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Happy Girl Hair! (interview)

March 17, 2010

I don’t have kids (nor do I have any plans of having them anytime soon), so when I stumbled onto a blog about kids’ hair, my initial reaction was to click away.  But I decided to take a little scroll through and found myself blown away by how phenomenal the hair of these two little starlets looked.  Scrolled a little bit further, found out they were adopted 5-year old twins who were born in Ethiopia….[more scrolling]…..discovered that their Caucasian Mom, Katie, was responsible for not only the creation of this blog, but also the maintenance and styling of their beautiful, healthy hair.

I don’t know what impressed me more, the fact that a person of non-African descent was doing such a bang up job of styling African hair or just how darn GOOD Little B and Little R’s hair looked!!  I mean, we’re talking some knots, twists, fro’s, and rows—all looking exceptionally well done!  Either way, it was truly inspirational and beautiful to see!

Despite my lack of children, I think that I felt a connection to the blog in several ways:

1. I was a little girl rocking twists and braids once upon a time

2. My mom spent a lot of time doing my hair in these styles too

3. I am currently going through the same learning process that Katie underwent with her daughters: learning how to make natural hair thrive

Katie was gracious enough to do an e-terview with me about her experiences with her daughters’ hair…I also snuck a styling question in there so that maybe, just maybe, I can become as good as she is  🙂

Read the full interview after the jump!

Little B & Little R ::2010 Happy Girl Hair All rights reserved. Used by permission::

Me: Your girls’ hair looks so healthy and the styles are really cute and creative!  Where did you learn your techniques?

Katie:  Thank you! I learned so much from reading forums and natural hair sites, watching You Tube videos, and experimenting. Little R’s first style was giant sections with little puffs. It took me forty-five minutes to make nine boxes with sloppy, crooked parts. Happily, things improved from there. One thing I’ve come to understand is that I can watch videos or look at photos of styles forever, but without practice, and failure, there is no learning.

Little R in Bantu Knots :: 2010 Happy Girl Hair All rights reserved. Used by permission::

Me:  Do  Little B and Little R have any input on how their hair is styled?  Who gets to pick out all of the accessories?

Katie: A few days before hair day, I often ask if there is a style they would really like. If they don’t have a preference, I suggest something I’ve wanted to try, or choose a style based on how much time we have that day. When I chose the style, I always make sure they are on board with it before I start.

We share accessory choice. I do like accessories to match their clothes, so I often make suggestions or give them the choice between two options. Sometimes, I put something in and we both decide whether it’s working or not. I’ve heard, “That’s not really cute mom.” any number of times. I always make sure they are satisfied before we head out the door.

Loose and Free! ::2010 Happy Girl Hair All rights reserved. Used by permission::

Me: My mom always stressed the relationship between a well-kept head of hair and the self-esteem of young girls of African descent.  Have you seen any correlation between these two factors as a result of the stellar care you’ve given your little ladies’ hair?

Katie: I try hard to instill a sense of beauty, pride, and satisfaction with their hair because I know that as soon as they are exposed to pop culture they will see a beauty standard that does not celebrate their natural hair texture. I want them to have a strong foundation of identity and self-esteem when they encounter those experiences. I think your mom is right; it is critical that girls feel well-cared for, cherished, and worth our best efforts

Me: For many, the online hair community and blogosphere has played a huge role in their natural hair care process.  How has this technology impacted your experience?

Katie:  Technology has had an enormous impact on our hair care routines and styling. I can’t overstate it. It’s huge. Hair forums, hair sites, You Tube videos, and hair blogs are resources I use all the time. They provide instruction, inspiration, and information that would not be available any other way. It’s a lot of fun when hair bloggers do variations of each other’s styles and then share the results; it creates a great sense of community. Forums are also wonderful for the community they create, and as a place to listen to many voices share experience and wisdom.

Me:  What have you learned in the process of learning to care for 2

:2010 Happy Girl Hair All rights reserved. Used by permission::

heads that are very different from one and other, both of which are differently textured  than your own?

Katie: I’ve learned that much of styling very different textures is about managing expectations. For example, my Little B’s coils hold a cornrow much longer than Little R’s. Little R’s hair is going to hang down, while Little B’s is going to coil up and out. I believe that realistic expectations, and understanding the nature of each texture are the keys to success.

I’m fond of telling the girls that our little family has almost every type of curl there is. I’ve learned so much about curls and coils that I’ve finally been able to understand how to properly care for my own hair. I’m thirty-six and just within the last year, I’ve come to understand how curly my hair actually is and how to treat those curls. It’s a joy to experience almost every curl type- all at once.

Me:  I am still personally trying to figure out how to use Darcy’s Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme that you recommend on your site…any suggestions?? 🙂

Katie: Yes! I love this product for twists and braids. After hair has been sectioned for styling, I smooth some between my fingertips and then work it in to each slightly damp section just before twisting or braiding. I find that it helps keep the braid or twist neat and when I take the style out, the hair is deliciously soft.

Me:  Anything else you’d like to add

Katie: Thank you for this opportunity to talk hair!

You can find the superb stylings of  Katie, Little R, and Little B at Happy Hair Girls!

::2010 Happy Girl Hair All rights reserved. Used by permission::

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. TMS permalink
    March 17, 2010 9:26 am

    Wow! Absolutely adorable. Katie can teach some folks how to style their childrens hair. Well done, Katie!

    And, thanks Cassadie for sharing this wonderful story.

  2. March 19, 2010 5:55 am

    Katie, you have been an inspiration to keep my daughters hair right. I have super straight hair and may little one well the complete opposite ( http://mylittlerascals-letty.blogspot.com/ ) I have learned of good products from from your blog. Your girls are adorable.

    Cassadie, Thank you for the story, and trust me this lady KNOWS her Curls! :), she inspired me to start my own blog.

  3. March 19, 2010 11:57 am

    Great interview! Thanks for posting and sharing it! (I’m a BIG fan of HGH!! )

  4. Vera permalink
    March 28, 2010 10:16 am

    Oh but don’t I only wish technology and women like Katie were around 35-40 years ago! I am tri-racial and my mother a non-African American. My younger sister and I were raised in North Dakota and for years the only two of African descent in the entire city and probably the state! There was no such thing as a product for our hair type and my mother had no clue in the world how to care for African hair! I never had a product, braid or cornrow in my hair until much later in life as an adult and it was far away from North Dakota! As a child my hair was always kept short and in an Afro…a dry, never moisturized Afro that is.

    My sister and I had completely different hair types and textures and she was the only one wearing pretty french braids and long lush ponytails. Her hair was a picnic compared to mine; a complete battle when it came time for combing and detangling mine. Her beautiful thick spirals have been waist to below hip length since she was a child and she is now 39 and has relaxed only once. I had curls when wet but when dry all curl definition was no more…just frizz! I had no idea I could actually keep curls defined until I was a young adult….I had discovered S-Curl Activator LOL!

    In 1994 I discovered relaxers and since then I’ve relaxed 2-3 times a year. I really don’t know why I did it though. All they ever really did for me was slightly relax my curls and it did make it easier to deal with, but I barely ever blow-dried or straightened and when I did I used the curling iron, because I had never owned a flat-iron until Oct. 2009. I’ve mostly worn my hair curly, in ponies, buns, wash-n-goes, many French Braids and finally flat-ironed until Nov. 2009. It was then I discovered the hair forums, fotki albums, blogs and above all the natural hair movement! Living in Eastern WA, I had no idea of the products available to me and styling options? WOW! Two months into it, at the age of 40, I made the decision to transition back to natural. I mini-chopped in December and again in January going from just about armpit length to base of neck. I’ve worn 2-strand twists/twist-outs ever since! My last relaxer was in October and I can’t express how grateful I am for blogs like yours and the forums. So far it’s been a wonderful learning experience and I am so loving my hair!

    Didn’t mean to write a story, but this article and interview really brought a lot up for me! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. July 6, 2010 7:30 pm

    One of my favorite blogs! If you are in the mood for some more amazing little brown girl natural hair you should check out http://www.beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com

    • July 8, 2010 9:29 am

      I love BBB too! Got a GREAT product rec from over there…that girl has amaaaazing hair!

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