Meet Martha Truslow Smith, a graphic designer from North Carolina who got her first gray hair at the age of 14, as she wrote once on social media.
Smith started coloring her hair to hide what was happening, but instead of gaining assurance, she felt anxious and misrepresented. So when she was 24, she decided to go “grombre,” (pronounced “grohm-bray,”) a play on the word “ombre,” which has been a trend in hair color over the past few years.
Yes, Smith decided to stop fighting nature: by embracing the gray, and letting it grow out, regardless of her age.
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Celebrating TWO years! It's easy to get caught up in the everyday bumps and bruises, and losing sight of the scope of your progress is all too easy to do. Be encouraged! Hold onto the hope that today is easier than yesterday, and you're one step closer to your goals. How applicable to everything we put our minds to. If we can do this, imagine all that we can accomplish by taking it one day at a time. Thanks for inspiring and encouraging me with your own journeys. Swipe for progress shots to see just how FAR I've come. @grombre #grombre #gogrombre
She started an Instagram account to document her journey -- you can find Smith @grombre -- and, get ready for this, at last check, the page had about 193,000 followers.
"I said, 'Well, you know what? I’m just going to start an Instagram account, just kind of as a passion project,'" Smith said to Vox. "I was shocked when I had 20 followers after a couple of months. Oh my gosh. There are 20 other women out there that feel the same way that I do? And it just kind of grew from there. It was very organic."
As it turns out, there are women all over the place who are “leaning in” to their various stages of gray and graying hair. Below is a follower of Smith’s named Terry, known on Instagram @gray.and.beyond.
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Dedicated to the very young lady (4 or 5 yo) who said (1-2 weeks ago) she liked my "bonded braids." I had 2 braids w/no loose hair like today and a baseball cap on when she saw me. I had to ask her twice what she meant, and she said, "...you know like Elsa..." I smiled and told her thank you and looked it up online later😊😁 : #grayandfree #grombre #grayisthenewblonde #grayhair #grayhairrevolution #naturalgrayhair #naturalhair #saltandpepperhair #greyhair #grayhairdontcare #goinggray #grannyhair #silverhair #silversisters #greyrevolution #greyandyoung #goinggreygracefully #embracethegray #embracethegrey #nomoredye #whitehair #longgrayhair #longhair #grayandproud #onlylipstick #cambodian #khmer #asian #simplelife #simpleliving
She noted the strength of the women involved in this community.
Going “grombre,” by the way, isn’t so much a trend as much as it is a movement.
And the movement is all about empowerment.
It seems as if society tells women that when we start graying, we need to cover it up. But the movement, in a way, begs the question: Says who?
Also, as Smith said in an interview with the website Scary Mommy, her goal isn’t to spread a message suggesting something like, “Don’t dye your hair no matter what!” On the contrary, she said, it’s all about doing what works for you, and what you feel the most comfortable with -- even if that means trips to the salon or buying a box of hair color at the pharmacy.
Smith is very inspirational on Instagram.
You can see why she has tens of thousands of followers. Women are constantly sending Smith photo submissions, so that they too can be featured on the account.
We’ll leave you with one of her posts, just to give you a little flavor of this growing community of women.
“This journey isn’t easy, don’t get me wrong,” Smith writes. “I’ve had my bad days and dye temptations, but man, is it worth it. I love my silver streaks that sparkle in the sun and appreciate the remarkable power of being my own woman unconcerned with others’ battles with their own fears of aging. May our boldness dispel the chains of self-loathing for all women. So much love to you all, and may you have a blessed weekend.”