Here at The Glow Up, we love nothing more than a happy ending, and here’s one we’re pretty sure you’re going to love, as well: In October, we reported on 8-year-old Marian Scott, who was denied the opportunity to take a school picture after her red extension-embellished braided topknot was deemed in violation of the dress code at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Mich. To be fair, the academy’s handbook says students’ hair color must be natural tones to get their picture taken; unaware of the rule, Marion’s parents were confused by the fact that while their daughter was restricted from taking a photo, she was allowed to return to class. They have since removed Marion from the school.
Marian’s story, which included an emotional response from her father and the third-grader’s own account of crying and feeling “singled out” at the time of the exclusion, went viral. In addition to garnering national attention, the report inspired action from dozens of photographers who sympathized with Marion’s experience and wanted to transform it into something truly special after she reported feeling like she’d lost self-esteem due to the incident, according to WILX.
“I could feel it go,” she said.
But in a delightful development to their initial story, on Friday, WILX reported that Marion had become the star of a series of photoshoots granted by photographers moved by her story, including Jermaine Horton of Jermaine Horton Photography, who drove from Chicago to capture the third-grader—and her red extensions—in a colorful and age-appropriate new wardrobe donated to her by Joy Entertainment & Event Management and Mieka Joi, CEO of Rich Girl Candy.
“It was fun, you got to pose and change clothes and got to be yourself,” said Marian of her first modeling experience.
“Confidence is a process, especially when you are rebuilding someone’s confidence—especially a child because they are so fragile, so we want to make sure that she feels great that day, but also going forward that it’s ongoing and she still feels that support,” said Horton.
And the 8-year-old was beaming and beautiful in her first fashion shoot, hopefully regaining some of the confidence she’d lost when denied the opportunity to participate in a basic school tradition.
“Thank you,” Marian told Horton and her many supporters. “I appreciate it and I love the support.”
But Marion’s not the only one to be transformed by the initially negative experience. The incident awakened her father, Doug Scott, to what many increasingly perceive to be biased school policies affecting children (and adults) across America. It’s a conversation he hopes to continue within the Jackson community, he tells WILX.
“With the negativity…I asked myself, should we have done this?” said Scott. “I tell myself every day: you should have done this because it’s only going to get better and hopefully we are going to be able to deal with these situations in schools better in the future.”