What is your name?
Where do you live?
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What is your occupation?
Manager, Community Development & Engagement; Project Manager, Access Programs, in the Post-Secondary Education Sector
What is your educational background?
BA (Hons.), Specialist Political Science, Minor Economics, University of Toronto Scarborough; Post-Graduate Diploma, Arts Administration & Cultural Management, Humber College; Event Management Certification, George Brown College; and Master of Education, Adult Education & Community Development, University of Toronto
How long have you been natural?
23 years (give or take a two or three years in there when I decided to switch it up, so probably 20 years in total).
Why did you decide to “go” natural?
Well, I didn’t “go” natural, I went back to being natural. I was a student-athlete, who was trying to rock a relaxed short cut, but with all of the sweating, the back and sides of my hair would revert to natural. I was rocking a half-fro and that was not cute! I was also putting super, extra-strength relaxer on my hair every couple of weeks. One day, I said, “This is enough”… So, I cut it all off, and rocked a TWA; and that’s when I felt like me. I fell in love.
What is your go-to natural hairstyle?
Two-strand twist/twist-out, usually in a pin-up, updo (warmer weather); here, in Toronto, my hair is against the cold temperatures, so it hibernates in the winter under crochet braids, twists or faux locs.
Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?
What do you love most about your natural hair?
I get to do whatever I want with it; it’s flexible, and my kinks and curls have their own personality. It’s freeing and it’s unapologetically me!
What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?
Finding ways to keep it moisturized during the different Canadian seasons. My hair responds differently to the different seasons; as a result, I have to change up my products to suit, from shampoos to moisturizers. And, of course, wash day, potentially a full day off the grid (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)
How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?
My hair forces me to take time out of the day just for me, so whether I’m twisting it up for the night, detangling, two-strand twisting, crochet braiding it, I’m forced to sit and be (somewhat) still. I look at that as a bonus, it’s me time and I get to reflect or binge watch a show.
What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?
1. The natural hair journey can be a long and daunting one – manage your expectations – it will take some time to figure this thing out
2. Let go of the control and follow your curls, they’ll let you know what they feel like doing
3. Accept your curl pattern. We tend to longingly look at other people’s hair wishing and wanting their curl pattern, their thickness, their length but that’s their hair, not yours. You’ll never be truly content with your hair unless you own and accept your hair.
4. Let other people own their issues with natural hair, that shouldn’t be your concern or business. Oh, you have an issue with natural hair… oh, well that’s your issue, you can keep it.
5. Don’t suffer in silence. Find your circle of care and ask for support, opinions, recommendations.
6. Have fun! Play with it, braid it, twist it, wash ‘n’ go it, colour it, cut it, grow it … but most importantly, love it!
Follow Kimberley on Instagram: @kaeniktee
or Twitter: @kimzies
or visit torontoaka.ca or misseducation.ca