The next time you seen Lena Waithe, you will notice something is missing: her signature locs. However, this wasn’t just a spur of the moment decision to cut her hair.

“I’ve gotten gayer, guys,” she joked to Variety at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet on Thursday. “I felt like I was holding onto a piece of femininity that would make the world feel comfortable with who I am.

“I think I thought for a long time, ‘Oh, if I cut my hair, I’ll be a stud, I’ll be — in the gay world, there’s a lot of categories — I’ll be a stud or I’ll be a butch,’ and I’ve always thought, ‘Well, no, I’m not that, I’m still soft,’ and I said, ‘Oh, I gotta put that down ’cause that’s something that’s outside of me,’” she added.

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Lena Waithe
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 09: Lena Waithe attends the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 9, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

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Stepping Into Herself

Last year, Waithe became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her work on the “Thanksgiving” episode Master of None. The episode was based on her experience of coming out as a lesbian.

Waithe said that she’d been thinking about cutting it for a while, but felt restricted by apprehension of how others would perceive her.

“If people call me a butch or say ‘she’s stud’ or call me sir out in the world — so what? So be it. I’m here with a suit on, not a stitch of makeup, and a haircut — I feel like, ‘Why can’t I exist in the world in that way?’”

She later went on to say that the decision to cut her hair made her feel “so free and so happy and so joyful,” and that she “really stepped into” herself.

Waithe, who also created The Chi, recently signed a deal at Showtime and is set to produce an HBO comedy series alongside Kid Fury. She’s also set to executive produce two seasons of the anthology series Them for Amazon from writer Little Marvin.

Check out Waithe’s Variety interview below: