'Queen Charlotte' star India Amarteifio shares the 'joy' of bringing her natural curl pattern to a period piece

"You don't need to straighten it for it to be classy"

Editor / May 08 2023

After binging Bridgerton’s first two seasons, the Queen Charlotte you’re perhaps most familiar with is as seamlessly associated with gravity-defying statement wigs as she is with cutting one-liners.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, however, takes us back to the character’s earlier days, where she may have been every bit as sassy, but embraced her natural hair instead.

It was a welcome change for the show’s star India Amarteifio (who takes on the role of young Queen Charlotte in the highly-anticipated prequel series), and it will no doubt be an equally big deal to women with textured hair the world over.

Here's a little intel into why the Bridgerton team were rightfully determined to prove the power of curls and coils within a period piece…

India Amarteifio on what Queen Charlotte’s natural texture means to her

“[We’re] re-establishing the fact that our hair is beautiful in whatever texture it is,” Amarteifio explained in a conversation with Teen Vogue. “You don't need to straighten it for it to be classy, for it to be sophisticated, for it to be elegant.”

“Whatever your hair texture is, it's beautiful in whatever state. To use my natural texture and still be able to emulate these styles was everything. It gave me so much joy.”


Queen Charlotte’s hair journey

“We all agreed that it would be a journey,” Queen Charlotte’s hair and makeup designer Nic Collins told The Hollywood Reporter. “She’s not coming in as this big personality with these large wigs. She starts with natural hair. She’s in a foreign land, she’s in an arranged marriage that she doesn’t want to be in. It must have been terrifying for her. Those were the things we were considering.”

Collins noted that while lighting proved a tricky test (as it can cause natural hair to lose its shape and texture on camera), the team were well equipped to keep Queen Charlotte’s curls royally stunning the whole way through. “We said we’ll do whatever it takes to do it", Collins recalled, emphasising the importance of showing natural hair onscreen.

“We wanted to show the afro and its beauty. That was important. It’s something that you don’t see. I’ve never seen it before in a period drama. And that’s what this was all about: creating images that you get to see now,” Collins explained. “These people exist, and they inspire other people. That’s the beauty of the whole Bridgerverse.”


India Amarteifio’s previous on-set hair styling stress

While her prior on-set experiences haven't been as stress-free, Amarteifio does think that projects like Bridgerton are helping to progress things. “I think people are becoming a little bit more aware that afro hair is not something to be frightened about,” she told Teen Vogue, explaining that on previous sets, she or her mum would style her hair themselves in order to avoid damage.

Considering Amarteifio’s job as an actor is, well, to act, it’s ridiculous to think she would have had to take on another person’s responsibilities on top of her own, merely because of a lack of professional help specifically trained to style textured hair.

“Any show where I was having to have my hair in it, it was a bit of added pressure in the morning. I'd wake up a little bit anxious like, ‘God, am I going to get heat damage this morning, or are they going to take a chunk out of my hair?’ It's also about making me feel comfortable, because if I feel like my hair's been ruined as India, I'm not focused. That shouldn't be something that I come into work worried about, that I might not come out with my hair.”

With a character evolution as emotionally layered as Queen Charlotte's one, we doubt Amarteifio had a moment to think of anything else, so we're pretty damn thrilled to hear that Bridgerton offered up a far breezier hair experience. It meant less stress for her, and it means more visibility for natural hair across the board.

Main image credit: @bridgertonnetflix

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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.