Fort Worth teenager Kerion Washington was denied a job at Six Flags due to his hair, but now it appears modeling is in his future after his story went viral.
“They told me I could cut my hair and come back, that it’s just hair and it would grow back,” the 17-year-old with dreadlocks said. “But they compared it to having a tattoo. I didn’t want to cut it.”
Instead of cutting his hair to get the job at Six Flags, Washington would go on to look for jobs elsewhere. While his effort to gain employment continued, his mother shared his story on Facebook, which was shared over 17,000 times. In response, numerous job offers were extended to Washington.
The opportunities did not stop there, Dallas News reports Washington was reached out to by Corrie Caster, head of development for IMG Models, on Instagram about a potential opportunity. IMG Models represents Kate Moss, Ashley Graham and more. Caster heard about Washington through a friend who shared an article about him. The picture of Washington shared in the article caught her attention.
“I scout the world looking for talent and stories,” Caster said. “I didn’t know his story then, but he had a lot of the physical features we look for in our models.”
After speaking with Caster, Washington and his mother began to work with Jones Model Management in Austin, Texas, where Washington had his first photo shoot. The training and opening experience for Washington has been positive.
“The shoot wasn’t exhausting at all,” he said. “It was easy work, and it was really fun.”
The work includes walking a runway, posing for photos and more. The job is now developing into a potential career for the teen.
“His hair doesn’t tell you about his work ethic,” Kerion’s mother said.
After the training, Jones Model Management will offer Washington to IMG first.
“I hope he’s successful and able to have a platform to use his voice to talk about things that mean something to him, because he will be put in those positions,” Caster said. “I truly believe this story has to be told, and has to be told over and over again.”
The incident has not only changed Washington’s life but also will impact those who will seek employment at Six Flags after him. The theme park company has altered its policy to admit those with locks to gain employment.
“Male team members may now wear dreadlocks,” Six Flags communications manager Sharon Parker said. “Provided, per our standard guidelines — they are well-groomed and do not extend past the bottom of the collar.”