If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen the album with all of our contestants and their essays. But, if you missed it, here are all of the GORGEOUS ladies who sent in entries for the Great Sofistafunk & Hairscapades Natural Model Search Contest!! Check them out in all their fierceness and see how they answered the question: “How is your natural hair a expression of YOU?”
CONTESTANT #1: NICOLE
Before I went natural my hair, style and personality seemed to be dictated by what I believed was the norm and what I mean by “norm” was long straight hair that didn’t grow from my scalp, that HAD to be straightened (That’s what I was told for 15 years!). I always loved curly hair but didn’t even know THAT IS what grows from my own scalp. I finally made the resolve to say I’m OK with what grows from my head no matter what it looks like; and I’ve found a whole new me in the process. I’ve become more confident and bold in everything, from my social life down to my fashion sense (Big hair seems to make any outfit POP!). The freedom of not planning my life around my hair and being able to be the spontaneous girl I love to be. My friends, family and co-workers alike have been inspired by the transformation taken place by simply learning to love ALL of me. I’ve fallen in love with someone I didn’t even know was in there and I fall that much more in love with the woman that was fearfully and wonderfully made everyday on my journey. Ironically enough ever since I’ve been natural my friends and family comment that they don’t even remember what I looked like without my natural hair and it suits me so much better; I would HAVE to agree! I’m finally ME!
CONTESTANT #2: TIFFANY
India Arie stated in her song, “I am not my hair”…. Hell! Maybe I am my hair!
It’s mine! I do what I want, it’s my decision! Not yours. Changing my hair doesn’t change me! I’m still the girl you grew up with that had a mushroom cut in 8th grade. I’m still the girl that was the silly, goofy ,sarcastic one with the red hair in high school that you ate lunch with. I’m still the girl with the perm straight hair down her back that you wanted to get with in college. I’m still the woman that you married and the mother of your children who now happens to have this DOPE curly fro courtesy of Tameeka- McNeil Johnson (HEY GURL!)!! Being Natural hasn’t changed me. It’s a contribution to the Beautiful, Smart, Loving, Confident, ever-evolving woman I have become and will continue to grow into. Self-Expression is natural! I love my hair! I love Me!
CONTESTANT #3: CYRENE
Every person has their own unique reason for transitioning to natural. I can say that although my choice was more necessity for my health and recommended by my GYN 2 and half years ago. I love that I am natural. My daughter who is 7 years old has not had any chemicals in her hair. Actually, not even as much as a blow drier. When I was still relaxed she would make comments about wanting her hair straight, but now that she sees my curls, kinks, waves she has accepted her own. We are the example for the generations to come. I don’t look down on anyone who still decides to relax their hair. That is their choice, but I do educate on the health risks that can be involved. Since I have been natural my confidence level has increased tremendously. Its a refreshing feeling to look at the woman God created the way He intended her to be.
CONTESTANT #4: ADRIENNE
A Reflection of Me
NEW: Discovering more about myself every day.
ARTISTIC: Takes life’s lemons and makes lemonade.
TRUE: To myself and what I believe in, no matter what others may say or think.
UNIQUE: Everyday is something different; you never know what you’re going to get.
REAL: What you see is what you get.
AWKWARD: Klutzy and prone to mistakes, but gets it right in the end.
LOYAL: To my friends, family and loved ones.
HUMAN: I’ll make mistakes and I’ll learn from them and overcome them.
AMICABLE: Makes friends easily but prefers having a few close friends over many.
ILLUSIONS: There are none.
RESERVED: Chooses words carefully before speaking.
CONTESTANT #5: LANORA
Me and my hair have lived parallel lives. Sounds strange, but “The Diva,” as I affectionally call my wooly mane, truly has a life of her own. LaNora was born, The Diva had her big chop. LaNora grew older, The Diva grew longer. LaNora graduated from elementary, The Diva had her first press. LaNora became a lawyer, The Diva became a hood star. LaNora found her Artist, The Diva went au naturale. LaNora moved to Harlem to be a writer, The Diva became a model. My hair defines me; strong, proud, resilient, natural. Like a good friend, my perfect wing man, The Diva complements my personality. I love interacting with strangers, she draws them in. I’m a no fuss girl, she’s down for the fluff and go. I love dressing up, she’s the perfect accessory. Like a great pair of heels, she adds height and swag to any getup. We are both girls who love who we are “flaws and all.”
CONTESTANT #6: KAYLA
Self-willed, expressive, special, original, amazing, and one of a kind. These words describe both her (my hair) and I. Sometimes we also go by the 3 B’s. Bold, black, and beautiful but that’s only when we’re being humble. We are a team, we compliment each other perfectly. I wouldn’t change anything about her and I hope she feels the same way about me. She has been with me through it all; good, bad, hot, cold, healthy, sick, drunk and sober (don’t judge me).
Kayla Nation & her hair
CONTESTANT #7: QUIEONA
Natural hair is an expression of me by boosting my confidence. When I did perm my hair, I tried to blend in with everyone else and trying to fit within their world.By doing this, I have lost myself to the point to where there was no more of me. I thought less of myself as a person and actually thought I was ugly. Once I got the courage to do the ” big chop” it was a huge release for me because I was able to be me. I had my own style, my own look. I finally looked the way God created me to be. Now that I have broken out of my shell I sarted to love and appreciate myself more and more….. I am Happy to be Nappy!!!
CONTESTANT #8: JANICCA
My natural hair is an expression of ALL OF ME! I have been a natural lady for 8 years now and it truly was and has been the best thing that I could have done for myself. I have always strived to be healthy in all aspects of my life. So in getting my physical and spiritual health in order, it was only natural to get my hair in order! Thus doing the “Big Chop!” I feel so free with my natural hair b/c it allows me flexibility, creativity, style and so much fun!!! I love that I can literally create something different everyday if I wanted to! And most of the time I do 🙂 Natural has helped me accept my true inner beauty. I am one of 4 sisters and I always felt the least “pretty.” But now, not only do my sisters, girlfriends, co-workers, and even strangers compliment me on my hair, but now I COMPLIMENT ME! I so love my NATURAL HAIR and won’t ever go back!
CONTESTANT #9: TEEKA
Rocking my natural hair for the past 10 years has really made me feel closer to my roots and culture. Growing up in Jamaica my natural hair was never a problem because everyone pretty much had the same hair texture or style. However, when I migrated to the United States my fellow peers made me feel ugly and out of place because of my hair. So eventually my mom permed my hair so that i could assimilate to my new surroundings. However, the older I got the less I really cared about how my peers saw me or my hair. So I went natural in 2003 and it was the best thing that I ever did (pertaining to my hair). My natural hair has taught me self-confidence and strength. With my natural hair I am able to express my fun, free spirited, spunky self through my many natural hairstyles (ex. my Afro puff and my Mohawk).
CONTESTANT #10: APRIL ELLIS
Naturally Beautiful: Working from the outside to the inside
My name is April Ellis and I have been transitioning to natural hair for 7mths. I consider my hair an expression of who I am because I believe my hair is a semblance of me. As my hair transitioned, I transitioned. I think my hair even schooled me, lol. When I first made the decision to go natural, I did it for financial reasons. Unfortunately for me, when I graduated from college thats when the economy took a serious plunge and I couldn’t find a job. I fell into a serious depression and got tired of looking at my hair break every time I touched it. So, after a year and a half of no job, I went back to retail and started using my little paychecks to rock weaves. However, that wasn’t fixing the problem. It was only masking it. I let myself go without even thinking twice and my self-esteem was so low not even my boyfriend could have made me feel better. I knew something had to change and I was going to start from the top. I stumbled upon CurlyNikki when I was researching hairstyles I wanted to do for my next weave. The pic was featured on CurlyNikki’s website so I naturally clicked on it. I had an epiphany! I realized neglecting my hair was a reflection on how I gave up and negelcted my life. And if I wanted change it has to start with re-evaluating myself and a major makeover, lol! I did, however, relapse in December 2011 around the time of my birthday. I let my friend/hairdresser convince me to do a half-head weave and perm the rest of my hair. Biggest mistake but, on the other hand, it was an eye-opener.
People can have an input into your life but at the end of the day, you’re the one who is living it. So as flyy as my hair was I knew that this was the last time the cream crack was going near my head. I was going to stick to my guns and do whats best for me! But I knew I didn’t want to just chop off everything and start from scratch. So I decided to transition. I wanted to challenge myself to actually stick through with a project to the very end instead of giving up in the middle. As my hair grew, my confidence grew. As my confidence grew, my mentality grew and I was able to start seeing what a mess I created for myself. Just like what I did for my hair I started to do research and light reading on how to get other aspects of my life in order. I know the old saying goes “You gotta work on the inside so it can be reflected on the outside.” This time around I did the opposite and so far, its working for me. My hair and I are still transitioning. Its only the beginning for us. But I know that the expression I want to remain for the both of us is FABULOUS!
CONTESTANT #11: EFUA
A little Background
I remember the moment I decided I was done with relaxing my hair like it was yesterday. As I sat in my Botany class trying to listen to the professor lecture us on plants, I remember wondering why I insisted on burying what lied underneath. What was this obsession behind having straight hair when my God given hair was kinky and curly? This style of hair does not define the Efua from Ghana days who had the freshest corn rows and creative styles ever! I bought into the way things were done and was not happy with that decision anymore! I can recall my childhood in Ghana with my Natural hair and loving it but understanding quickly that when you become a young woman, the perm and weaves come on to make you look like an “adult”. When we moved to the USA, it was economical to get the relaxer because we didn’t have the community like we used to at home. I lived in the south and having natural hair was not the norm! I was tired of the hours and 4-6week visits to the salon to sit for hours just to hide something so beautiful! My natural hair is an expression of me in many ways and it’s also a story of my journey.
How my Natural Hair Expresses Me?
Natural Beauty- Having my natural hair shows my natural beauty which encourages others not to hide their beauty behind anything other than what they have naturally.
Amazing- This hair is amazing! It is so versatile! Who would have thought it could do so much?
Twists and turns, tests and trails with this hair during my transition (you remember those awkward phases and non cooperation!)
Unique style. My natural hair makes me the unique person that I am. It is always a topic of discussion one way or the other!
Risk taker. I took a risk by going back to something that felt right to me!
Adaptable. This hair can be molded and shaped into so many different things! It amazes me how much we can do with it. It is a work of art.
Love affair! Having natural hair is a serious love affair! It’s been a journey and it’s one that is not done yet! Loving every minute of it!
CONTESTANT #12: TIFFANY NICOLE
Hello beautifuls!!! My name is Tiffany and I have been transitioning for a year and a half. I absolutely LOVE discovering my curls and the variety of styles they give me. I also love the new sense of community that comes along with it. I never knew I could feel so connected to people half way around the world simply through hair!! With all of the blogs, youtube tutorials and even random 20 minute conversations with strangers in the mall (these are my favorite!!), it’s hard not to feel a sense of pride of being apart of something bigger than ourselves…yes, it’s only hair, but even our society is beginning to recognize how beautiful our natural curls are. I mean, how can you not notice all of these national commercials sporting models and actresses with their gorgeous curls?? It seems that wearing our hair natural is not only empowering to other African American women, but to women of different cultures as well. I believe that we as a community, are giving others the freedom and confidence to rock their do’s in it’s natural state, that they don’t need chemical alterations to feel beautiful. And that is something I am more than happy to be apart of!! God bless!! =)
CONTESTANT #13: VELVOR
My hair has a personality just like me. Carefree, happy, and bouncy in rain or shine. I love that I can wash and go and leave it to do it’s own thing. The texture of it is so much stronger now that it’s chemical free, it shines with the sun and brings out a healthy color that looks black but is really a darker shade of brown. I never thought it would be this easy to maintain. I like to laugh a lot and I feel that when I laugh my hair is laughing right with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner and a special surprise later this week!!
Who is your favorite contestant?!
ETA: Okay, I wasn’t gonna do this … but, y’all give me no choice. It’s poll time!! *lol*