My natural hair journey was met with much resistance. I never thought in a million years I would stop getting relaxers. In fact, I took a pretty adamant stance against it. I had been getting them since around age five. Then one summer my brother and sister-in-love came to visit and I was floored by my sister’s beautiful and healthy hair. I asked her secret and she told me she had gone natural. She was wearing it straight at the time, but said she experienced tremendous growth since her transition. I was skeptical about how my hair would look both in its natural state and straightened without a relaxer, but she really encouraged me. “Sis, you don’t need it,” she told me. That next summer, I decided to give it a go.
It’s been five years since then and I haven’t turned back. At first, I continued to get blowouts, but then I accidentally let my hair dry in Bantu knots while deep conditioning and I liked the way it turned out. From then on, I was a true naturalista. A highlight of my journey was when I competed for the title of Miss Virginia USA 2016 with natural hair. In pageantry, most women, regardless of race, wear blown out or lightly curled hair. Not many were wearing their hair natural then, but I really felt called to do it. And boy, was I nervous! I wasn’t sure how it would be received, especially in a conservative state like Virginia, but I began to think about my journey to self-love and the struggles I faced during my adolescent years. I also considered the media’s influence and society’s definition of “beauty,” from hair and skin to size and shape.