22 November 2012

Hair Talk With Paola

Firstly introduce yourself? Where are you from? What do you do?

My name is Paola. I'm originally from Haiti, but I reside in New York City. I work in the hospitality field, and my current position is Accounting Manager. I'm also a blogger at findingpaola.com.

How long have you been natural?

I've been natural off and on for many years. However, I've maintained my natural hair since my senior year in college. I've kept it in a short boy’s cut for a large portion of the time.

If you have transitioned to natural what prompted you more from processed to natural hair?

I was at the beach in Puerto Rico, and I realized I just didn't want to keep relaxing my hair any more. As soon as I got back on campus, I just shaved it as low as my hair had already grown naturally (which Washburn much). It was a spontaneous act, but I wasn't  nervous about the change. I already did that once in high school, and when I was younger my mom gave me the same hair cut. I knew how I’d look already, and I've always loved the look.

How did you transition, did you big chop?

I guess the big chop is what I did.

What were the main reasons for your choice to wear your natural hair?

Style was most of it. I've always loved women who carried their hair in the short afro style. Something about that style is so graceful yet bold. Most women I've seen with that look always carry themselves with poise and confidence. I figured it was something I wanted to try. It’s definitely a head-turner.

What are your earliest hair memories? How did these memories influence your hair journey today?

I remember my mom relaxing my hair at the tender age of four because she didn’t know what to do with my [nappy] hair. I just remember years of tears from the very beginning because my hair was what they called “unmanageable”. It wasn't just my hair that was too harsh to some people I knew, but also my features.

What does having natural hair mean to you? 

Natural hair is not really a status to me. I carry my hair that way because that’s how I feel most beautiful and confident. I know it’s mine. The hair I was born with, and grew to love.

How do you keep your hair looking so good?

I try to have a regimen. I do my best to keep my hair moisturised, but I don’t spend hours on it. I keep it moisturised with natural oils (coconut, olive). I made my own shea butter mix. I spritz my hair with water daily. And, I try to deep-condition as often as I could.

What products do you use in your hair?

I love the Trader Joe’s conditioner. My shea butter mix that I made with all the oils in my pantry. I'm also love the Donna Marie daily cream.

What are your go to hair style?

Since I'm very lazy when it comes to styling my hair, I just tie my hair in a puff. I also like to double-strand flat twist my hair when I have more time. When I need a change, I get some 80’s box braids. I also love bantu-knots, but it’s a summer hairstyle. 

How do you protect your hair in the winter months?

I do two-strand flat twists and double-strand flat twists. I'm really the worst at protective styles.

Do you have any advice for women starting out on their natural journey?

Go natural because you want to. Don’t ever feel pressured to do something, and don’t judge others who aren't doing the same as you. Everyone’s natural hair is different. Don’t feel competitive, and don’t ever stress over having your hair looking at another because everyone’s curl pattern is different. Also, you are not your hair. Live your life. Take care of yourself, and love yourself.

Tell us about your style?

My style is laid-back and fun. I love statement pieces, but I don’t overdo it. I have an obsession vintage pieces and hats. I'm also a big lover of African patterns and head-wraps.

What are your favourite places to shop?

Various thrift stores, ideeli.com for office wear, bargain department stores like: TJMaxx and  Loehmann’s, Joe Fresh, H&M, and Zara.

Any tips for young ladies trying to start their own business/blog ect:

Do it because you love it. Get inspirations. Do some research. Hard work always pays off.

How is you natural hair perceived d in your job role?

It’s not really mentioned because I started the job with my natural hair. When I try something different from my usual puff someone mentions and gives me a compliment. I'm the only black person on the executive staff. To them, I’m just Paola. There’s one co-worker who’s obsessed with my hair. She’s always touching it. I love her, so I allow her to.

As a closing statement, I’d like to thank you for featuring me on your blog. I appreciate the support from the natural hair community. It has grown so much, and there’s a lot to learn from so many different sources. Beauty is truly diverse, and I'm always in awe when I come across a natural hair beauty. Let’s keep the love and support rolling, and I wish everyone the best in all their endeavours.

Paola Mathé
NYC Lifestyle Blogger


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