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July 13, 2010

Celebrity Natural Hair- Gio Samuels

Actress Giovonnie Samuels, best known for her role in Bring It On: All or Nothing, is natural and rocking it beautifully! For those of you from my generation, you may also recognize her from Nickelodeon's All That (I used to love that show!). She also had reoccurring roles in Disney Channel's That's So Raven, and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Recently I was able to sit down with her On the Couch to discuss her lock journey, fav products, and thoughts on natural hair in the entertainment industry.

CN: Tell us your Hair Story!
Gio: I first got my locks when I was around 8 years old! I had really long hair as a child, and my mother and I would fight when she would try to do it, you know what I mean- - press, braids, whatever. I can't remember who applied my first perm, but that petty much killed my hair! Almost a year later, I saw this lady with the most beautiful locks I'd ever seen- - Dr. Joanna Cornwell, she was wearing Sister Locks. I went home right away and begged my mother to do my hair like that-- haven't looked back since!


CN: Have you always liked your natural hair? If not, how did you come to embrace it?
Gio: ALWAYS!! I grew up around women that had natural hair- - my grandma, aunties, and my mom. My mother was always trying new things with her hair, from long and red to short and honey blond. In fact, my mother was doing the short bold cut way before any of the stars today! She has always been ahead of her time. I saw how happy and beautiful they felt, like nothing was wrong with having YOUR hair. It wasn't until I got into the entertainment industry that people had problems with my natural hair. That's why I cut my locks this past January- - they were down to my butt and now they're in a short bob.


CN: What is your current routine?
Gio: I wash my hair like most people- - once a week in the winter, and twice a week in the summer time. I condition mostly in the summer because I like to sit in the sun so my hair dries faster. I curl my locks when I feel like doing something sassy or if i want to change my look.

CN: How does your routine change when you're on set?
Gio: When I arrive on set, most of the hair people have no idea what to do with me. They just look at me with that... 'uhmm I don't know what to do with that?!' face. I shake my head, laugh and style my own hair most of the time.

CN: What are your must have products?!
Gio: OOOHH! Pantene Pro-v Relaxed & Natural (the one in the brown bottle for black people, lol). I just love the way it smells! For a deep condition, I use the Sister Locks Moisture Treatment and Silk Elements Glossing Polish- - it adds a nice shine to my hair and again, I like the way it smells!


CN: How do you protect your hair at night?
Gio: Not a thing, LOL! Unless I have it curled, then I may put a wrap on it, but most of the time nothing.

CN: What's the best thing about being natural?
Gio: Getting up in the morning and not having to do anything to my hair if I want to! I LOVE THAT! I love the fact that I have a choice to do my hair unlike most of my girl friends. Sometimes I feel bad for them when we go out- - it takes them forever to get ready, and they still worry about their hair when we get to where we're going! I just laugh!



CN: What would you tell a woman who has yet to embrace her natural hair?

Gio: You know, it's hard for me to sell someone else on natural hair for so many reasons. For one, until that woman feels like she is more than just her hair, then I can't talk to her. Until women stop feeling like the only way to achieve beauty is to install a weave... I can't do anything. I blame society! Everyone is stuck on only one view of beauty. I gets NO love from the brothas on the West Coast. If I want to get a date, I have to go to the East Coast (guys on the west coast won't say two words, let alone look my way because of my locks). Now if I was in New York or down in ATL, I couldn't get down the block good before someone is asking for my number (I'm not saying this because I'm on TV, I'm saying this from my personal experiences, and my other girlfriend with natural hair experiences this as well). It's just sad that most people only have one way of seeing someone as beautiful. Think about it, when was the last time you saw anyone on any magazine with natural hair other then for natural hair? I hope that one day I can change that.

CN: What would you tell a woman considering locking?

Gio: GO FOR IT!! You can do so much more with your life- - swim, run, jump, play, LOL! Also, getting up in the morning and hair being the LAST thing on you mind...priceless! Your hair grows better, you're not frying your brain with perms, and you can do just as much if not more with your hair in its natural state!

CN: Who is your natural hair inspiration?
Gio
: It used to be Lauryn Hill before she cut off all of her hair. Now its just me... I'm my own hair inspiration! I know that I'm a role model for little girls. Sometimes I feel like the only actress with natural hair... sad. I hope that the little girls that see me on TV will see natural hair as beautiful.

CN: Tell us about your upcoming projects and ventures!

Gio: Hopefully I'll be on a new show soon! But for now, I'm just teaching, acting and writing blogs, LOL!

CN: Anything else you'd like to add:

Gio: I love my hair!!! ;-)

20 Chime in!:

J said...

I've always admired her hair and they way she carries herself as an actress on TV. She's such a positive role model for young black girls.

Gold Label said...

This is easily the most inspiring celebrity interview I've read on the Curly Nikki site. This young woman exudes a level of confidence and intelligence that many folks twice her age have not yet achieved. My 8 year old goddaughter got sisterlocks about a year ago and I can't wait for her and her mom to see this profile. Nik, keep bringing these positive images of women accepting of themselves and their own beauty. You are doing an invaluable service to the community.

Catherine said...

I agree with the 2 ladies above! Great interview!

Sabrina said...

Wow your hair looks so good, both long and short with the locs. I used to have long locs(MBL) for about 5yrs util i cut them off last year in March. Trying to comb out my locs was a pain in my arse lol.. so I cut it down to 2 inches, and now it's grown back and when stretched it's shoulder length. Yeah I like the Pantene Products, will use those again.

Anonymous said...

u know the west coast must be a really superficial place to live. Thats not the first time i've heard naturals say that they get more play on the east coast than when their back in cali or something. why is that?

KB said...

Wow! I never thought I'd see one of my childhood idols being interviewed here!

Gio Samuels is amazing. This interview just makes my day!

Angie said...

She makes me want locs... hmmmm... Anyway great inspirational interview and interesting comment on the east coast play versus west coast...

modest-goddess said...

She is so pretty and I love her locs. Those west coast guys are fools for not approaching her.

Anonymous said...

On the West Coast (I am from California) often times people of African Descent who grew up in America all of their lives receive the pejorative connotations about their blackness (i.e. hair, body type ect.) and don't realize until it is too late that they are beautiful. I am natural and I have no problem getting play on the west coast. I think it has to do with who you know and what spots to socialize at that are not so much focused on the cosmetic beauty.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I've known her since all that and I thought that she just always had weave braids!!!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Lovely hair. I don't know the difference btwn sister locs and the other locs but her hair makes you want to get them :) Love the new haircut!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Her locs are lovely! ~KF519

Lena Jolie said...

I LOVE her hair!! This interview is awesome; my hubby just reminded me of my designated locing year....2 years from now lol Idk if I'll still do it then but whenever I do it I'm gonna love it :)

Anonymous said...

Salutations,
Thank you Gio for sharing your story and I agree with Gold Label's comments. I truly love your hair and thank you for being a positive role model for many young women of color. In regards to the east coast vs. west coast men comment, I think it depends on the gentlemen you are coming into contact with and the female's confidence level. Personally, as a woman that lives in California I feel that men have always been more attracted to me when I was in a relationship, but being in the relationship provided me the security and confidence to be myself.
On the other hand, I have been in the store with my mother and had black men get negative attention from their ladies for looking to hard or long at my hair. Some black or African - American people in California that are not natural look at me funny all the time, like their hair grows out of their head permed and my hair is not the norm. But I have also been very fortunate to meet some beautiful Naturalistas that have showed me the ropes and made me feel like I need to live in the city (SF, Oakland, Berkeley, and / or Bay Area).
I would also like to add in regards to the east coast, I have noticed a larger black population of African-Americans, Africans, and West-Indians (Caribbean) or West-Indian Americans while visiting family from NY to Florida. Please note that it is going to be easier to find a hot black gentlemen as a black naturalista diva if there is an abundance in your area.
Comparison
Grade School
East Coast - 50% or more people of color at my school
West Coast - 2 students of color, including myself at Catholic School and 4 students of color when I asked to be transfered to Public School
Middle School and High School
East Coast (my cousin's school in NY) - 65% or more people of color
West Coast (my school in CA) - 30 students of color, including myself (please note 19 of the students were bused in from other districts / counties)
College - CA
West Coast - For every 1 guy there were 11 girls and 98 black students total attending the university
I think we all understand there was a limited supply of gentlemen and a high demand. It makes me happy when I go home to the Caribbean and my favorite Aunt always reminds the family that I was not going to find a nice little West-Indian gentleman to marry living in a small suburb in CA. I would also like to say that my negative experiences with my peers from youth throughout adulthood, because of their perception of my blackness level (I didn't speak slang, spoke properly or the Queen's English, and dressed the way my parents expected) has taken a toll on my perception of people of color and myself. When I hear my cousins or women communicate that they feel like men on the east coast like them more, I wonder if the gentlemen on the west coast had negative experiences in their past and don't want face the emotions that surface. I am not trying to make excuses for anyone, but I know how that feels. My main point is you can find people who love you or dislike you all over this world, and I don't believe it is an east coast or west coast thing. Live, Love, Peace.
~ Sweetsop

Reinna said...

I was just looking at her on an episode of the suite life of zach and cody tonight, and was thinking how much I loved her hair, and she styled it so many ways in that one episode. LOVED IT!!! Thanks Nikki for this interview it was awesome just like ALL the others.

JazBNatural said...

OMG. . . I LOVE her! I loved All That too. And That's So Raven. I hope she is in a new show soon too. Her curly locks are gorgeous!

I live in California too and I have actually noticed A LOT of women with natural hair, I was just thinking about it yesterday. I also notice a lot of women with weaves too, esp. where I go to school. I think you can change the way people, not just men, think about natural hair by wearing it and showing how glamorous & beautiful it can be, by leading by example. And hopefully the positivity will follow. Thats what I try to do! =]
Great interview!

Charlotte said...

CN:
Thanks for a great interview. The East Coast vs. West Coast comment piqued my interest because even tho I'm a white chick with curls (well, evenly split btw Irish & Spanish), guys are generally not into curls (yes, I live in Nor California). It's very frustrating, and to read Gio's experience reminds me that I'm not alone. On the other hand, non-white and non-Asian men typically don't mind or even love my curls (I've dated lots of diff races). Fascinating. Here's to embracing our natural hair, no matter what the boys think! ;)

Lonnie said...

My sister is a big fan of Giovonnie and if it wasn't for my sister I wouldn't know as much as I know now. I've recently did the big chop and I'm loving it, granted it took some time getting used to but I can't imagine my self any other way. After I let my hair grow out some more I plan to get sister-locks. Reading this interview has helped to further push my in that direction. I love Giovonnies' locks and I loved the interview.

Anonymous said...

I love Giovanni's locs, beautiful! She is so blessed to have been surrounded by positive natural haired women & role models all of her life, a lot of us aren't so fortunate. As far as the east coast vs. the west coast's view on natural haired women. I agree with Giovanni, in California, no matter if you're surrounded by African American men or not, the norm for the west coast African American men seem to be that they prefer the weaves or relaxed look on females. And if you are natural & you have the hair texture of let's say, Hallie Berry or Claire Kyle (she played Damon Wayans' daughter on tv's My Wife & Kids), then you get noticed by African American men. Also Charlotte's comment above is true, she is not African American but white WITH curly hair & African American guy's on the west coast definitely have no problem with her wearing her natural hair. They accept her & her curly hair texture with no problem but if you have say a kinky (er), courser texture or hardly any curl pattern, then yeah, in my experience, you will have a hard time getting noticed by African American guys. By the way, I have 4 brothers & lived in various areas of the west coast all my life & I'm completely African American, lol. So I this to be true from my experiences & from what I have witnessed, being around male friends, my own brothers, their friends, classmates, coworkers, etc.!!!

luvmylocs said...

i found this article doing my research beause i'm about to have sisterlocks installed. her interview and pics have me all the more excited about starting the sisterlock journey!

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