AJ Odudu felt she had to have ‘signature look’ after being mistaken for other Black stars

AJ Odudu has revealed she used to feel like she had to adopt a signature style on order not to be mistaken for other Black presenters, but has learned to embrace her own identity.

The Big Breakfast presenter, 34, opened up to Cosmopolitan UK about how her personal style has evolved over the years.

She revealed: ‘In the past, I’ve felt like I’ve had to have one signature look in order to remain recognisable – publications have mistaken me for other Black female presenters who I look nothing like.

‘Whereas now, my philosophy has completely changed. I play with my looks with colourful makeup and different hairstyles, be it braids, straight hair, afro, twists.

‘I’m embracing me a lot more and I’m confident to be a lot more playful and experimental with my hairstyles and my beauty.’

Growing up in Blackburn, AJ recalls there not being as much representation of Black beauty in the mainstream.

She explained: ‘My mum never wore make-up, and I grew up in Blackburn so there were no Black magazines; no Black people [laughs]!

‘There was no Black anything. But when I did get into beauty, it was through certain magazines.’

AJ admitted that the beauty industry still has a way to go to become fully inclusive, such as providing foundation in a full spectrum of skin colours at the same price points rather than brands catering for Black skintones charging consumers more.

She hopes that in the future everyone will be able to ‘feel beautiful and to be able to express themselves in whichever way they choose’.

The presenter added: ‘For the next generation of Black people, I hope that they recognise their sauce and their beauty from the youngest age… It’s really amazing that, at the age of 34, I finally feel confident.

‘All the things I didn’t like about my tough, coarse, afro hair; I now love. But it’s taken me so many years and I think it’s such a shame.

‘I really hope my nieces, nephews, cousins, and all Black people in the diaspora know that their skin, their hair, their everything is unique to them and is beautiful because of that.’

Read the full interviews with AJ Odudu, Leomie Anderson and Tayce on the Cosmopolitan UK website now.

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