July 28, 2017 02:46 PM
Mike Coppola/Getty

From her acting prowess to her natural beauty, Nathalie Emmanuel captivates us every Sunday as Missandei on Game of Thrones. As one of the few women in television to embrace her natural hair, the star is identified for her look both on and off the screen.

“I think my hair is the first thing people recognize me for,” the star tells Byrdie of her strands, adding, “and I’m happy about that, because I think we’ve all gotten so used to women straightening and changing their natural hair.”

For the 28-year-old actress, it’s more than just a hairstyle. She says she receives messages from mothers asking her to convince their daughters to follow in her curly footsteps — a challenge that she, too, experienced as a young girl.

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“Wearing my natural hair wasn’t really allowed when I was in primary school,” she says, adding that she was told her hair was unsafe. “So my hair was always slicked down or put in braids, sort of hidden away.”

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Which is why today, while she embraces what she was born with, she says she understands the urge to go straight.

 “I think a lot of women with textured hair go through that same journey, where they want to chemically straighten their hair,” she says. “And that’s fine if that’s what makes you happy, but I think many feel trapped by it.”

What do you think of Emmanuel’s decision to wear her natural texture? Sound off in the comments below.

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