For those of you who caught Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” in theaters, I’m sure you couldn’t help but notice the beautiful (and CURLY!) vocalist, Judith Hill.
She rocked the stage in her duet with Michael Jackson, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” and I must admit that my eyes were pretty much glued to her throughout the movie. She constantly changed her hair — from huge fluffy fro to defined and curly, to curly extensions with popping highlights.
I finally caught up with her in Japan, and was able to ask her the questions CurlyNikki.com readers want to know the answers to most.
Curly Nikki: Have you always liked your curls? If not, how did you come to embrace your natural hair?
I’ve worn my hair naturally since day one. My mother didn’t know what to do with the chaos, so I really had no choice but to wear it naturally with afro pigtails, barrettes and all of the other unfortunate hair doodads of a mixed kid’s childhood. When I was young, I hated it and begged my mom for a perm to loosen the curl. I did this a few times in junior high and high school. However, this process was very damaging to my hair. It wasn’t until college when I finally embraced the natural look and decided to rock it. I realized that it suits me best anyway.
CN: What are your must-have products? Staple styles?
All Kimble products are amazing. Also, I use Nexus “Humectress” and “Headdress” for conditioners. I usually wear it as a Mohawk — corn rows on the sides or a full-head natural look. I use a lot of bobby pins, clips, etc., to shape it differently every day.
CN: How do you salvage styles overnight?
At night I wear a satin/silk sleeping cap to protect my hair.
CN: How do you protect your hair when wearing straightened styles?
I usually go to a salon to get my hair pressed. I don’t trust myself with the hot comb. He/she will do a deep conditioner before pressing my hair. I usually keep jojoba oil, Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade, and olive oil around for replenishment.
CN: What’s the best thing about being curly?
The best thing about being curly is that everyone has a different curl, so it’s always a unique look. And it’s very edgy.
CN: What would you tell a woman who has yet to embrace her natural curls?
My problem in the beginning was that my curl never held any longer than a couple days. So I have to diffuse the curl with a blow dryer and diffuser, straw set, or add a few tracks to help with the definition. So, it’s a bit of work, but it lasts longer when I do these things. Curls are worth it because it brings out “me” the best. They make a statement. I encourage any woman who has yet to embrace her curls to do it! It’s a very creative lifestyle — you can always come up with new ways to rock it.
CN: What do we have to look forward to? Any upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on my solo project; it should be out very soon this year.
CN Reader: What types of experiences have you had as a natural in the entertainment industry with all that big, thick curly hair? Have you gotten any positive or negative feedback from others? Do you ever feel pressure to straighten it?
In the industry, the natural look has worked to my advantage. I usually get very positive feedback. It’s my look, so people embrace it, unless I’m on a call to play a role that requires another hairstyle. For these types of situations, I usually have to wear a straighter/sleeker style — a much tamer approach because I tend to be on the wild side.
CN Reader: What did Michael Jackson think of your natural hair?
For Michael’s show, we struggled a little bit because my hair volumizes on the top; and it was adding inches to my height. This made me look taller than Michael so we had to find a way to make the hair come down instead of go out. A bit of a challenge because my hair can be very rebellious at times.
CN Reader: What are the reactions of your Asian family members with regard to your hair and hair care? Do you use any region-specific herbs, remedies or regimen to care for your hair?
My Asian family finds my hair very fascinating. I don’t use Asian products for the curls, although they are very good for hair.
CN Reader: Did working with Michael give you the inspiration needed to work on your own career?
Michael inspired me to be a much harder worker. Seeing his dedication, determination and passion has driven me to a higher level of excellence. I want to be better and work much harder than I’ve ever worked. He also inspired me to help as many people as I possibly can. He was such a humanitarian and a kind person. I feel that I have a responsibility to carry on his legacy as best as I can by working with the less fortunate and raising money to bring relief to those who are suffering.
CN Reader: How do you achieve your more vibrant look, with the Manic Panic-type colors?
I like to add colors — usually they are tracks. Sometimes I’ll use clips, but I prefer the tracks because they last longer and aren’t as annoying.
CN Reader: How would you define “natural beauty” and how have your cultural and entertainment experiences shaped your views?
I believe natural beauty can be achieved by bringing out the positive qualities of a person’s outward appearance. Everyone has something unique about him or her. It’s just a matter of recognizing what it is and featuring it.
For more on Judith Hill, check out judithhillmusic.com.
Happy hair growing!