Interview with Nekiwa Smith

Q: What is your hair story?  What kind of hair styles have you rocked, before embracing your natural hair?
A: I started getting relaxers at age 5, so all I knew of my hair was the thin, straightened relaxed hair version. I wore every popular and trendy style in the book, from wraps, roller sets, extensions, braids, cornrows, buns, ponytails, you name it!

Q: When and why did you decide to start wearing your hair naturally?
A: I originally tried to go natural in 2003 but with a lack of knowledge on how to properly take of my hair, I went back to relaxing. In May 2009, I decided to transition again, remembering how healthy my hair was in its natural state. I knew and wanted my hair to regain its strength and health and knew I had to go natural again to get it.

Q: Did you have any big fears about going back to your natural texture?
A:Oh yes! There is a lack of support in our community regarding natural hair, especially during earlier years. Now, more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits and are starting to support and embrace natural hair and its culture. I have family members and associates that did not fully agree with my hair decision initially and aggressively tried to pressure me into relaxing. Some even stated that natural hair isn't "professional". My having my own business, I was definitely afraid of how potential clients might perceive.

Q: What are three products you can't live without for nurturing/styling your hair?
A: Most of the products I use, I make with ingredients in my pantry. I have to have Shea Butter, Aloe Vera Gel and EVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil). I use all of these in many of my recipes. I can't live without them.

Q: What would you say to someone who's thinking about embracing their natural hair, but scared about being rejected in various parts of their lives?
A: It took my husband a while to accept and view my natural hair as beautiful. Speaking from experience, making the decision to go natural is revolutionary. I consider this to be a revolutionary move being that the majority of society accepts other styles more so than natural hair. If you are considering going natural, know that you can do it, regardless of the rejections you might receive. Know that the health of your hair is more important that what any one could ever say, think or perceive of you. With natural hair, you will see your hair healthier than it has ever been, grow to long lengths and you will feel confident and empowered. Once your loved ones see your new-found confidence in what you're doing, it will be contagious and they will began to see your hair as beautiful as well.

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey i.e. blog, twitter, facebook, fotki, tumblr, personal or professional website? (Optional)
A:  Find me at: Beauty As Designed, Twitter & Fotki