as a kid. I do think people don’t see body hair as a big deal anymore, though. Since I stopped shaving my arms in 2020, I haven’t received a single negative comment, so societally, we’re definitely in a different mindset versus the early 2000’s.
L: Lastly, what have you been up to lately? Where can our audience find you?
N: Lots of reading, writing, and job-hunting for editorial positions, haha. Right now, you can find me working as a writer with LYF and see my work on the blog or the weekly newsletter.