A 17-year-old teenager, Kerion Washington, who was turned down for a summer job at a Six Flags Over Texas, back in March because of his “extreme hairstyle” is now finding new opportunities as a model.
During the interview process, Kerion was told he’d need to cut his dreadlocks in order to get the job. Six Flags staff told Kerion that his dreads were considered an “extreme hairstyle” per a dress code policy.
“They told me I could cut my hair and come back, that it’s just hair and it would grow back,” the Fort Worth-native explained. “But they compared it to having a tattoo. I didn’t want to cut it.”
“I was very disappointed and confused. (My mom and I) never thought that was in the policy, we read through it and never saw it,” he said, according to Fox5.
While looking for other gigs, his story, told on his mother’s Facebook account was gaining traction. The story eventually caught the attention of Corrie Caster, head of development at Los Angeles-based IMG Models, and scout for IMG Worldwide.
Caster believed Kerion had the moxie to become a model.
“I scout the world looking for talent and stories,” Caster explained. “I didn’t know his story then, but he had a lot of the physical features we look for in our models.”
Caster then offered Washington an opportunity with a local agency. He now travels to Austin where he’s training with Jones Model Management.
Once he builds a suitable portfolio, Jones Model Management will pitch him for consideration as a client for IMG Los Angeles, the same company that hosts talented superstars like such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kate Moss, and Ashley Graham.
“I just thought it would be another job offer for just a regular job for the summer, but when I heard about modeling, I had to take it,” Washington said.
Now, Washington believes that being turned away from that job was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.
Six Flags Over Texas has since changed their policy on “extreme hairstyles” and now allow employees to wear dreadlocks, according to NBC Los Angeles.