Actress & Total Fitness Health Junkie Summyr is Naturally Glam!

Summyr Sheppard
By Kanisha Parks

Meet Summyr, a 25-year-old multi-talented beauty who has been natural all her life! She acts, models, trains, and recently became vegan. Find out how she juggles her many interests, all while keeping it naturally glam!

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What do you use on your hair?
To be honest, I use whatever is convenient but my favorite product is the All-in-One Kinky-Coily Leave-in by LUS Brands. I'm absolutely in love with this brand and product because I only have to use this ONE product to style my hair. Oh annnnd I keep Eco-Styler Gel on deck for my edges (that's the most important part).

What do you do and why do you love it?
I am a fitness instructor, actress, and a part-time food therapist. (I just made that up—is this a real job?) I'm a total fitness/health junkie. I love training people because I get to be a part of a positive change and impact in people's lives.  I find myself constantly counseling my peers on their food choices and soliciting free health advice based upon my own experience and extensive research throughout the years. I should probably write a book. As an actress I get to express myself creatively through the choices I make to portray a character, which makes me feel free and fulfilled.

How do you balance being multi-talented: acting, modeling, and being a fitness instructor?
I don't really have a formula to it. All three of those are true passions and when you are doing something you love it never feels like work just tons of fun! When I'm actually getting paid to do any of those things sometimes you work way longer hours than a normal 9-5 and I love every bit of it.

Summyr and her mom
How did your fitness journey begin and progress to where you are now?
It began in middle school when my Grandmother introduced me to Billy Blanks' Tae-bo. Then at 14, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and became a pescatarian for 7 years. Shout-out to my mom because she always supported my healthy eating habits and introduced me to alternate meat choices growing up. She also made me eat my veggies and raised me to love water too! She's the absolute best. I love that woman! I am now Vegan and also love doing and teaching many different forms of physical fitness.

What do you do for fun?
I enjoy partaking in soul cycle classes with instructors who play bomb music, teaching and taking boot camp classes that are extra challenging, experiencing new things that challenge my fitness levels, eating vegan food at eclectic spots, attending acting class, actually being on set for film, television, or theater, being photographed in cool places, taking spontaneous trips, and spending quality time and having meaningful conversations with those closest to me.

How do you stay healthy?
To stay healthy mentally I pray A LOT, spend alone time with God, and listen to sermons often. To stay healthy physically I seek new challenging ways to train and switch up my workouts often so I don't get bored and fall off.

Has having natural hair contributed to your self-esteem in any way?
Yes—it makes me feel confident in who I am. It's what I was born with and will never change or be like anyone else's. My natural hair is my crown and I wear it proudly! Don't get it twisted though I will indeed rock a wig, some braids, faux locs, and add some clip-ins. I'm all for switching it up and I still feel just as confident, but there's something extra freeing about rocking my natural hair (it's my fave).

Did you have any positive hair models growing up?
Alicia Keys inspired all my braid choices growing up. My Godsister Essence inspires my confidence in wearing my natural hair because she always rocks her gorgeous mane so fiercely honeyyyy. My Godmother taught me how to care for my hair in the most gentle way. She would always get on me about deep conditioning, taking care of my edges, and using quality products that were created for our hair textures (she's a hair stylist/owner of Dyevercity Salon). Lastly, Tracee Ellis Ross has been a positive hair influence for gracefully rocking her natural hair on television.


Do you let people touch your hair?
Ummm... most of the time people don't ask they just go in for the kill as if I have pre-approved them. It doesn't bother me much.

Have you had any negative natural hair experiences?
Yessss. I wore clip-ins for 1.5 to 2 weeks straight when I had my hair straightened in high school. I wrapped my hair every night with the clips ins. When I finally washed my hair, I realized the clip-ins had been ripping out the back of my hair. When my Godmother began styling my hair she was like, "What did you do? I'm going to have to cut it." I cried so hard (like the choked up I can't breathe cry) in front of my little godsisters. They tried to console me. Looking back, it is so hilarious and sad that I was that devastated over hair that grows back. Wow. That day taught me so much about self-confidence. I ended up rocking a cute bob with cool purple highlights. I felt like a little rebel.

What natural hair advice do you give to others?
Drink lots of water and eat as clean as possible to promote growth. Sleep with a silk bonnet, scarf, or silk pillowcase to prevent breakage at night. Try to deep condition at least every other week. I try to keep my haircare super simple, yet effective.

How do you celebrate your heritage?
Definitely by supporting black-owned businesses, events, and creatives. By being a mentor to young black girls around me. Reminding them of their beauty and teaching them to celebrate and be proud of their hair at school and wherever they go.

How can we keep up with you?
I'm on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. I mainly used my Instagram account @summyrtyme.

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