Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hair Stories - Paula Walcott

Hair Story - Paula Walcott  

This series of features focuses on people whose hair I found inspirational - locked, natural or relaxed! With their expressed permission, I've used a couple of their own images (at least 2 but no more than 5) to showcase their hair - showing how healthy it looks, their favourite style and/or length.  

I’ve known Paula since we met at Secondary School (around age 11). Funnily enough, this is the same secondary Ruby went to!  Like Ruby, Paula was one of those young ladies who always carried herself ‘well’ i.e. with style and dignity. 

One of five children, Paula was the first daughter (and second child) to go to University. After completing her first degree in Barbados, she pursued her Masters in HR Management by distance learning. 

I like Paula because she comes across as level headed, focused and I have never heard her raise her voice – in a nutshell – this is one cool cat.

Paula is of special significance to my daughter. As an ‘ethnic minority’ in England, I am always on the look out for positive Black female role models. When we used to live in Cambridge, and my child was one of just two Black children in a class of 30, she came home one evening and covered herself in my acne cream and toothpaste telling me she wanted to be White. She was only 3 years old. From then til now (or there to hair) I have been extra vigilant about reinforcing positive images of Black men and women, particularly those with darker skins like my daughter’s. I want her to understand that ‘Black like Me’ doesn't (only) mean incarcerated, drunk, deadbeat, got-no-father or father-gone-away, can’t read-can’t write and don’t care, poor, starving and begging as the media would have you believe. For my daughter, ‘Black like Me’ is Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tuto, Kofi Anan, Ussain Bolt, Michelle Obama, Diane Abbot, Akima Paul and Paula Walcott*. 
Thank you Paula for carrying the light.

* This is not an exhaustive list, and you will note that most of the names I have included are people of African descent who have darker complexions. My daughter is aware of  others like Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Barak Obama and Malcolm X – the people listed above are ‘Black like ME’ in terms of reference SHE can relate to.

Paula’s Hair Story

I’ve had relaxed hair from primary school, I guess my mother got tired of pressing it, lol, plus my sister used to work at a salon so getting my hair done was easy and hassle free for my mum. I haven't had any real trouble with relaxed hair, so I’ve never given much thought to changing it. On the odd occasion I have considered ‘going natural’ but I think the maintenance is more than relaxed hair so I usually come back to "relaxed reality".

Hair CareTips?

  • Hmm, don't go with the myths about the touch up period being too soon at 4 week or 5 weeks, there are relaxer brands that are safe to use in that period. The thing is - you must know your "hair behaviour". At 5 weeks, my hair will start to break if I don't get a touch up, so I get my touch ups at that interval. Also, at some times of the year my hair grows faster- I touch up at 4 week intervals then. Kudos to those who can go for 6-8 weeks or more, my hair texture doesn't allow for that.
  • I also use deep conditioning treatments and get it trimmed often. I pay attention to how it behaves and respond accordingly.
  • I have found that Soft n beautiful and Profectiv relaxers are the best for my hair, it behaves well with them so I pretty much stick with them. People should find a brand that their hair responds well to, and stick with it or alternate between 2 brands if they are lucky.

Paula's images have been used with her kind permission.



E. RaMona (Alaiyo) said...

I've had similar experience with my 5 year old daughter, and like you, I made it my duty to point out to her beautiful men and women of color who shared her skin tone. (She loves Michelle Obama!) I think what you've done is a great benefit to your daughter. BTW, Paula emanates beauty, thanks for posting!

Bajan Lily said...

Thanks Alaiyo!
I think it's so important for young girls to have role models they can relate to and identify with :)


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