Curly Conversations with : natural celebrities, popular natural hair bloggers, vbloggers, and Curl Diaries from Natura’s featured Curlie Girls.
Naturalia: What inspired you to write “ Better Than Good Hair”?
Curly Nikki: I wrote Better than Good Hair because after four years of posting everyday and often times doing 3 posts a day, it was becoming a monster. Although the information is very thorough and very well organized, it can be overwhelming for someone that is newly natural or even a veteran who wants to find a very particular piece of information. I wanted the book to be composed of all the basics for natural and healthy hair care in one place in a linear format. BTGH is not just a reference guide, but it is a narrative that’s fun, and easy to read.
Naturalia: What do you hope to accomplish with “BTGH”?
Curly Nikki: I wanted to break down the barrier that has been built up over the past few years, where it has been natural vs. relaxed. Like I voiced in the book, were not taking a stance, were just teaching women how to take care of their hair and hopefully folks can get past that and know that this community isn’t inclusive.
Naturalia: What is your favorite section in “ BTGH”?
Curly Nikki: My favorite section is actually Kim Wayans forward, its absolutely hilarious and very relatable. I’m sure everyone can find apart of their story that’s is similar to hers.
Naturalia: What’s the best part about having your own blog?
Curly Nikki: I’m very proud to be able to provide a space for women to come share, educate, and inspire each other through this journey. I’m honored to be able to provide that service to people, and for it to be a very safe and positive space for them to achieve the freedom and versatility of their hair.
Naturalia: What are your favorite natural hairstyles to rock?
Curly Nikki: Twist-n-Curl and lately my wash and go’s
Naturalia: What are your top favorite products to use on your hair?
Curly Nikki: That changes weekly because I’m a bonafide product junkie !! But right now I’m using cocoanut oil a lot lately, I’ve been using Shea Moisture shampoo, and I’ve been using Curl Junkie’s Coffee CoCo Curl Cream as my wash and go styler. When I’m doing a Twist-n-Curl on my dry hair, I use Qhemet Biologics Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee and I love it because it is super moisturizing for Twist outs.
Naturalia: Who is your favorite natural hair celebrity?
Curly Nikki: I have a lot of natural hair celebrity friends, and that’s one great thing about being a blogger and I’m excited to say that!! They are very down to earth and it’s just like talking to your girlfriends. Examples are: Kim Wayans, Kim Cole, Wanda Sykes, and Tracee Ellis Ross. I’m honored to be able to hop on the phone and get advice from them, or give them advice on their hair.
Naturalia: What do you believe is the worst misconception that women have about going natural?
Curly Nikki: That because we grew up believing that our hair in its natural texture is rough and hard, a lot of women sometimes go in believing that they can be rough when its time to detangle and style their natural hair like its invincible. When in fact our hair in its natural texture is even more delicate, because at every bend there is a point of weakness. So we have to be very careful even though people have lead you to believe in the past that your hair is hard and cannot be soft.
Naturalia: What do you believe is the hardest part about going natural?
Curly Nikki: For some people it’s the patience to actually transition for a long period of time, especially when you want to have length after you chop off the remaining relaxed hair. I found that some women get very antsy at that time frame, which is why some actually chop off their hair before they intend to or before they are actually mentally prepared to deal with it. Having the patience to deal with the two textures, and having the patience to actually wait to reveal what your true texture is, I find is one of the roadblocks that people come up against.
Naturalia: How important is self-confidence and the acceptance of ones natural beauty?
Curly Nikki: It’s incredibly important!! A lot of women once they transition or once they do the big chop, find that after they get through that first initial period of having to accept the change, and accept this new part of them, that they have more confidence than what they did before going natural. The process of going natural requires you to be very confident, and you have to have a lot of self-esteem to shed something that was so much apart of your identity, which for a lot of people was long straight hair.
Naturalia : What is your best advice for women beginning the natural hair journey?
Curly Nikki : Education is number one. So make sure that you get online and log onto curlynikki.com, log onto YouTube, buy Better Than Good Hair the book and learn everything there is to know about the process of going natural. You need to be familiar with the actual steps that you are going to have to take physically, and learn about the mental process that is involved, so that you will be prepared and you wont be shocked or surprised when you come up against those things. Have some ideas of styles that you want to try, and have pictures and video tutorials that you’ve bookmarked that you can pull from at your leisure. The more prepared you are the better.
Naturalia : What other projects are you currently working on in 2013?
Curly Nikki : I have a book tour sponsored by Shea Moisture and we’re bringing meet-ups to a city near you. It will be wonderful, off-course it will be free and there’s always good music, laughter, fellowships, and education.
Naturalia : I know that you have been natural all your life, but what drives you to continue to be a natural haired woman?
Elle: It’s really just the convenience for me as far as maintenance is concerned. I’m pretty laid back in that department, so for me natural hair is the most effortless option.
Naturalia: What are your favorite products to use on your hair?
Elle: Lately I’ve just been using a lot of natural products that I mix together. I’ll blend Shea Butter, Vitamin E oil, Avocado oil, and sometimes mango oil, putting it on my hair while its wet and then letting it dry.
Naturalia: Why do you think that it is so important for women to embrace their natural roots?
Elle: Don’t get me wrong sometimes I wear my hair straight, and I’ve even dyed it. But personally I think that you should be ok with how you look without all of that first. You should accept your hairs natural state and embrace it for what it is and love it for all the potential that it has.
Naturalia: What are your favorite ways to rock your natural hair?
Elle: I love bows, headbands, and hairpieces. Sometimes I’ll just clip up one side and wear a headband or I like to just wear it out and big!
Naturalia: A lot of successful female entertainers for the most part wear their hair in weaves, or silky straight. Does it ever become a challenge as an entertainer to dare to be different and wear your hair in its natural form?
Elle: No. Especially because the music that I make is very true to who I’am and I don’t feel pressured to be something else. Everyone knew when I was signed and throughout this whole process that we were going to do what was real and what was natural.
Naturalia: What can we expect from Elle Varner this year?
Elle: This year is really exciting!! I have my debut album “Perfectly Imperfect” dropping August 7th, and I will be going on my first tour in the fall. I will also be doing some television appearances, and really just promoting the album. I’m trying to be everywhere!
Naturalia: How important is self-expression to you?
Elle: Self- expression is a huge term in my life, and it’s basically how I live. I express myself through my music, fashion, hair, the colors I choose, and the notes I sing. It’s all about putting your own twist on something…. Your stamp on it.
Naturalia: What was your inspiration for your hit single “Re-fill”?
Elle: My inspiration for that song came when I first heard the track. The violin and fiddle made me so dizzy, like that quezzy feeling that you get when your tipsy or hung-over. Somehow my brain just works in mysterious ways, and I came up with the phrase “ can I get a re-fill” and I built everything around that. Everyone doesn’t always get that the song isn’t about drinking at all, but it’s about a conversation.
Naturalia: How would you categorize your sound?
Elle: I call it “ yesterdays and tomorrow’s today”, it definitely bridges a gap and its Hip-Hop meets Soul and R&B.
Naturalia: As a musician what sets you apart from everyone else?
Elle: As a musician I think one thing that sets me apart, is that I don’t read music. I wasn’t formally trained on any instrument, and I’m still able to write and play.
Naturalia: What are some things that your friends don’t know about you?
Elle: Some fans don’t know that I was bullied a lot in high school growing up. It was either for being different, heavier, or sometimes just for being happy. It was crazy.
Naturalia: What can we expect from your new album “ Perfectly Imperfect” ?
Elle: My album is a beautiful collection of songs that tell stories of different aspects and conditions of how we deal with love, relationships, and different emotions. It expresses what a relationship is like for Elle, and I think that I covered everything. All the songs are very real to me and personal. I think that it will be a nice experience and it definitely has a classic vibe that hopefully people will enjoy.
Naturalia: What are some things that you want to accomplish in your career?
Elle: I’m a very ambitious person, and I want to be a female mogul in the music industry. I would like to further develop my own talents and also create businesses that have the ability to fund charities from the profits. Really I just want to make a lot of money and have the ability to give it back. That’s my main goal right now.
Naturalia: What advice would you give to young girls who suffer from being bullied or who experience a lack self- confidence?
Elle: I want to tell them that it gets better and also that no matter how tempting it is to try to conform or feel bad about yourself, you have to be true to who you are. The best thing you can do is love your self and stay positive. Make sure to talk to people: your teacher, guidance counselor, or parents, and just remember that its going to get better.
Naturalia: Who is Elle Varner?
Elle: Elle Varner aside from the entertainer is a pretty geeky, silly person. I’m a home body and I love to read , cook, and make things.
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