Meet Ashlei. Originally from Charleston, SC, she currently lives in Chicago, IL. She's working toward a master's degree in Fashion Merchandising and has a fashion + natural hair blog - Kinks Are The New Pink, that y'all should totally check out!
How long have you been #TeamNatural and why did you do it?
I've been natural for a year and a half - it seems much longer than that though, haha! I remember the day I decided to go natural as if it were yesterday. I was having a really bad hair day, I was due for a relaxer and I was just frustrated with my look that day. While I was on the bus on my way to work, a girl got on and she had the cutest fro and I could not stop staring at her, she probably thought I was a real big creeper! And I thought to myself, my hair can do that too, right? So I spent all day at work researching about going natural and by the end of the day, I was convinced I wanted to do it.
What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural?
I remember my roommate at the time was one of the first people I told I was going to go natural and he gave me this confused look and asked 'What does that mean? Ew, are you going to stop shaving? Is Derrick (my boyfriend) going to be okay with that?' Haha! But after I explained to him what it actually meant, he was all for the new look, and overall I got really positive responses from everyone - boyfriend, family, and friends.
How did you do it? BC or transition?
I attempted to do the whole transitioning thing, but that only lasted for a few weeks as my hair was really damaged and it was just frustrating trying to put it into protective styles, so I just went and got it all chopped off on February 24th, 2011!
What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
When I first saw myself in the mirror my initial reaction was 'holy crap, I look like my brother, this is not good!' Haha! It was a bit of a shock and definitely took some getting used to, but of course I ended up loving it and now that my hair has grown, I actually kind of miss my super short twa.
What do you love most about your natural hair?
I love that it makes me feel like myself. When I would get relaxers, I felt I was always trying to imitate someone else, but my kinks are unique to me :) I also love that my hair isn't holding me back anymore, I used to be very self-conscious when it came to my hair, I didn't want to talk about it, didn't want people to touch it, I would get very defensive. Now, I'm much more carefree and have a je ne sais quoi kind of attitude, my hair is what it is and it pretty much does what it wants, and I'm okay with that.
How can the CN community
You can find me all over! But here are the specific-