Sharam Diniz is a 27-year-old model born in Angola, Africa who now lives in New York City. She’s walked the Victoria’s Secret runway, starred in Tom Ford and Chanel campaigns, and is set to launch her own hair extensions line, Sharam Hair, this summer.
Born March 2, 199, Sharam Diniz is a Portuguese model with Angolan decents. Among her laurels are winning the Supermodel of the World 2010 Portugal. She competed in 2009 and also won The Office & Look Magazine Model Search in Inglaterra. In 2012 she was elected Best Model of the Year in Fashion Luanda, and in 2013 she was awarded Best Female Model of the Golden Globejs SIC.
Growing up, Sharam had always wanted to be an actress and at age 17 she entered a modeling competition and ended up winning, after which she moved to Portugal, having understood the fashion industry early enough
Sharam is a model best known for her international print and cat walk appearances. In 2010, she won the Portuguese Supermodel of the World competition, which provided her with her first international exposure.
She began participating in fashion shows in her native Angola at age 17. She began studying management and event production at the University of Leeds in England at age 18.
In April 2013, she appeared on the covers of both the Portuguese GQ and Vogue magazines. That same year, she won the Portuguese Golden Globe award for Best Female Model.
She appeared alongside The Weeknd at a Victoria’s Secret Brazil event, which she documented on her personal Instagram account.
Sharam signed with her first agency, which put her in all the main markets: Milan, Paris, London, and later New York. The first thing her agent at the time told her was that she was beautiful, but needed to straighten her hair, labelling her Afro weave as “too commercial” at the time. To land high-fashion, editorial jobs, she was told she needed straight hair. She seemed to have had many challenges with her hair which together with her love for wigs caused her to shave her hair.
“I didn’t really understand why, but because I already had so much experience with changing my hair often, I was okay with it.” Sharam said.
After a couple years, she moved to New York and started getting tired of straightening it.
“I would go to the salon to put a weave in and it would take a whole day. I couldn’t have any appointments or meetings booked because it would take at least eight hours to braid or relax my hair. Then, once I found Brazilian blowouts — one way to straighten my hair without damaging the curl — I would have to wash, then dry, then braid, then sew in the weave. It was a lot. By then, I was done with it all.” She admits.
“I started relaxing my hair when I was five years old. The texture of my natural hair was so painful to manage that I remember crying every single time someone would try to braid it. One day, my auntie — who had her own hair salon at the time in Angola — told my mother, “Listen, maybe the easier thing to do is relax her hair.”
“I always wanted long, straight hair and I could never have it. When I looked at covers of magazines when I young, I didn’t ever see a Black girl rocking an Afro, so I became obsessed with the hair I saw on TV and in music videos and magazines. I wondered why I didn’t have that. But after 15 years of treating my hair with aggressive chemicals, it lost its life, so I took a break from relaxers and started wearing wigs. That felt amazing.”
“My first experience with the power of wigs came from my mother, who was a flight attendant. Growing up in Angola, there weren’t many products around to treat or style natural hair in the best way possible, so when my mother would come back from places like Paris, she would bring me amazing products, including wigs. I would try them on at home, playing with all different styles — wavy, curly, straight, bangs.”
“Shaving all my hair off has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Seeing so many beautiful and bold women, like Maria Borges and Lupita Nyong’o, rocking their natural texture and forcing the industry to accept what natural beauty is made the decision easier. It felt like the time for me to make a change. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone of long, “feminine” hair and from what people were always expecting to see me as. I can be edgy. I can be masculine. We’ve been brainwashed to think that being feminine means having long, straight hair. No, you can see the beauty of a person with short hair, too. It’s a movement now.”
“I had a lot of fears about cutting it all off — I had all the fears. How would it affect my career? Would I lose jobs? Would my agent drop me? It was my decision to make, but it still took me five months to actually take the risk and do it. But I wanted to make the cut different, too — there are so many models now with short, natural hair — so I dyed it pink. Now, I know I’ll never, ever, complain about braiding my hair again, because bleaching your hair is painful. I had to do it three times before dyeing it pink”
“Now, it’s like I have a whole new lease on life. Everything looks different! Not just my hair, but my makeup, too. After I cut it, I wore pink eyeshadow for the first time to Beautycon in New York and the reaction was so positive. Women with short hair were coming up to me, complimenting mine. The reaction on social media and walking around the streets just confirms I made a great decision, and even my agents at One Management, who I was most worried about, love it. I feel like I’m on a wave. If I had known before it would’ve been this good, I would’ve cut it much sooner.” Sharam posits.