Carly Gorton, the 11-year-old whose hair has just been used for historic Afro wig in the UK

Ama Nunoo April 14, 2021
Carly Gorton would not let anyone dim her Black Girl Magic and now she contributed in part to the first Afro hair wig made from real wig. Photo: Brittany Woodman/Archant

The determination of an 11-year-old girl from Norfolk has led to a “historic breakthrough” in the wig-making industry in the UK. Carly Gorton’s persistence led one of the biggest charities in the UK that accept donations to make wigs for little girls with cancer or other related diseases to manufacture the first two afro wigs with real afro hair.

“I’m really happy the Little Princess Trust have finally finished it. It’s really good that can we can now see they can take all kinds of hair and have made the first Afro wig in this country.

“I’m really happy and proud that I get to help someone in this way,” Gorton, from Southburgh, near Hingham said.

Usually, the Little Princess Trust charity curls straight hair to form the afro type of hair because it had not found the means to scientifically create wefts of afro hair wigs. It claimed the afro hair was “too delicate” and could not be processed for wigs.

Gorton started her campaign in search of a charity to donate her hair after she realized some people including her teacher who were suffering from alopecia were wearing a wig because their hair would not grow again.

Having beautiful long and bouncy afro hair, Gorton told her parents in March 2020 that she would like to donate her hair to charity as her classmates had done the same. The hunt for the charity that would accept her afro hair became more tedious than she anticipated.

None of these charities would accept her hair but that did not stop Gorton from searching for one that would absolutely take her hair.

The family approached the Little Princess Trust which had categorically stated on its site that Afro hair was “unsuitable” for a wig – the wording has since been changed.

The charity which was founded in 2006 has helped create 10,000 wigs from different hair textures and none from real afro hair.

“They told me that Afro hair breaks too much and is hard to work with for making wigs this is not mentioned on their website,” Gorton said to Eastern Daily Press.

Gorton’s mother Anna Mudeka, who bought into her daughter’s goodwill intentions when the idea came up, said she struggled to find an organization in the UK that could take her daughter’s hair.

She said: “How do I tell my daughter that her Caucasian friend’s hair is absolutely perfect, but hers is unsuitable? How do you start that conversation with a 10-year-old? “As a mother I wanted to find a way.”

Gorton’s insistence on wanting to be part of a community helping other children smile again by producing wigs with real hair pressed Little Princess Trust to look into the matter again. After conducting research and trials, prototypes have been developed and approved for use.

Gordon’s big chop was done at a special assembly at her school, Norwich High School for Girls, by her mother, and the hair was donated for Little Princess Trust charity’s first Afro wigs for children.

The charity has been working with Liz Finan, the owner of Raoul, a London wigmaker that has been in business for 120 years. It also worked most recently with Cynthia Stroud, a food judge and business owner and founder of the non-profit Curly Wigs for Kids.

The pair worked on the two Afro hair wigs which have Gorton’s hair. The 11-year-old said she is happy that her hair has finally been used for the purpose she intended it for; to make wigs for children with cancer and other diseases that result in hair loss.

 “What’s good now is we’ve gone past ‘no’, and we’re on to ‘let’s do this, let’s try and make this work’. Those challenges will still be there but the people we are working with are very experienced within the Black hair industry. Carly’s hair was a brilliant donation,” Ian Morris, from Little Princess Trust, said.

Per BBC, Mundeka is proud of her daughter’s tenacity which has led to the historic production of Afro hair wigs by the charity. Black children can now have a wig, “true to their heritage“, she said.

“History has been made and we are so proud of Carly.

“Through her sheer determination and everyone pulling together to hear her voice, children of black and mixed heritage can now donate their hair to the Little Princess Trust.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 14, 2021


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