Nathalie Emmanuel says her hair is the ''first thing'' people recognise about her.

The 28-year-old actress has admitted her brunette curls make her stand out in a crowd, but she is ''happy'' her natural locks attract attention from the public because she believes people are getting used to women styling their hair in various other forms. Speaking to Byrdie, the 'Game of Thrones' star said: ''I think my hair is the first thing people recognize me for and I'm happy about that, because I think we've all gotten so used to women straightening and changing their natural hair.''

However, the star has revealed her natural hair was not ''allowed'' when she was at primary school, and she was forced to have her locks ''slicked down'' or plaited to hide her curls.

She explained: ''Wearing my natural hair wasn't really allowed when I was in primary school. So my hair was always slicked down or put in braids, sort of hidden away.''

Although Nathalie has been able to embrace her natural hair as she grew up, she appreciates some women want to carry out chemical treatments on their hair to change the style.

She said: ''I think a lot of women with textured hair go through that same journey, where they want to chemically straighten their hair. And that's fine if that's what makes you happy, but I think many feel trapped by it.''

But the star has admitted she became ''much more connected'' to her roots when she visited her family in Saint Lucia.

She explained: ''I just became much more connected to my roots when I went to [the Caribbean]. Something about being there and embracing the culture made me realize for the first time that my hair is a part of my mixed-race heritage. It's a part of me.''