My family moved to Barbados in the mid-80’s and lived for a while in a rapidly expanding housing development in the Parish of St. Philip. Ruby was one of my neighbours. The other girls in the cul-de-sac always spoke of her with such reverence: her and Gail. These girls had ‘passed for Queen’s College’, one of the top secondary schools on the island. I was only 9 or 10, yet Ruby became my yard stick. Not only was she academically outstanding, she carried herself with a grace and poise I had rarely seen on someone so young – she was only a few years older than myself.
The thing is – Ruby never knew how much I looked up to her. When people would ask me what secondary I hoped to get into, I would say “Queen’s College… like Ruby” (lol). Looking back it sounds pretty ‘sad’ but back then I thought nothing could be better than ‘turning out’ like Ruby.
Turns out I was right :P Ruby went on to launch her own business after graduating from University in 1999. Not only is she STILL one of my role models, she is STILL a picture of poise and grace and I STILL think she’s the greatest!
Ruby is one of five girls from that cul-de-sac in our old neighbourhood who are not only currently successful professional women but also rocking their natural hair. (I think there were 8 of us altogether).
Here is Ruby’s Hair Story.
The last time I relaxed my hair was for my wedding in 2001. I wore braids for a while after that then I discovered kinky twists.
I think the kinky hair extensions were just beginning to get popular at that time because black women would stop me all the time to ask about my hair and they were so surprised to hear that there was such a thing as KINKY extensions.
I wore that look for about a year, maybe a year and a half, with the twists styled just above my shoulders.
I actually started my locks from the kinky twists - by leaving the twists in and locking the new growth. As my hair grew, I would cut the ends of the kinky twists until they were eventually all gone.
This picture shows me when my locks were still quite young, I don't think they're as fat now - probably because they're less fluffy and more densely compacted.
I don't remember exactly what triggered my desire to go natural. I think I just got sick and tired of dealing with hair drama. Plus, I really felt like I needed a break from the chemicals because I didn't think my hair was as healthy as it could have been.
I bought a few books on natural hair and tried to do as much research as possible on how to care for it, what products to use, etc (it's a shame I had to learn about my own hair from a book!) When I started going to the natural salon to get my hair braided, I was really inspired by all the girls (and guys) who had thick, beautiful, healthy locs.
I haven't looked back since :)
Ruby's images have been used with her permission. PLEASE DO NOT COPY.