In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar regarding her Flawless line in Aug. 2020, Union said that when she was younger, she struggled to embrace her natural hair. She grew up and went to school with mostly white kids and wanted hair like theirs. “When I was eight, I begged my mom to get a relaxer,” she said. “She did her best with the relaxer, but to me, my hair was never straight enough. I was chasing respectability and what it meant to be presentable, appropriate, and thought of as pretty.”
In an interview with The Cut around the same time, Union said as a young girl, she’d ask her cousin, a hairstylist, to leave her relaxer in so long, she’d get lesions. “My cousin was like, ‘Are you trying to turn yourself into a non-Black person? Because that’s what you’re asking me to do,'” Union recalled.
As she grew up, young Union (pictured here in a throwback on Instagram) started to realize that the issue was bigger than her hair. “I realized that as much as I wanted my hair to be straight and to fit in as much as possible, my skin color wasn’t going to change. Society’s attitudes about Black girls weren’t going to change, and there was literally nothing I could do to my hair that would make my skin color more acceptable,” she said. “That felt like a big blow. The world wasn’t going to change because I got a relaxer.”