So every curly girl has a similar story, mine is no different.
Growing up in Brazil where curly hair was viewed as “messy” and “not put together", I was pre-dispositioned to hate my hair because there was no curly hair trailblazer showing us curls were the bomb. Every single person in my family including my mom would straighten their hair with either a flat iron or use a chemical treatment to permanently do it. They’d say curly hair looked like a brillo pad and having it was extremely frowned upon. Once my family moved to the US, it wasn’t much different and if anything it was worse. I couldn’t find curly hair inspiration even if I tried. So I would avoid my curls at all costs. I’d beg my mom to chemically straighten it because nobody had hair like me. I would have to get a root touch up from the curls growing back in every three months. I had no one to tell me how to fix my hair or how to love it for that matter so the cycle would continue till I turned 21, and that’s when I chopped off all my hair to start new again.
The damage of the heat tools and chemicals had done a number on my hair and the only way to fix it was to do the “BIG CHOP” however the big chop wasn’t my declaration to finally love my hair. That didn’t happen till I did my big chop again at 23! From there I embarked on my long journey of finding self-love and balance. Even though I cut my hair short to surrender the constant hate for my hair, I still would not embrace it and truly love it until I got my first cut with a woman named Mona (@themonacut) in NYC. She cut my hair dry which I was really confused about and also showed me the other curly hair girl’s doing it up on Instagram. I was shocked! I thought to myself, How can my hair look this good? How did I not learn this sooner? For the longest time, I just couldn't love my hair and I found out it was because I wasn't educated on how to style it. Get to know yourself and your hair, it'll allow you to not feel so helpless and frustrated. Seek advice from blogs and other curly hair beauties, it'll make a world of difference on your own hair journey. Learn from my mistakes, excessive heat will cause heat damage that is irreversible.
Fast forward to now, despite hating something that was such a big part of me, literally and physically, I’ve learned you can’t experience self-love on someone else time or terms. Self-love happens when that light bulb in your head turns on and you realize the journey starts with you.
How funny that the thing that I hated most about myself, has opened up so many doors! I’ve been in a curly hair campaign for Ecru Curl Line that landed my curls in a billboard. I’ve been on a subway ad for Fiverr, a work space for entrepreneurs. I’ve been scouted via Instagram and gained a modeling contract with MSA Models and oh honey I’m not going to stop there. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself. There is nothing wrong with showing the world your confidence. It took me so long to gain it, it’s a working progress every day and despite everything I’ve been through personally and professionally I’m here to tell you, just START.
Hortencia Caires aka StyleFeen is a fashion and curly hair blogger based in New York City.